Channing Frye on the Suns after winning opener: ‘That’s a ticket I’d buy’
The Phoenix Suns won their season-opening game, and fans are excited about it. Sound familiar?
Yes, the Suns won last year, too. By a lot. Just like they did against the Sacramento Kings in the home opener on Thursday night with a 124-95 victory. But this year, perhaps there’s more reason for optimism that the Suns won’t have the same type of season that got them only 19 wins a year ago.
Former Suns player Channing Frye seemed to think so when he joined Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
“I think first of all, you have to just give credit where credit is due,” Frye said Thursday. “They looked really good last night. I watched more than I thought I would. It was pretty amazing to see how disciplined they were on defense, their energy, their passion like to play with each other.
“And it’s good basketball, man. Obviously I’m a Suns fans deep down inside, and that’s a ticket I’d buy. If they can continue to play like that, it may not always equal wins just based on them getting used to each other, but definitely it is a good product to watch and they’re building culture over there.”
The Suns beat the Kings and got a combined 21 assists from Devin Booker and new point guard Ricky Rubio, the latter of whom was making his Phoenix debut.
“And I think the addition of Ricky Rubio was a little underrated,” Frye said. “I think what he does is he allows Deandre Ayton to get easy buckets. He allows Devin Booker to be who he needs to be. And there’s not a lot of pressure on Devin to have to be a point guard, to have to be a scorer. He can just go out there and play. Monty does a great job of having them prepared and playing the game with passion and togetherness.”
Booker had 22 points while Kelly Oubre Jr. had 21 and Ayton had 18.
The big win is step one in vindicating the offseason moves of general manager James Jones, who was criticized by some for what was perceived to be a failure to maximize assets. Even the hire of Jones in and of itself drew skepticism, understandably, from Suns fans who have seen the organization cut corners on hires in the past.
“Listen. Everybody’s who’s ever played with James Jones will tell you how smart this guy is, his passion for basketball,” Frye said. “I actually played with James in Portland, my third year in the league. And that’s when I knew he was different. What he does every day coming into work, he prepares himself.
“He’s a champion. He’s a winner. He’s an awesome guy. And I think you should be excited. Because most GMs will get in there and they go spend all this money to get all these great players and try to like do something now. But James takes it differently. He’s like, ‘We need to build this slowly.’ And I’ve had conversations with him about what his steps are. He just wants to build a culture, he wants to build great tradition. He wants to let the people of Phoenix know that he’s not going to rush this, that he’s going to do this the right way and put the right kind of guys in there that is going to last for a long time.”