Former Pacers Shining, Frye Pushing and Bledsoe Update
While Eric Bledsoe was the headliner in terms of Suns offseason trade acquisitions, Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee have quietly become relevant rotation players since arriving from Indiana.
The former Pacers have each become pleasant surprises at their respective positions. Green has supplied some much-needed outside shooting, while Plumlee has made his mark as a hard roller after setting screens.
When asked which Suns player he most appreciated playing with for the first time in his NBA career, Bledsoe didn’t hesitate in tabbing Plumlee, citing his perfect spacing and motion in pick-and-roll sets and improved post-up game.
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In a recent interview with Arizona Sports 620, Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough praised Plumlee’s emergence as a result of his exposed skill set.
“As a rookie Miles didn’t really get a chance to play in the NBA, but he was good in our preseason workouts and he’s been pretty good so far in preseason games,” McDonough said. “For a big guy, hereally runs the floor. He screens and he rolls, and he rebounds. He’s also a great kid. We’ve been very happy with Miles and he’s been one of the pleasant surprises so far.”
Meanwhile Green has thrust himself into the rotation conversation at small forward, where he, P.J. Tucker and Marcus Morris will be vying for time. Green started alongside Morris in Tuesday’s win over the Thunder, scoring 15 points on just nine shots in 18 minutes of playing time.
“He’s a little bit wild out there, but sometimes his wild is really good,” said Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. “He lends us something with his athletic ability that we need. Plus he makes three-point shots. A couple of them, I wish he would have shot them instead of pump-fake, one dribble and shoot. Nobody’s going to block his shot. The guy jumps too high.”
Frye Playing Into Shape
Channing Frye has been as realistic as anyone about his return to basketball after nearly a year and a half away from the game.Now that his comeback is official, however, Hornacek has made sure not to overprotect the sharp-shooting big man. Frye has averaged a respectable 16.1 minutes per game in the preseason, including 25 minutes of action against Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
“The first two minutes of the fourth quarter [against the Thunder], I was like ‘Man! How long is this game?’” Frye laughed. “Then I looked over at Jeff [Hornacek] and he was just chilling and I was like, ‘Oh boy, I’m going to be in here all night.’”
The former lottery pick made the decision look less painful by finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds in that game, followed by a six-point, two-rebound performance the very next night at Denver.
“I just want to be in there and really get my rhythm,” Frye said.
Top of the Steals Chart?
Eric Bledsoe’s defense is well-regarded around the league, but McDonough took that praise to new heights with a prediction made on Arizona Sports 620.
“If he plays extended minutes, which he will for us, I think he might lead the league in steals,” McDonough said. “He has unique potential and unique athletic ability.”
The idea isn’t outlandish. Bledsoe was fourth in league preseason steals per game (2.7), trailing only Andrei Kirilenko, Mario Chalmers and Andre Iguodala in that category.
Bledsoe is eligible for a contract extension through the end of October, though the lack of one would make him a restricted free agent in the 2014 offseason.
“Eric Bledsoe’s extension is [one decision] we’re discussing and we’ll continue to discuss,” McDonough said. “We also have options on some of our younger players on their rookie scale contracts…we have until the end of October to decide on options.”