Everyone's favorite target sticks to his guns

BY foxsports • February 9, 2011


Feb. 9, 2011

Imagine relocating after being hired to work alongside one of your new company's top employees.

Based on the job description, a skills upgrade is required, but you already were in the process of making those changes, and things go very well the first year.

Then things get a little nutty, and that top employee takes a job with another company. A few weeks later, you're given a nice raise. You haven't been assigned your previous co-worker's expectations or pay grade, but you and some new guy are required to occupy the position.

And things are a little shaky. The foreman of your crew says there's really nobody performing the duties you're attempting to handle . . . duties that include what you did last year and some of what the long-lost co-worker used to do. Those who pay to observe your company and watch its job performance are even more critical. The crew's productivity slides, and the new guy is let go. The observers aren't exactly bashful about rooting for the company to replace you.

Now imagine the company is the Phoenix Suns and you're attempting to do this job in your hometown.

That's where we find Channing Frye, who earned a full ride to the University of Arizona after starring for St. Mary's High in Phoenix. Now midway through his second season as a "stretch four," the scrutiny aimed at the 6-foot-11, 245-pound sixth-year pro seems inescapable.

Visit a Suns-related message board, and Frye often is credited with defining the team's inability to match the exaggerated expectations attached to a franchise that watched Amar'e Stoudemire leave for New York. Listen to local talk radio the day after a Suns loss and you'll probably hear someone pine for the acquisition of a "true" power forward.

Sure, the NBA is a man's league, and fans aren't exactly sympathetic to criticism pitched at a guy making millions to play basketball. But while money can provide a measure of insulation, it doesn't provide critical immunity.

"They don't know nothin' about nothin'," Frye, who usually comes across as far more eloquent and pragmatic, said of his critics. "Most of them have never coached, so they don't know how things are at this level. Our coaches are coaches for a reason."

And the reason Frye is starting

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