Thursday, March 20, 2008
Channing Frye is messing with your mind
In a league where seemingly everyone is eminently talented, any little edge you can get on your adversary can be helpful. Some guys talk trash. Others take the opposite approach, softening up opponents by talking nice before the game in hopes that said opponent won't be as physical or aggressive. It might sound childish, but whatever works.
Channing Frye, on the other hand, prefers to make a statement with his actions rather than his words. You’ve probably seen him engage in a kind of physiological warfare without even knowing it. His weapon: the deadball blocked shot.
Often after the whistle blows, a player will put up a shot knowing full well that it won’t count. Some players do it to stay in rhythm, others simply to get in a practice shot that they might not have otherwise been able to take. It’s debatable whether or not hitting a meaningless shot attempt actually helps, but Channing Frye isn’t taking any chances. When that shot goes up after the whistle and Frye is on the floor, he’s sending it back.
“Mentally, it makes them know that I’m paying attention to them,” said Frye. “Usually guys (take a shot after the whistle) when they’ve missed a couple shots. So I just block it so they can’t mentally see the ball go through the hoop. And it’s just really annoying.”
It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. So much of the NBA game is predicated on confidence, so why let your opponent get even the slightest bit of swagger?
Frye might not know for sure that it has an effect on his defensive assignment, but he knows from personal experience that it makes a difference.
“It kind of helps me when I shoot the ball and see it go in,” Frye said. “That makes me think the next one if going to go in. But if a couple haven’t fallen, the last image I want is of someone blocking that shot or that ball not going in.”
“I’m a jump shooter, so they’ll do it if I’ve made one or two and then they’ll go up and swat the third one. So now I start thinking about them instead of about thinking it was going to go in anyway.”
Frye’s obviously not the only player who employs this tactic. Both Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan goaltend deadball shots as well. Nevertheless, it doesn’t sit well with all of the Trail Blazers staff.
“Coach Monty hates when I do it. He thinks it’s so stupid, but I’m going to still do it anyway. It’s all good. It’s a big joke now. He thinks it doesn’t do anything, but I know it does.”