Adelaide 36ers made the tough call to release import Jarrid Frye today, paving the way for the return of former Sixer Rhys Carter. Frye's battle to overcome an ankle injury sustained on the eve of the season was cited as the key reason he was let go as it ensured he never reached his potential.
I didn't see Frye in the pre-season but all reports were that he looked good. He injured his ankle during the week of the season opener (by stepping on Luke Schenscher's foot as broken on our podcast with him) and subsequently missed the season opener. His first four games were strong and he averaged 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in that stretch, with a points high of 18 and a rebound total of 7 (twice). Very healthy numbers from the 3 spot. He'd shot 5/12 from the line to that point.
His dip in production really started in that next game against Sydney...where he tweaked his ankle. From there he only scored in double-figures in four of the next fifteen games and only recorded more than five rebounds twice.
In the January 4 game versus New Zealand, the free throw issues really started to become noticeable. He shot 0/5 in that game, starting a horror 2/15 stretch from the line. The interesting thing was his numbers varied greatly between home and away.
Home Free Throws: 2/20
Road Free Throws: 10/21
He was hardly a great free throw shooter on the road (under 50%) but there's a noticeable difference.
It's a gutsy move by the Sixers, who will likely thrust Creek into the starting 3 spot. Creek displayed as recently as Sunday why he deserves more minutes but it will be interesting to see how he goes starting and who will provide the scoring and hustle from the bench. Like Creek, Carter is a great defender but a pretty spotty shooter. Joey Wright will likely experiment over the coming weeks with more lineups with Gibbo and Peach at the 3. Gibson's toughness, effort and strength allows him to match a lot of small forwards while Peach also has had some success at the 3 with his size troubling smaller forwards. Ideally, we'll see more of the Ervin/Gibson/Creek/Johnson/Schenscher lineup I promoted in yesterday's "The Numbers".
"J-Frye" will be missed and it's a shame his injury happened when it did. Whether a few weeks rest back earlier in the season would have helped is hard to know but the Sixers must move forward and Creek will suddenly have some pressure to prove he's taken his game to the next level. Jason Cadee must provide some of the offensive punch and run Creek provided from the bench and Carter can be given time to find his niche, focusing initially on stifling defense.
Should be an interesting few weeks.....