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The Orlando Magic raised eyebrows when they signed Channing Frye to a four-year, $32 million contract during the offseason. The general consensus was that it made very little sense for the Magic, a young team that’s in the middle of an extensive rebuilding process, to splurge in free agency on a 31-year old veteran.
And thus far, Frye’s production has been relatively pedestrian, as he’s averaging just 10.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game with a 10.9 PER and .609 True Shooting percentage (granted, that last statistic is excellent). A stark contrast from the career-high numbers he put up with the Phoenix Suns last season.
Even with the copious amount of data we have at our disposal in a league that has embraced numbers, it’s nearly impossible to quantify Frye’s value as a player. The Magic have only played 16 percent of an 82-game NBA season. It is possible to contextualize Frye’s performance thus far this season, but there are many, many variables involved.
Basic metrics — which are, but not limited to points, rebounds, assists, and shooting percentages — can measure how well Frye has played in just a short time with the Magic. Comparing figures recorded this season to Frye’s averages from last year, a much larger sample, is a logical way to evaluate performance. However, this judgement is unfair — Frye is in an entirely different situation because the Magic and Suns are separate entities.