plus-minus tally of the 2011-12 season (+208 in 746 minutes together). In 2012-13—as the Suns struggled through a 25-57 season—Frye rested and recovered, and stayed off the court until doctors officially cleared him in September 2013. Once he was proclaimed fully healed, Frye became a 2013-14 fixture in new head coach Jeff Hornacek’s stretch fastbreak offense that saw Frye once again team up with one of the NBA’s five best quintets in plus-minus score (Frye, Miles Plumlee, P.J. Tucker, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic together posted a +117 in 435 minutes, ranking fifth in the NBA last season). If you judged Frye by his fantasy basketball stats, you might not realize how dominant the 6-11, 245-pound center was from his 11 points and 6 rebound averages. But the advanced-metrics numbers compile a different story that makes it quite obvious to see how good Frye was. Frye played 67 percent of his 28 minutes per game at the center position—not missing a single contest—while playing the other 33 percent at the power forward spot. No other center in basketball drove opposing big men—and especially centers—as mad as Frye, who was the only stretch center regularly guarded 23 feet away from the basket on nearly every possession. In his element, Frye made 37.0 percent of his 5.3 three-point attempts per game, shot a 55.5 true shooting percentage overall and had a +5.08 RPM that was second only to Tim Duncan (+5.24) at the center position in 2013-14. No wonder Orlando is paying $32 million over four years to a 31-year-old who is one year removed from a major heart ailment. It’s because Frye is a star-maker. And the Orlando Magic has plenty of young prospects they hope get some shine. Secret Stat Stars GORAN DRAGIC PHOENIX SUNS POINT GUARD Dragic’s influence on an offense is best indicated by his Nash-like +4.57 Offensive Real Plus-Minus that also shows up on his 119 offensive rating as well (Suns score 119 points per 100 possessions when Dragic is on the floor). KYLE LOWRY TORONTO RAPTORS POINT GUARD Lowry posted career best in all the advanced analytics—a +4.25 Real Plus-Minus, 20.1 Player Efficiency Rating and .567 true shooting percentage—which in turn, led to the Raptors signing Lowry to a very nice contract. RICKY RUBIO MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES POINT GUARD Injuries aside, Rubio—who assists on 37.8 of teammates’ baskets last season—has Minnesota playing like gangbusters—with or without Kevin Love—whenever he is in the lineup, evidenced by his +1.43 Offensive Real Plus-Minus, but also, more surprisingly, with his +2.47 Defensive Real Plus-Minus too. ERIC BLEDSOE PHOENIX SUNS SHOOTING GUARD Bledsoe is to the Suns’ defense what Dragic is to their offense, registering a +4.08 Defensive Real Plus-Minus score that also show up on his DANNY GREEN SAN ANTONIO SPURS SHOOTING GUARD Three-point shooters (41.5 percent last season) naturally space the floor for teammates (+0.79 Offensive Real Plus-Minus), but they don’t get playing time from Gregg Popovich to do their thing (48.2 percent in 2014 NBA Playoffs) unless they play defense too (+2.72 Defensive Real Plus-Minus). DRAYMOND GREEN GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS SMALL FORWARD The plus-minus numbers always showed Green did the little things that don’t show up in box scores (+3.99 DRPM), but even now, his box-score numbers are improving dramatically too (from 2.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game with .404 true shooting percentage in 2012-13 to 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game with .498 true shooting percentage). AMIR JOHNSON TORONTO RAPTORS POWER FORWARD Johnson is not only one of Synergy’s Top 10 pick-and-roll men on offense, he also is a Top 10 defending power forward—showing up on the Synergy defensive pick-and-roll lists too—boasting a +3.14 DRPM to go well with his +1.47 ORPM. MARCIN GORTAT WASHINGTON WIZARDS CENTER Most see Gortat as an offensive, physical force, but he is actually a better defender (+4.00 DRPM) than he is a postman (13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game with .568 true shooting percentage). TIAGO SPLITTER SAN ANTONIO SPURS CENTER Not only did Splitter show up on both Synergy top 10 lists of pickand roll, both as picker and roller, but he also is among the Top 10 rim protectors on defense for players allowing five-plus attempts per game, not to mention his +4.43 DRPM is almost Duncan-like. ANDERSON VAREJAO CLEVELAND CAVALIERS CENTER Varejao may not be a shotblocker, but LeBron James helped Varejao (+3.59 DRPM) get re-signed because he knows how valuable he is as a pick-and-roll defender (perennial top 10 on the Synergy defensive list).
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