In the New Orleans Pelicans first preseason game Tim Frazier came off the bench against the Dallas Mavericks, but he still went on to post a very solid boxscore line of 10 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 three and 0 turnovers.
This early result, combined with his strong play over a 16-game stretch with the Pelicans last season, may lead many fans to believe Frazier is ready to shoulder a lot of responsibility while several key members remain out of the rotation. Is that a correct assumption to make?
How confident are you in Tim Frazier's abilities to fill in adequately for Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans until one of them are able to return to the rotation?
Kevin: Frazier is far from being the defender that Holiday is, but if paired with Moore or Galloway in the backcourt, those deficiencies can be made up for. At media day Tim said he feels like you need to have at least one elite skill to stick in the league and he is working to become an elite passer. I think he's actually pretty close already. He reminds me a lot of a more in control Jason Williams with the way he was able to squeeze passes into tight windows - sometimes with a bounce splitting two defenders. If his scoring ability takes another jump and his defense is just below league average, he should be able to keep the Pelicans afloat.
Chris: I think Frazier will perform at about 65% of a Jrue Holiday while he is out. He will be a dropoff offensively, but the bigger decline will be on the defensive side. Jrue can guard point guards, shooting guards and even some small forwards — something Frazier will not be able to do.
David: Tim Frazier put up the best numbers of his career in a tiny sample size after the Pelicans were completely out of any kind of contention. It is unlikely he is going to continue to shoot that well beyond the arc. His turnovers were down in those 16 games, yet in the D-League and everywhere else he's been in the NBA it's hovered above 20%. To compare, Omer Asik has posted a 17% turnover rate in two seasons in New Orleans.
At the beginning of the year, with significant pressure to produce, I expect Frazier to shoot more poorly and turn the ball over more often than what we saw in March and April. He'll still have great numbers if we ignore efficiency and the turnovers. I fully expect people to say "Frazier is averaging 13 points and 9 assists per game we don't need Holiday” by Thanksgiving while failing to even mention the defensive side of the ball. Frazier at point will make it more difficult to play Buddy Hield, who is has the best chance to be a star besides Davis and Holiday. In short, Frazier isn't going to fill in well enough.
Kenny: I'm about 75/80% confident that Frazier can create shots for others, but I'm about 25% confident he will score or shoot at the rate he did last season. Defense, that’s another another obstacle entirely.
Oleh: I’m confident Tim Frazier can run Alvin Gentry’s system, get into the teeth of opposing defenses, and find narrow passing lines time and again leading to easy buckets. These skills are all very useful and quite necessary, but after that, everything else is more based in faith, or a lack thereof, though his overall positive impact to this point cannot be denied.
Regarding Frazier’s shooting ability, the statistics are few in number but vary immensely. In 469 minutes with the Pelicans he connected on 13 of 31 attempts from three-point range, good for a mark of 41.9%. In all of his previous stops he combined to shoot 8-34 (23.5%) from the same range. With two such small sample sizes, a few extra makes or losses can dramatically change the result.
Looking at his free throw shooting, often considered a good predictor of perimeter shooting ability, does not help his case. Frazier improved significantly from the charity stripe, but a 76.3 FT% with the Pelicans is far from impressive and doesn’t project to an above average 3FG%.
Defense, well, what can you say? His height, girth and wingspan all place him at a significant disadvantage against a league filled with freakishly built specimens. At best, one hopes he learns to stay in front of his man, or switches onto much larger assignments do not result in an automatic two points. It will be key that the defense behind him forms a sort of a symbiotic relationship to his movements, waiting to assist in times of need.
Travis: Not confident at all. On a scale of 1-10, I’d say a 2. He’ll play, he’ll contribute and he’ll help, but if Tim Frazier, he from the mighty basketball powerhouse that is Penn State, is your starting point guard for say the first 30 games, you’ll just get eaten alive by Point God, Westbrook, Lillard, Steph, Kyrie and the other point guards that you’d either classify as: “great,” “All-Star,” or “Hall-of-Fame worthy. PG is the position of strength in the league and the Pelicans can’t afford to have a third-stringer repping them for too long or it’ll be another season of AD’s prime wasted.