The New Orleans Pelicans, granted a second injury exception, will sign point guard Tim Frazier to a 10-day contract according to ESPN's Marc Stein and confirmed by Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate. Frazier, currently with the Maine Red Claws in the D-League, debuted with the Philadelphia 76ers last year after going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Frazier's path to a real NBA contract has been arduous to say the least. First, undrafted out of Penn State Frazier played 27 games with the Red Claws before earning a call-up to the Sixers. After two ten day contracts with the 76ers Frazier returned to the D-League for 13 more games before the Portland Trail Blazers called him up again, this time with a two year contract at the minimum.
Unfortunately Frazier failed to catch on with the Trail Blazers this season, logging just 272 minutes over the course of 54 games up to the trade deadline with a number of DNP - Coach Decision on the ledger. When Portland GM Neil Oshley traded for Anderson Varejao (and a first round pick) the Blazers needed an open roster spot to facilitate the transaction and Frazier was a casualty.
ESPN sources say New Orleans is poised to add guard Tim Frazier to its roster on a 10-day callup from the @nbadleague.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 16, 2016
After his release from the Trail Blazers, Frazier returned to the Red Claws and has been exceptionally effective at that level. His statistical production in the D-League is absurd; 15.0 points, 9.6 assists, and 9.1 rebounds in his most recent eight game stint. He won the D-League MVP in 2015. To say that has yet to translate at the NBA level is an understatement. A 6.3 PER with terrifying turnover rate (27.5%) that makes Omer Asik blush. A solid shooter at the D-League level (37% from three, 41.7% from 16+ feet) Frazier has been horrendous in a tiny sample size in the NBA (23.5% from three, 26.3% from 16+ feet).
Frazier is currently listed as the number one D-League prospect. He's also already 25 years old so there is naturally a feeling that this is a low upside move. Considering the recent back issues plaguing Norris Cole I would guess this is less about long term and more about fielding a competitive product in the short term. I am more interested in a younger prospect such as Quinn Cook, who could become a legitimate reserve point guard for the future. That the Pelicans, once again, prioritize the shortest term possible is not all that surprising.
On the opposite end, maybe all Frazier needs to achieve his potential is the freedom he could have under Alvin Gentry. It did wonders for Ish Smith's career, after all.