The New Orleans Pelicans might have just stumbled across a piece of their future puzzle that could be kept on a good contract for the next few years. In limited action, Tim Frazier really made the games enjoyable when he was on the court.
The way Frazier moves the ball and finds the right teammates after spending the shortest of periods practicing is just something special. It was instantly apparent his basketball IQ is off the charts and how much he loves the game. Basketball IQ by itself is something the Pelicans could use in a big way.
Defensively he isn't great but he definitely plays hard on that end and still managed to average 1.5 steals a game. Being a smarter player allows him to make up for some of his size deficiencies.
One of the Pelicans biggest priorities will be to make sure they keep Frazier around who is a restricted FA this offseason (along with James Ennis). I put together a list of seven NBA point guards who start for their teams, or are on the verge of the honor. Those point guards average a salary above $10 million a year. Predictably they consist mostly of veterans who have played on winning teams, with far more talent than what Frazier has had the privilege of working with.
Also keep in mind Frazier has youth on his side (25) and playing with better players should in theory make it easier to operate on both ends. Most of the Frazier's time on the court was spent alongside Luke Babbitt, Jordan Hamilton, Alonzo Gee, James Ennis, and Tony Douglas. Compare that to maybe being on the court with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Quincy Pondexter, and possibly Buddy Hield (please) -- that would have made things smoother, right?
Below is the list of the aforementioned point guards, their accompanying 2015-16 averages and 2016-17 salaries.
As you can see, Tim Frazier had better statistics than most of the listed company, better numbers then all but Mike Conley and Jeff Teague. Now the stats are probably a little off given Frazier's stats were based on just 16 games. However, his age and experience are extremely attractive as well as the fact the Pelicans should be to sign him to quite a team-friendly deal.
Frazier passed the eye test and statistical analysis was a positive too -- we might not want to believe it because he was waived by the Portland Trail Blazers and not picked up off waivers, but good NBA players have taken more circuitous routes.
Remember, though, playing with the Pelicans was an incomparable opportunity as he was given all the minutes he could handle, and he exceeded all expectations. Honestly, I could be talked into Frazier starting alongside Jrue Holiday. But I know this, a second unit with Tim Frazier running the point will be the start of a potentially good bench mob.