You can make a very good case that point guard Tim Frazier, a 28-year-old five-year NBA vet, is the Pistons’ best third-string point guard in the last 100 years. If you don’t believe me, go look it up. OK, that’s crazy. Though what I’m basically saying is that there’s never been a better third strong point guard in Detroit.
Go prove me wrong!
Frazier, who is on a veteran minimum deal worth $2 million for this season, isn’t known as a particularly gifted player offensively, but as you would assume with almost any NBA player on offense (especially a guard), he has his moments.
In his five NBA seasons totaling 245 games, Frazier has averaged 5.2 points per game on 41.2-percent shooting from the field and 32.9-percent from 3-point territory. However, Frazier did show extra scoring chops during a 16-game stretch with New Orleans in 2015-16 in which he scored 13.1 points per game in 29.3 minutes.
Frazier’s game is beating his man off the dribble and setting up his teammates. Frazier is capable of making plays both in the half court and full court. Beware though, he can get himself into trouble at times by trying to do too much, so he’ll have to pick and choose his spots better so to keep in the good graces of coach Casey.
Frazier takes advantage of a minor mismatch and gets past Markieff Morris and then finishes with the slick shot. While Frazier isn’t a sniper from deep, he’s not dreadful enough for guys to lay off him either, which of course allows him to use his quickness to make defenses shuffle.
Perhaps the best thing about having Frazier has a point guard option in Detroit is that he’s got life and fight to him. He’s feisty and athletic. He has juice. He’s likely to still be in the league three or four years from now. And he’s just not going to back down from anybody. It’s refreshing to see that kind of activity out of an end of the roster player, especially a guard.
Tim Frazier will play some meaningful minutes this season for Detroit. How many exactly? That’s tough to forecast. But, there will be games (probably more than a few second nights of back-to-backs) where he’ll play 15-20 minutes when Rose is resting. There will be other times when Frazier doesn’t play at all, even for several games at a time. An estimated 45-50 games played for Frazier seems about right.
As Sean Corp wrote recently, Frazier only needs to do a few things well and everything should be fine:
So, for Frazier, I’m going to go with assist percentage – 30%. Do that, play passable defense, and the Pistons will be playing with house money. Because the truth is Detroit’s third-stringers have a nasty habit of doing nothing well and also of getting pressed into more minutes than you’d wish. The latter possibility will be in play again this year with Frazier as the Pistons will be relying on Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose, two players with extensive medical sheets and either needing to manage minutes, sit out some nights or, unfortunately, succumbing to an occasional injury. We can’t ask Frazier to cure all the ills of the position so if he could simply be a competent distributor and run the offense ably, well, that’s all I’d ever ask for.
Worst-case is Tim gets injured for lengthy period of time, making everything moot and then Detroit is back to probably choosing between a couple dozen point guard options that are all less than desirable. Most of you reading remember vividly how awful and slow and inaccurate Jose Calderon was last season. Jose just wasn’t an NBA player anymore at that point — and it’s not really his fault. He was 37. It’s the Pistons who signed him.
So stay healthy, Tim!
The very best-case scenario is that not only is Frazier’s play so strong in his early season opportunities that Casey looks at every conceivable way to force him on the floor, but also that a Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose backcourt pairing works (POINTZZZ), and it naturally leaves some minutes available for Frazier to man the position. With a four guard rotation of Jackson, Rose, Kennard and Frazier, I’m sure you’re scratching your head thinking where did Bruce Brown go. He didn’t exactly go anywhere, it’s just that he ended up manning the small forward position with Tony Snell. See, I have everything figured out.
Tim Frazier is a welcome addition to a team that could be competing for a fifth seed and more respectability than they’ve had in a decade. Good teams have depth in most areas, and Frazier’s experience and ability to make NBA caliber plays will provide legitimate depth, giving Detroit reason not to be afraid if there’s injuries in front of him.