The cost of Tim Frazier and observations

Published: November 3, 2016

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I’m a fan of Tim Frazier.  I usually take the side of the underdog, and a not-quite six-foot five-year college player who went undrafted yet still fights his way to the NBA qualifies.  He plays with fire and energy.  I like watching him.

Outside of Chaos Stephenson and an odd drive by Moore, Frazier is also the only guy on this team capable of getting dribble penetration.  That means he has to play, because every NBA offense requires penetration or you get unsightly messes like that Grizzlies game.  At the end of that game Tony Allen and the super-switchy wings on Memphis stopped Stephenson’s penetration and swarmed the passing lanes to Davis.  It resulted in lots of bad perimeter shots. (On the flip side, the Grizzlies managed to penetrate the Pels with clever passing from Gasol and lots of cuts.  They didn’t get through a lot, but they got through enough.)

Frazier wasn’t in the game at that point.   I’ve noticed that some are focusing on his poor shooting and his struggles dealing with Conley’s defense as the reason he wasn’t in there.  The real reason (other than Stephenson and Langston Galloway getting hot for a short time) was the fact he struggles in the defensive system the Pelicans want to run.

Simply put, they try to switch almost everything that’s not a Center-PG high screen and roll at the top of the key.  Durant setting a screen for Klay?  Klay’s guy stick with Durant, Durant’s guy chases Klay.  And on and on.  That can work if your perimeter guys are Hill, Cunningham(not really), Stephenson, Moore, Hield or even the long armed Galloway.  It can’t work if one of your guys gives up 50 lbs on the guy he’s trying to defend.

The Pels know this, and try to limit their switching while Frazier is on the court.  I was curious, however, as to what happens when Frazier IS on the floor and the Pelicans still switch, leaving him on bigger and bigger players.

So I charted the Milwaukee and Memphis games and scribbled down every time Tim Frazier switched onto someone and still remained part of the play.  (I.E. I didn’t count the times when Frazier switched  and the guy ran to the corner and stood there doing nothing.  I should probably count these too, but I didn’t, so you can sneer at me in the comments if you like.)

I have 26 switches written down.  On 9 of those switches the opposing team tried to abuse Frazier in the post and the Pels sent help.  On 3 they tried to abuse him and they didn’t send help.  On 14 Frazier defended his guy normally on the perimeter, was sometimes iso’d, sometimes not.  On these posessions, including free throws, the other team scored 32 points.

Those numbers may not seem too bad, (and this is a pretty small sample size) but they equate to a per possession scoring rate of 1.23.  The best offensive in the league right now (Cleveland) is scoring at a rate of 1.12.

That’s not good.

Observations from the games:

  • We played Memphis last night.  Gentry didn’t start Asik against perhaps the most obvious center in the league for him to defend.   Have I mentioned I’ve been done with Gentry for a while?
  • I don’t know how to feel about Stephenson.  He’s everything we love and hate about Tyreke, but more frantic.
  • I feel like Moore and Hield are figuring out their spots.  Lost in the fact that he’s been missing a lot of them, (and dribbling into trouble) Hield has been finding and taking lots of good, open looks.
  • Terrence Jones reminds me of Michael Beasley.  Except he’s worse than Michael Beasley.  And Michael Beasley is pretty bad.
  • Hill is a good perimeter defender as billed.  He’s also only adequate at defending bigs.  He’s got the physicality, but not the height.  And, as McNamara likes to talk about, none of the boxing-out/rebounding instincts.
  • This team is actually good at getting deflections and playing active ball denial.  They have had a clear athleticism upgrade.


  1. Pingback: 淺談Tim Frazier的生涯和對巫師可能的幫助 | 運動生活頻道 Sports Lover Channel

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