Unselfish floor generals often receive favor both on and off the floor from their teammates. Who wouldn’t want to play with someone with maturity who can act like an extension of their coach, all while aiming to make those around them better? If that point guard also happens to boast some offensive prowess and garners attention from the defense to help spread the floor, that’s even better. The cherry on top would be if this player was also easygoing, arrives with no ego, and therefore, is a joy to be in the locker room, too.
As fate would have it, this all describes Tim Frazier in a nutshell. Undrafted out of Penn State, Frazier suited up for the Maine Red Claws to start the 2014-15 season after being waived by the Boston Celtics. Some extra work was required in order to attain his NBA dream, but that wasn’t a problem for the humble youngster. He bought in to the value of the NBA G League, fully understanding that endearing one’s self to NBA teams isn’t about pouring in the most points, but making that extra hustle play, dishing out that key dime, or keeping things lively on the court by staying vocal.
Frazier’s numbers weren’t flashy, but they were varied. He made contributions across the board. He averaged 16.1 points, 9.5 assists, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals that season, but he only had to wait until shortly after his first NBA G League All-Star selection for an NBA team to call his number. After playing collegiality at Penn State and participating in NBA Summer League with the 76ers, it’s safe to say that Frazier was familiar with Philadelphia and that’s who gave him his first chance. Plagued by injuries, the team needed an injection of life and leaned on Frazier to give it to them. Out the window went any opportunity he’d have to acclimate himself or get used to those around him. It helped that Frazier found some familiar faces from the past summer, because he was thrown head first into the flames.
Not many undrafted players can say they ended up playing 35 minutes in their NBA debut, but it was Frazier’s calming nature that prevailed — he undoubtedly knows how to control the tempo of a game — that helped keep him out on the floor. Things were gelling and his teammates were benefiting as Frazier impressed with 11 assists. He also tallied five points, five rebounds, and two steals against a team that knew him all too well: the Celtics. The 76ers reaped the benefits from a player who developed an increased comfort level under their opponent’s umbrella. Frazier awed, tallying two additional games scoring in double figures while also dishing out seven assists in each. He played out two 10-day contracts, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you play. Basketball is a business, and the return of other point guards meant the 76ers no longer had a need for Frazier, who returned to Maine.
Frazier kept his head high and his quality of play even higher. His return to the Red Claws bolstered them toward a postseason spot as their leader racked up the accolades. Frazier’s rookie campaign is forever highlighted by his many honors:
- NBA G League MVP
- NBA G League Rookie of the Year
- All-NBA G League First Team
- NBA G League All-Defensive Second Team
Frazier took the minor league by storm, which should have been an indicator that he wasn’t there to stay for very long. The 76ers weren’t the only team he impressed. The floor general joined the Blazers well in time for the postseason, even racking up a 13-point, 10-assist double-double before the next level of competition began.
What Frazier did with this next opportunity has helped him flip a strong minor league stint into a respectable NBA career that many players in his initial position could only dream of.
None of the modest traits that Frazier walked into the league with have ever wavered. He’s still the same even-keeled, calm-nature individual with clear values in mind. His unselfishness extends beyond what he does on the court. He makes teammates better on the court and offers them comfort off of it. In turn, coaching staffs instill trust in him and teammates want to play alongside him. What’s resulted is a six-year career with six different teams, including three separate stints with the New Orleans Pelicans. His strong friendships with stars across the league like Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard have helped him garner staying power, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Chemistry is an important part of team success, and that’s another piece of value Frazier can add.
The now 29-year old was waived by the Pistons following 27 appearances this season. But with career averages of five points and four assists through 272 games (81 starts), it would come as no surprise if yet another team in need of a steadying force enlists Frazier to lead their troops in a pinch. He’s done it time and time again.