From opening the season as Jrue Holiday’s replacement in the starting lineup, to spending a brief portion of the campaign out of the rotation, to coming full circle as a late-season starter alongside Holiday, it was an eventful 2016-17 for Tim Frazier – but one that saw him cement his status as a bona fide NBA player. After an itinerant previous two seasons split between the D-League, Portland, Philadelphia and New Orleans, the 6-foot-1 point guard more than doubled his NBA career minutes total, logging 1,525 for the Pelicans over 65 games (he entered ’16-17 with 980).
“It’s a great feeling to be part of the rotation,” Frazier said in his season-ending media session. “I’ve been bouncing around the first two years. Now to have a solid year and be with one team throughout the entire year was a good feeling, but I know I’ve got a long ways to go.”
Frazier started 23 of New Orleans’ first 24 games, partly due to Holiday’s 12-game family leave of absence, then returned to the first unit in 12 of the final 13 contests. The Pelicans went a combined 12-23 in Frazier’s starts, but he also figured prominently during an 8-3 stretch in March, the team’s most successful span of the season. Frazier started in wins that month over Minnesota, Memphis, Denver, Dallas and Sacramento, positively impacting the play of Holiday, who moved off the ball and saw his efficiency improve.
“We played well together,” Frazier said of his pairing with the one-time All-Star. “It gives us two options, two ballhandlers on the court and two guys who can make plays for others. It can take some pressure off of (Holiday) as well.”
Entering the second year of a two-year contract he signed with New Orleans last summer, Frazier isn’t taking anything for granted, a lesson he learned while trying to establish himself in the league after starring in college at Penn State, but then going undrafted.
“You never know, but it feels good to know that I have some type of certainty and being able to help the team next year,” Frazier said of entering the summer under contract, instead of having a tenuous status. “I don’t know if (his play in ’16-17) solidifies (the future). One thing I’ve known from these first three years is as much as you think you’re there or you’re happy, things can change in a heartbeat. I’ll just take it day by day and see all I can do to help the team win.”
NBA experience: 3 seasons (2 with Pelicans) || Games played/started: 65/35 || Age: 26