NBA teams are now allowed to offer 10-day contracts to both free agents and NBADL prospects. While the likelihood is extremely low that you're going to snag a franchise-changing player or even a starter on a 10-day deal, multiple teams are already seeing benefits. Teams like the Knicks (Langston Galloway) or Jazz (Elijah Millsap) have been able to utilize these D-League talents to play a vital role with their individual teams.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have discovered a small amount of success from these "low-risk, high-reward" type talents with Tarik Black, Ed Davis and Jordan Clarkson. With that in mind, there still remains a crater-sized hole in the team at point guard. Currently, the duo of Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin stand as the Lakers only point guards. Although Price and Lin have both done a semi-competent job of being able to keep the position afloat, there seems to be a heavy dose of stagnation with those two during a season that's supposed to be the antithesis of that mindset.
In an attempt to hopefully leave that stagnation in the rear-view mirror, this edition of "D-League Spotlight" is going to take a look at Tim Frazier, who currently stands as one of the minor league's hottest rising prospects.
After spending five years with Penn State (red-shirted during the middle of the '12-13 season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon), it appeared that Frazier's potential as an NBA player dissipated. Although he was always a great facilitator, Frazier's slight 6'1, 170-pound frame combined with his lack of perimeter jumper appeared to be key issues behind him never being able to realize his NBA dreams.
Frazier tried to keep those NBA dreams alive by working his way to the Maine Red Claws following a stint with the Celtics training camp team.
Since his transition to the D-League and the Red Claws, Frazier has been able to demonstrate the same skills that allowed him to become Penn State's all-time assist leader. As of the time of this writing, Frazier sits fourth in the D-League with 8.3 assists per game, while also maintaining a 2.29 assist-to-turnover ration.
Once you transition your eyes from the stat-sheet to his game-tape, you can further appreciate his ability as a facilitator. In a similar way to a bevy of other solid distributors, Frazier is able to effectively cut to the paint and kick it out to an open teammate, whether they would be fixed at the perimeter or working alongside him near the rim. Frazier's also has a knack for placing the ball in the right opening to allow his teammates to score.
While on the topic of scoring, Frazier's been able to slowly develop into the type of all-around threat that Penn State fans hoped he'd eventually become. As Frazier made his initial transition into the D-League, he maintained the same flaws he had in college, which included an inability to score from the perimeter. During the first two months of the season, Frazier failed to eclipse the 30 percent mark from beyond the arc. However, as the calender turned to 2015, the fate of Frazier's shots from distance have changed. Although it might just be one of the more glaring examples of "small sample size," Frazier has shot 50% from beyond the arc in around two attempts per game. While the likelihood of he can maintain that kind of consistency is low, it's nice to see he's comfortable with shooting from the perimeter.
During his time with the Red Claws, Frazier has also proven himself as one of the finest cutters in the entire development league. Frazier's consistently able to work his way to the paint within split-seconds by using his quickness combined with stellar ball-handling ability.
Once Frazier's feet make their way toward the paint, he can use a bevy of different tricks and tactics to put the ball in the rim. Perhaps Frazier's most utilized method of attack is the running floater. Whenever larger foes stand in the way of the 6'1 guard, Frazier has can square up and launch up a floater that can sky over even the longest opponent.
But when Frazier finds an opening, or is more comfortable with facing his opponent, it's definitely a sight to behold. In possession of an insane amount of athleticism, Frazier can drop the hammer for killer dunks or working his way around an opponent with an up-and-under move. Those handful of traits have helped push Frazier toward an absolutely stellar 70 percent shooting percentage from inside the restricted area, which would stack up with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge (62 percent), LeBron James (65 percent) and Carmelo Anthony (60 percent) if it translated to the NBA.
While it doesn't appear Byron Scott and Mitch Kupchak are willing to break away from the current Jeremy Lin/Ronnie Price pairing, Tim Frazier might be the ideal prospect that could help end the team's stagnation at the point guard position. Frazier's facilitating ability could work well inside the Lakers' second unit, as he'll be able to play alongside Wayne Ellington, Carlos Boozer or even Jeremy Lin. Whether it's Tim Frazier or any other of the wide array of D-League prospects, this would be the perfect time for the Lakers to simply use a 10-day contract and give a prospect an opportunity with the Lakers.