The Wizards have made their first attempt at improving an abysmal bench by trading the 52nd overall pick for New Orleans Pelicans guard Tim Frazier.
Mike A. Scotto of the Basketball Insiders was the first to report the deal for Washington.
Frazier’s addition is the first major move the Wizards have made in this offseason. Backup point guard was an obvious weak point for Washington this season with three guards rotating in and out of the lineup throughout the year between Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky and Brandon Jennings.
Satoransky will likely go into the season as the first option behind John Wall as the Wizards’ backup point guard, but Frazier will be right behind him. This is the second consecutive year the Wizards have traded a second round pick to try and bolster the backcourt behind John Wall after trading for Burke last offseason.
Frazier averaged 7.1 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 turnovers per game last season as the Pelicans’ backup point guard behind Jrue Holiday. He also started 35 games in Holiday’s absence.
Is this a good deal for the Wizards?
We truly won’t find out if the deal was good until regular season games are played. On the surface, Frazier answers the bell for an issue the Wizards had all of last season. They couldn’t find a guard who could play consistently well in pick and roll action.
Burke had a sense as a scorer, but wasn’t a good facilitator and couldn’t finish at the rim. Brandon Jennings had a knack for finding the open man, but couldn’t finish plays offensively when the Wizards needed him to score. Satoransky was good at using his size to capitalize on smaller guards, but fell apart whenever someone pressured him in the halfcourt.
Frazier provides the Wizards with an answer to all three of those issues. He isn’t the best scorer, but can facilitate without turning the ball over. He can knows when to score if he needs to, but is patient in the pick and roll and can find shooters on the outside.
He’s going to fit right in with Washington and plug holes that they couldn’t last season. He isn’t the greatest, but he’s better than what they had last season. And even improving a little bit goes a long way in making a 49-win team better.
But we’ve wasted another pick
That is true, but whoever the Wizards drafted at 52 wasn’t going to be better than Frazier is now. He’s going to be ready to play and contribute on an NBA level immediately, unlike an unproven rookie drafted in the second round.
That’s an old argument, but there’s something to that. Especially when the Wizards already have second round talent on the roster in Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Chris McCullough.
The Wizards won’t be drafting anyone on Thursday night, but their team has still improved during this draft period. They still have to play the games, but there’s no question that this move is an upgrade over what they had. And it comes at a low cost with Frazier playing on a $2 million contract next season.
UPDATE: The trade was officially announced by the team. Here’s what Ernie Grunfeld had to say about the move:
“Tim has shown in his three seasons in the league, particularly during his time in New Orleans, that he can be a versatile, play-making point guard. He will be a good addition to our bench as a young player that we can continue to develop.”