Tim Frazier has been a journeyman in his short NBA career. The 2017-18 season will be his fourth in the league and he’ll have played for four teams in it. He’s a solid player who hasn’t managed to find a home in the league just yet, but Washington could be his best chance.
The Wizards have struggled to find solid options at the backup point guard spot for years. Their best two options over the years have been an old and creaky Andre Miller and Ramon Sessions. Neither of those guys were terrible, but they both came to Washington via trade and didn’t stay very long.
Frazier? He could have some staying power. He’s young at just 26-years-old, but he’s also actually a good player.
Brandon Jennings was alright, but he had his flaws as a finisher and a defender. We thought the Jazz were selling low on Trey Burke when he came to Washington, but low and behold, he got even worse as the season went on. Press up a bit on Tomas Satoransky and he might struggle to get the ball over halfcourt.
That’s not to say Frazier doesn’t have weaknesses — of course he does. He’s not a starter in this league. He’s okay. Solid, even. But the Wizards don’t even have that on the roster right now. So, yeah, this is the right move.
But Satoransky should improve
Yes, he should. He was a rookie last season. He still lots to learn about how the NBA works and how to play point guard at a high level. Maybe he will.
But here’s the thing: He’s only one year younger than Frazier. And a more expensive option. Frazier will make $2 million next season in the final year of his deal. Satoransky? He’ll make $3 million.
Relatively speaking, neither of those are huge amounts. And both contracts are pretty much harmless and movable if need be. But, seriously, what’s wrong with having a bit of insurance?
I’m not saying this is the case — in fact, I don’t think it is. But Satoransky might just not be good. He’s shown he can be an alright defender, but that’s not what Washington brought him to the team for. He’s not strong enough to be a wing. If he doesn’t work out as a guard here, he probably won’t work at all.
Frazier is proven already. We’ve seen him both as a starter and as a backup in New Orleans. He’s ready to play meaningful minutes and contribute right now. He has skills as a ball handler and a passer out of the pick and roll. He doesn’t turn the ball over.
No matter what way you cut it, this is a pretty clear upgrade.
Good teams value young talent, and the Wizards don’t
Listen, I won’t argue against this. The Wizards have given up pick after pick each year and have paid for it in the pocket. They don’t draft well. They never have.
But that’s all the more reason to trade this pick. Relying on the Wizards’ front office to find some sort of gem in the second round probably isn’t wise. As much as we want them to draft well, they just don’t have a track record and doing so.
And, hey, that can still change. The Wizards have a ton of young talent on their roster right now at a low cost. Sheldon Mac, Chris McCullough, Daniel Ochefu and Satoransky are all players they believe they can develop into rotation players. And they very well could.
But that makes the trade for Frazier even more reasonable. They’ve still got Aaron White playing overseas and developing. Plus, the Wizards probably weren’t going to find a guy at 52 they truly wanted that wasn’t going to be available as a training camp pickup.
And, I promise, there isn’t a single guy they were going to get at 52 that was better than Frazier.
Sure, smart teams are able to develop second round talent. But there are multiple ways to build good teams and all of them can be smart. Whether it’s developing second round gems into rotation players or trading for scraps and turning them into treasure, it can be done.
The Wizards are by no means the golden standard for an NBA franchise — that’s over on the West Coast. But they’re getting better. And the Frazier deal doesn’t represent a step back. It’s actually the opposite.
The 52nd pick could be good, but it probably won’t be. Tim Frazier actually is right now. That’s what the Wizards need, and they got it. So, relatively speaking, this draft was a success.