Pelicans guard Quinn Cook shoots the ball during a Summer League practice at the teams practice facility in Metairie, La. Monday, July 3, 2017.

Advocate photo by A.J. SISCO

Quinn Cook was attending teammate Quincy Pondexter's camp in California when he first heard the news two weeks ago.

He admitted he was a little stunned when he found out the Pelicans had traded point guard Tim Frazier to the Washington Wizards.

"It's a crazy business, as everybody knows," Cook said.

But for Cook, the trade means more opportunity.

Now he slides up one more rung on the Pelicans point guard ladder.

Instead of being the backup to the backup, he's now the backup.

At least for now.

"I am so thankful for the opportunity," Cook said. "In my two years since I've been out of college, this is the best opportunity I have had thus far. So I want to take full advantage of it and help this team win as much as possible. I think we can be a dangerous team, and I just want to help as much as possible."

Cook, who played nine games with the Pelicans last season, will get to run the offense when the Pelicans begin summer league play in Las Vegas on Friday.

He's spent the past two months making sure he's ready to be the man backing up Jrue Holiday, who over the weekend reportedly agreed to a five-year, $126 million contract.

Cook has gotten stronger, adding seven more pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame. He's worked out twice a day since May.

"He's ready for the challenge," said Pelicans assistant Jamelle McMillan, who will coach the summer league team. "I think he has grown up as well. The main thing is he has teammates who trust him. When you have teammates behind you, and a front office and a coaching staff that really believes in you and respects what you did for the short time that you have been here, that's big for him. He understands what it is for him and his opportunity."

Cook, who played at Duke, averaged 5.8 points and 1.6 assists in his nine games with the Pelicans last season. His best outing was a 22-point performance against Golden State. He shot 42.3 percent from 3-pointers, including the five games he played with the Dallas Mavericks before signing a pair of 10-day contracts with the Pelicans in March and then a multi-year deal in April.  

He'll get to prove himself even more in Vegas, especially with Pelicans first-round draft pick Frank Jackson recovering from a foot injury and not playing in summer league.

"I am looking forward to seeing what he does with pretty much control of this team," McMillan said.

He is confident, not just in his talents, but also in the intangibles.

"Come off the bench and run the team with a winning mentality," Cook said. "I've won my whole life. I just want to bring that edge to this team."

It's the type of edge he saw last season in Frazier.

Cook sent a text message to Frazier after the trade wishing him the best of luck.  The two got a chance to see each other last week when Cook went home to Washington D.C., the city Frazier will now play in.

"That's my guy," Cook said. "He helped me a lot last year during preseason and when I came back. A guy undrafted from the D-league who is making his mark in the league is somebody I look up to. He was good for me last year."

Now Cook is hoping to write a similar story.

Cook didn't hear his name called during the 2015 NBA draft. Instead he started his NBA journey as a free agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was waived a month later. Since then, he's played in 82 D-league games.

But now he's hoping to stick in the NBA.

But he knows the backup point guard isn't a spot that is just going to be given to him.

"No, it's my spot to earn," Cook said. "I've worked hard to get this position. I don't want to let up now. I just want to keep doing what I have been doing, keep getting better and keep being coachable and just staying humble. ... I see myself getting better, getting faster, getting stronger. "I just want to keep the momentum going."

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.