Told Wednesday that he’d set a career high in points in his debut with the Pelicans, point guard Tim Frazier was unaware.
“What is it, 14?” Frazier asked reporters in Sacramento, California. “We got to get it higher than that later.”
If his first time out was any indication, he’ll get the opportunity to try with New Orleans.
The 6-foot-1 point guard signed a 10-day contract with the Pelicans on Wednesday, joined the team that night and finished with 14 points, nine assists and no turnovers in 27 minutes as New Orleans beat the Kings 123-108 to snap a four-game losing streak.
Frazier came off the bench in his debut. He’s listed as a probable starter in the Pelicans’ game notes for Friday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the team with which he’s played 40 of his 47 career NBA games.
And no wonder, given that Frazier posted a career high in points and was two off his career best in assists against the Kings, despite a whirlwind day that started with Frazier expecting to play an NBA Development League game in Canton, Ohio.
Instead, he took an early-morning Uber ride to Cleveland for a 5:40 a.m. flight that got him to Sacramento around 11 a.m., about eight hours before tip-off against the Kings.
That left time for a nap and a crash course in the New Orleans offense.
“We gave him an iPad with just basic plays on it, and I talked to him pregame to try to get him through some of the stuff we try to do,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters in Sacramento. “But for the most part, he was just kind of on his own and doing it by feel.”
He showed a pretty good feel.
Frazier looked committed to pushing the pace. He kept his head up and looked for open teammates. He got into the lane to create scoring opportunities for himself and other Pelicans.
And he did it all with very little knowledge of the playbook.
“Anytime we went through something that was complicated, it came out of a timeout where I could see it on the board,” Frazier said. “Other than that, (Gentry) kind of just let me go out there and run free.”
Frazier’s nine assists came to six different players, including three to Alonzo Gee and two to Ryan Anderson.
“I just thought he did a good job of reading situations and getting guys the ball in the right spot, especially considering that he’s not played one minute with this group of guys,” Gentry said. “I thought he did a great job of finding guys.”
His new teammates “helped me a lot” Wednesday, Frazier said.
“Since I got here, since I stepped in playing — really a couple hours ago — everybody reached out to me, talked to me,” Frazier said. When you feel welcome somewhere, that helps you come out and play well.”