The Trail Blazers offseason is upon us, and the 2018 NBA Draft will provide Portland with an opportunity to supplement its roster with a talented youngster. With only the No. 24 pick at their disposal on draft night, the Blazers will surely look to get lucky by finding an NBA-worthy prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we will be looking at the intriguing potential of Tulane forward Melvin Frazier.
- Height: 6’6”
- Weight: 200
- Wingspan: 7’2”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SF
- Age: 21
- Projected draft range: 32-41
- PPG: 15.9 | Per 40: 18.5
- RPG: 5.6 | Per 40: 6.5
- STL: 2.2 | Per 40: 2.5
- APG: 2.9 | Per 40: 3.3
- FG%: 55.6
- 3P%: 38.5
Armed with unmistakable athletic ability and a wingspan capable of making even the most seasoned scouts drool, Melvin Frazier might be the best prospect you’ve never heard of. The 21-year-old forward is an explosive finisher that consistently plays above the rim when attacking the basket. Along with his ability to score in the paint, Frazier made major strides in the three-point shooting department over the course of his junior year. The former Tulane standout’s offense doesn’t stop there, as he has shown an ability to find open teammate by delivering highlight-worthy passes.
On defense, Frazier shines by forcing turnovers. By consistently using his impressive wingspan, he becomes a tour de force of nabbing steals. Individual assignments aside, the Louisiana native attacks rotations with enough vigor to cover for other teammates’ defensive lapses. Due to his length and defensive instincts, Frazier projects as a player that will be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA.
With a stellar junior year at Tulane acting as the main sample for his NBA-worthiness, Frazier will have to prove he is capable of consistently performing at a high level. The main questions of consistency surround his offensive capabilities. Starting with his shooting, Frazier has to work on finding a regular release point on his shot. It was common for the 21-year-old to hold on to the ball a little too long during his shot, which caused the ball to be released after the apex of his jump. The fine-tuning doesn’t stop with his shooting, however, as Frazier will need to do a better job of limiting his turnovers. To do so, he must tighten his handle and use better discretion when operating as a facilitator.
Part of the reason why you may have never heard of Frazier is due to Tulane’s inability to finish above .500 during his tenure there. Last season was no different, as the Green Wave finished with a mediocre 14-17 record. Frazier led the team with 15.9 points per game and led the entire American Athletic Conference in total steals. When facing fellow 2018 NBA Draft prospect Shake Milton of SMU last season, Frazier put together 15-point and 27-point outings. His 27-point outburst came in a loss, but it shouldn’t discount his 6-of-8 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
Offensive development will be key for Frazier’s ability to become a true 3-and-D NBA prospect. Modifications to his shot timing and footwork prove less daunting than a complete mechanics makeover. If Frazier can cement his improvements from last season, he could end up being a late-round steal for the team that selects him. Without offensive polish, Frazier still projects to be an above-average defender that is also proficient in completing dazzling finishes around the basket. Despite being a relative unknown with a small body of work, Frazier’s upside will simply be too enticing to pass on.
You can never have enough wings with Frazier’s skill set on your roster. By selecting Frazier, the Blazers could provide themselves with insurance for the 2018-19 season. Adding a potentially dangerous two-way wing would protect Portland from a possible Pat Connaughton departure and a potential Maurice Harkless slump. The key will be Frazier’s pre-draft performances, as the Blazers’ coaching staff will likely want a closer looking at the holes in his game. If his offensive hitches can be corrected in their eyes, Frazier has all the tools to be a dynamic force capable of complementing Portland’s current roster.
Do you want to see Frazier in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? What prospect would you like to see us highlight next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com