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Why Michael Frazier could be the NBA's next undrafted sleeper

The Florida guard wasn't selected in the 2015 NBA Draft, but still has the skills to carve out a career in the league.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Not every NBA player is lucky enough to begin their career walking across the stage to shake the commissioner's hand. Michael Frazier, a 21-year-old guard from Florida, knows this well. Sixty names were called in the 2015 NBA Draft. None were his.

Yet it's not the end for prospects if they're not picked or don't receive an NBA contract their first year. Frazier has the talent to carve out a career in the league. All he needs is the right situation to give him an opportunity to get to that level.

Wesley Matthews, Bruce Bowen and Ben Wallace suffered the same disappointment of being undrafted, but went on to have productive careers. Frazier's former teammate Scottie Wilbekin just signed a four-year contract with the 76ers after developing one year overseas and returning an improved player.

This is why Frazier is a prime candidate to be next in line.


At 6'4, Frazier has the passing skills of a combo guard, but shooting will always be his career ticket. He shot more than 43 percent from downtown in his three-year tenure with the Gators. Mechanically, Frazier features a compact release and can either hop or step into his shot attempts depending on the situation.

In addition to having strong mechanics, Frazier possesses excellent instincts. He was one of the best in the class of 2015 at moving without the ball to find soft spots in the defense.

Despite his clear shooting prowess, Frazier struggled with the Golden State Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League. He shot 0-11 from three-point range, with most of his misses front-rimming. He did hit two long-range shots, but his toe was touching the line.

However, summer basketball isn't a good way to determine whether a shooter can actually shoot. Even Matthews, one of the best perimeter marksmen in the league today, shot just 21.4 percent from three in his first summer league. Frazier's small sample size of 11 shots is statistically insignificant, as was Matthews' 14 attempts. His college numbers -- 43.2 percent from three and 85.4 percent from the line -- are much more useful.

Frazier isn't a one-dimensional shooter, either. Though the far majority of his triples came via spot-up attempts, he is also an elite shooter coming off screens.

"I watch a lot of film, especially of J.J. Redick," Frazier told SB Nation at last May's NBA Combine. "I focus on how he reads the screen, how he sets his guy up to come off it and how he gets himself open with subtle movements."

Frazier added that he doesn't just try to perfect his physical technique. He uses misdirection and deceptive eye movements, knowing that can be the deciding factor between attempting a shot with a clean look or being smothered by the defender.

On this play, Frazier lulled the Ole Miss defender to sleep and sprinted back to the corner, angling his body toward the wing to trick the defender into going over the screen. The defender's error gave Frazier ample time and space to operate. He displayed smooth footwork on the catch before elevating into the shot.

Frazer can also hit pull-up jumpers if the defender manages to stick with him, as he showed above. Unlike most shooting specialists, Frazier is also a reliable pick-and-roll playmaker, both as a shooter and a passer. He can elevate over the screen to shoot or put the ball on the floor and pull up from mid-range.

"Coach Donovan asked me to primarily be a spot-up shooter because that's what was going to help the team," Frazier explained. "But I didn't really get the chance to run many pick-and-rolls at Florida, so people just labeled me as a spot up shooter. I've always been able to do that and I've gotten better at it. It's something that I've always felt like I could do if I were given the opportunity."

Before the draft, Frazier worked out at Elev8 Sports Institute with trainer Cody Toppert to improve this area of his game. Toppert recently published an overview of the pick-and-roll. He preaches three keys: pace, poise and purpose.

"Cody Toppert and I watched a lot of film, then went straight to the court to try to replicate those same kinds of things," Frazier said. "In today's game, Chris Paul is the best player in the pick-and-roll, so I watch a lot of him. He's the master of it."

When Frazier did receive pick-and-roll reps, he excelled in those three keys with the Gators. He can slip pocket passes into the rolling defenders' hands or probe and kick the ball out to shooters.

Frazier's 0.8 assist-turnover ratio as a junior at Florida is misleading, since he wasn't surrounded by the same level of talent he was as an underclassman. The Gators had a 102.9 offensive rating according to, which was just in the 57th percentile in the country.

Frazier flashed his potential with better spacing and talent surrounding him on the floor in Summer League. This was a play he completed consistently in Las Vegas. Though his shots weren't falling, the passing ability was there. Frazier will need to improve his ball handling in order to maximize his potential, but considering his lack of experience, his ability to make smart plays is already ahead of the curve.

That potential still primarily depends on his ability to drain threes, whether it's spotting up or off screens. Some teams may be wary of his ability to get shots off against NBA defenses after his Summer League struggles, but they can't be prisoners of the moment. Not every player immediately adjusts to a new basketball, the longer three-point line and the speed of the NBA game.

A forward-thinking team would be wise to give Frazier a shot this preseason.

This scouting report is from my 2015 NBA Draft Guide, which can be downloaded here.