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Prospect Breakdown: Melvin Frazier

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Is the athletic wing the right pick at #26?

It’s been talked about for months now- the Sixers need wings. The lack of wing defense and shooting is the only glaring weakness on this roster. And with two first-round picks, the Sixers are armed to remedy the issue, especially in a draft class filled with wings who have two-way potential. One of the wings projected to go towards the end of the first round, or the beginning of round two, is Tulane’s Melvin Frazier, who had a breakout junior season sparked by a much-improved jumper, elite athleticism and impressive defense, the right choice for the Sixers?

Offense

Given that Frazier would spend the majority of his time on the floor next to Ben Simmons, shooting is an obvious need. And before this season, Frazier was a liability in that department, never shooting even 30 percent from downtown. But last season, something changed- on three attempts per game, Frazier knocked down 38.5 percent of his three-pointers (including 20-48 shooting on NBA threes), by far the best clip of his college career. But Frazier has other offensive abilities- per thestepien.com’s shot charts, Frazier converted at the rim at an impressively high rate- his 74.1 shooting percentage at the rim comes in at the 85th percentile. This is thanks to his elite athleticism- which also makes him capable of highlight plays like this.

Defense

The combination of Frazier’s aforementioned elite athleticism as well as good awareness and IQ made him one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, and one of the best in this class. He can switch onto most players because of his size (6’6”), length (7’1.75” wingspan), and quickness. He was an absolute pest, always being very difficult for opposing offenses to deal with. Under the tutelage of Brett Brown, it’s easy to envision Frazier becoming an elite defender.

Positional Fit

Frazier slots right in as an off-ball wing, whose deficiencies when it comes to shot creation would be masked next to players like Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. His strong-suit, perimeter defensive versatility, helps fill a major hole on the roster. As it stands now, he is not big and strong enough to play the small-ball four, but if he puts on some muscle, that could be in his future. At worst, he will be an energizer off the bench who plays hard on defense and can take tough assignments. At best, he can become a solid two-way player if his shot continues to improve.

Draft Projection

It seems more likely than not that Frazier is available once the Sixers are on the clock for the second time when they make the 26th overall pick. The Sixers also own the 38th and 39th picks, but it does not seem to be feasible that he falls that far. Whether or not Frazier should be taken over other wings who may be available at this spot, such as Jacob Evans, Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop, is up to the Sixers to decide.