Two things you can count on when Tim Frazier is playing point guard for the Maine Red Claws.

First, the highest number in the assist column will correspond with his name.

Second, in a postgame interview he will talk about basketball being a game of runs. They had theirs. We had ours. We were able to withstand theirs.

Last month Frazier had a roller-coaster run of his own:

Called up to the National Basketball Association by the Philadelphia 76ers on a 10-day contract. Drove two hours to Boston to make his NBA debut against a Celtics team with whom he spent training camp. Returned to play in the D-League All-Star Game. Back up with Philly on a second 10-day contract. Waived four days into that contract when the Sixers signed free agent Thomas Robinson.

In all Frazier played six NBA games, started three and left a positive impression with Philadelphia Coach Brett Brown, a South Portland native.


“He didn’t do much wrong with us,” Brown said in a phone interview this week. “His body type is dynamic. His personality is infectious. And I think there’s a competitiveness that makes everybody respect him.”

Although the Red Claws are affiliated with the Celtics, any D-League player is available to any NBA team willing to sign him. Last year the Celtics did so with Chris Babb, but Frazier has been this season’s only Claw to get the call.

Returning to Portland last weekend didn’t faze Frazier. He led Maine to a 111-103 comeback victory over Grand Rapids by leading everyone in points (27), assists (16) and rebounds (nine).

“I’m sure as a competitor you’ve got to be a little disappointed if you’re him,” Red Claws Coach Scott Morrison said of Frazier’s return. “But at the same time, there’s 11 other guys in that (locker) room who would have killed for that opportunity. So he’s got to handle it like a pro and keep working to get back there. If he keeps playing like he did tonight and the last time he was here, I’m sure someone’s going to take another shot at him.”


Frazier’s next challenge comes Thursday night as the Red Claws (24-11) host the Austin Spurs (28-10) in a matchup of teams with the best records in the Eastern and Western Divisions. Fifteen games remain in the regular season and only five will be at the Expo, where the Claws are 15-6.


Before a recent practice at the Expo, Frazier reflected on his two stints in the NBA. The Sixers, who entered Wednesday with a 13-47 record, went 1-5 with Frazier. The victory coincided with his first start, in Philadelphia against Charlotte.

“It was a dream of mine,” he said. “You watch on TV, but to finally get the achievement, that’s amazing. I’m truly blessed to be part of that.”

Frazier dished out eight assists in the 89-81 victory.

“We were down against Charlotte but we fought back,” he said. “That’s what Philly does. We were able to claw back in and get a win (the fourth straight at home). It meant a lot to me, but it was more about the Sixers and their organization.”


Frazier grew up in Houston as a Rockets fan but admired Allen Iverson, the point guard who led Philadelphia to the 2001 NBA finals. After playing at Penn State, Frazier was invited to work out with the Sixers prior to the 2014 draft.


That’s when he first sat with Brown.

“He was one of the most impressive interviews I had,” Brown said. “And I interviewed a lot of players.”

The subjects that resonated with Brown had nothing to do with basketball. There was Frazier’s decision to major in supply chain and information systems at Penn State (and become a three-time all-Big 10 academic selection and earn a second degree in communications). There was also the influence on Frazier of his mother, Janice, who refused to let him wallow in self-pity after an Achilles tendon ruptured four games into his senior season in college.

“She kind of gave me some tough love,” Frazier said. “She said, ‘You’ve got a lot of things going for you, regardless of basketball.’ I think that’s really what helped me get past that injury as fast as I did.”

Frazier’s time in the NBA included chartered flights to Miami and Orlando, a pro-rated salary (totaling roughly $60,000 based on the rookie annual minimum of $507,336) more than double the D-League’s annual maximum ($25,500) and a window into the way basketball life could be.

“Obviously it’s faster-paced with more athletic players,” Frazier said. “I’m not saying everything is better but everything is at a higher scale. I think I did pretty well. I think I can withstand and have a great career up there. I know I have a long way to go – a very, very long way – but that’s a good thing for me. I know that I can still achieve and I have some growth.”

The D-League lists Frazier as its No. 4 prospect. Only two current D-Leaguers have more points in clutch time (final five minutes when teams are within five points of each other) than Frazier’s 71. He didn’t shoot particularly well (30 percent from the field, 33 percent of free throws) in his six NBA games and averaged three turnovers with his seven assists.

That the Sixers cut short his second 10-day contract was more a reflection of their desire to reach the NBA salary floor and pick up a former lottery pick (Sacramento drafted Robinson fifth in 2012) than a judgment on Frazier.

“I had a talk with Coach Brown when it happened,” he said. “We had a great conversation. He said, ‘I’m going to give you some things for you to continue to work on to get better. We enjoyed your time here and you never know. I’m pretty sure I’ll see you back soon.’ “

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.