Ramon Sessions and Tim Frazier are different versions of the same problem for the Wizards’ bench

Ramon Sessions recently supplanted Tim Frazier in the rotation as the team’s backup point guard in what we can only imagine is a move to bridge the backup point guard gap until John Wall returns from injury. The thing is, in his limited time during his second stint in Washington, Sessions hasn’t proved that he’s the better option over Frazier.

Sessions’ M-O, dating back to his first go-round with Washington, is that he’s an attack-first point guard. He’s not the best shooter (he’s only shooting 34.3 percent from the field in Washington) but has a knack for keeping the defense off-balance in transition and can slice his way to the hole. He averages 8.5 free-throw attempts per 100 possessions – the best rate on the team – but that’s where the buck stops.

The ten-year veteran is the furthest thing from a lockdown defender. The Wizards have been outscored in six of the seven games when Sessions has been on the floor. The lone exception came in Wednesday’s game against the Spurs when the Wizards went on a late run during garbage time. He also doesn’t do much to get other players on the floor involved as he’s averaging just 8.9 assists per 100 possessions and can be a bit of a ball-stopper at times.

Washington’s front office knows what Sessions brings to the table, as well as what his shortcomings are, yet still opted to sign him off the street when they have already had a player capable of producing similar results in Tim Frazier.

No, Frazier isn’t much of a scoring threat – but the ball doesn’t stick when he is in the ball game. He knows his role is to trigger offensive sets and set guys up when he’s running the second unit. He’s averaging nearly three more assists per 100 possessions than Sessions and does it while posting a significantly lower usage rate.

And defensively for these guys? Well, it’s probably better that we not dive into those numbers for everyone’s sake.

While Sessions and Frazier have different styles, their overall impact on the team is virtually the same, which again begs the question of why the Wizards signed Sessions in the first place. They filled an open roster spot with a player they already have – and who isn’t very effective.

Were the Wizards likely to find a playoff rotation guy on the street or buyout market? No. However, tying up a roster spot with a fourth point guard who isn’t going to see the court come playoff time isn’t ideal either unless their plan with Sessions was solely to just bridge the backup point guard gap while Wall is out.

Guys like Joe Johnson, Ersan Ilyasova, and Marco Belinelli were available on the buyout market, but you never even heard whispers that they might end up in Washington. Perhaps none of them were interested in a role in Washington and certainly, none of those guys would have been the saviors for this squad but they would have added depth at positions where Washington is razor thin. Just look at what happened when Jodie Meeks missed Wednesday’s game with the flu. The team had to play Sessions and Frazier together, despite their shooting flaws, to give Beal and Satoransky some rest.

From a production standpoint, this Sessions acquisition doesn’t make sense. From a personnel standpoint, this acquisition doesn’t make sense. But for the Washington faithful, we can only hope that the return of a healthy John Wall will make the Ramon Sessions vs. Tim Frazier debate a moot point.

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Wizards at Hawks Final Score: Washington combines for a season-high 40 assists to take down Atlanta, 129-104

Six Wizards players scored in double-figures tonight led by Markieff Morris with 23 as Washington takes down the Atlanta Hawks, 129-104. Mike Scott added 19 points off the bench while Otto Porter and Bradley Beal chipped in with 18 each as the short-handed Wizards take care of business in Atlanta without John Wall.

John Wall missed tonight’s game due to soreness in his knee but his replacements provided more than just a spark. Tomas Satoransky knocked down a three-pointer for the game’s first basket and that would be indicative of the night he’d have. Sato ended the game with 11 points (3-3 from three-point range) to go along with seven assists in his first start of the season.

The Wizards were up by more than 20 in the second half but the Hawks were able to trim the lead to 14 to make Washington sweat a bit. But Bradley Beal killed all of that momentum with a nifty dunk to end the third quarter as time was expiring.

Scott Brooks emptied the bench with just under four minutes to play as Washington breaks a two-game losing streak and is able to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.

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Yes, the Hawks defense is bad, but credit the Wizards offense as the ball rarely got stuck and was zipping around the arc getting Washington open shots all night. With John Wall out, it was that much more important that the Wizards get nice efforts from everyone and no better way to do that than making the extra pass and turning down good shots for wide open shots.

40 of Washington’s 49 made field goals (82 percent) were assisted on led by Tim Frazier who had a team-high 14 assists off the bench. Tomas Satoransky, who started in place of John Wall dished out seven dimes and Bradley Beal added five as the Wizards had a season-high 40 assists this evening.

Washington was very unselfish tonight and as a result, they got the easy W.

Markieff Morris steps up

For as long as John Wall is out, Markieff Morris is the guy who quite possibly needs to step up the most. Morris came out like a man on a mission knocking down his first three three-pointers (4-5 for the night) and scored 15 points to go along with five rebounds prior to halftime.

Morris’ usage wasn’t as high in the second half but was extremely efficient knocking down three of his four field goal attempts. The tenacity wasn’t as prevalent on the defensive end in the second half as he didn’t grab a rebound but regardless, the Wizards need this Markieff Morris to show up on a nightly.

Wiz go hot from three-point range

Not only were the Wizards whizzing the ball around the arc, but they were knocking down their three-point shots when they got those open looks. Washington shot an impressive 18-32 (56 percent) from three-point range that enabled them to get out to an early lead and take control of this game early on.

In addition to Morris’ hot shooting from range, Tomas Satoransky knocked down a career-high three three-pointers (3-3) while Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, and Bradley Beal added two three-pointers apiece.

Tip Ins

  • The Wizards have struggled from the free-throw line in the past but were 13-14 from the charity stripe tonight.
  • The Wizards improved to 6-6 this season in games where John Wall doesn’t play.
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. threw down this nasty dunk on John Collins’ head

TWEET

Up Next

No time to rest as the Wizards take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, this time at the Capital One Arena.

Ranking who needs to step up the most in John Wall’s absence

News surfaced this weekend that after receiving injections to reduce swelling in his knee, John Wall would be sidelined for two weeks. Unfortunately for Washington, these small nicks and bruises often tend to linger longer than the initial diagnosis. The Wizards have already had a bumpy start to the season and with a tough schedule looming, there couldn’t have been a more inopportune time for the injury bug to rear its ugly head.

Here’s a ranking of the Wizards who need to step up if Washington is going to come out of this stretch with minimal wounds.

1. Scott Brooks

As mentioned by Ben Mehic, the honeymoon is over for Brooks. And if he wants to recreate an optimistic buzz around this team and its fanbase, here’s his chance.

Many thought Brooks was a not-so-creative inside the box hiring during the Summer of 2016. We’re only at the quarter pole of the season but his rotations still make you scratch your head, sometimes doesn’t make in-game adjustments fast enough, the team easily loses focus, and it looks like it may have spread to the rest of the coaching staff.

If Wall truly only misses two weeks of play, that means he’ll miss games against Portland (Loss), at Minnesota (Win), at Philadelphia, Detroit, and another early season west coast road trip at Utah, Portland, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Clippers. On paper, that looks like a 3-5 or a 2-6 stretch.

Hopefully, Brooks will be able to push the right buttons like he did in Tuesday’s win, going with some unusual lineups down the stretch that got the job done.

2. Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal has been the best player for the Wizards so far this season and if Washington is going right the ship while Wall is out, they are going to need Beal to continue playing like an All-Star. Bradley Beal is averaging 24.7 points in games where Wall has been sidelined this year while knocking down 46.4 percent of his shots in those contests.

The sharp-shooter, who adds a little more to his offensive arsenal every year, is currently posting a usage of 28.7 percent, putting him in the 96th percentile of the league, per cleaningtheglass.com. With John Wall out, and Beal finding the ball more in his hands more often, there’s no reason to think that that number will drop.

Scott Brooks has toyed with Beal being the primary ball handler on the court. Although it’s a very small sample size, it doesn’t feel (nor look) natural when Beal is bringing the ball up the floor to trigger the offense. However, he’s excelled as the secondary handler, specifically, when running the pick-and-roll with Gortat or the rapport they’ve built in the two-man game.

With Wall out, Beal will not be lacking scoring opportunities and will be able to showcase his ability to be ‘the guy’ for this team. It’s not so much that he needs to step up, but rather, continue playing at an All-Star level for the Wizards to stay afloat during this stretch.

3. Otto Porter

Like Beal, Porter is putting up the best numbers of his career and has a huge opportunity to showcase to the national media that he was worthy of that big deal this offseason and maybe, just maybe, work his way into All-Star talks.

Even though Porter is posting career-highs in points, rebounds, steals, two-point shooting percentage, and three-point shooting percentage (let me catch my breath), his usage rate is just 16.1 percent; putting him in just the 53rd percentile in the league. That’s unacceptable for a player as efficient as Porter.

Scott Brooks is often criticized for running next to no plays for Porter but if the Wizards don’t want to fall behind in the surprisingly improved Eastern Conference, that has to change. Specifically, Porter has to be more assertive and aggressive when his number is called. The only criticism of Porter so far this year is that he still sometimes disappears during games. That can’t happen for one of the Wizards’ most efficient players.

As one of the best and most efficient players on this team, it’s time for Porter to start being a bit more selfish and take matters into his own hands, as we saw late in Tuesday’s win over the Timberwolves.

4. Tim Frazier

Frazier has been fairly underwhelming through the first quarter of the season. However, with the increased playing time about to come his way, he can change all that.

So far, Frazier seems content in trying to get others involved but is very reluctant to shoot the ball. Frazier is averaging just 7.5 points per 36 minutes on a putrid 38.2 percent shooting.

Should Frazier start jacking up shots to make the defense respect him more? Not at all. However, he does need to look for his shot just a little bit more as teams are lagging off, begging him to shoot. On a positive, Frazier is shooting a career-high 92.3 percent from the foul line. The only issue is, he doesn’t get there that often evidenced by his 0.7 attempts per game or 1.4 attempts per 36 minutes.

If Frazier could watch the tape on Ramon Sessions while he was here in Washington, and mimic his aggressiveness, that would pay dividends for the backup point guard. He’s very solid at setting his teammates up, he now just has to take advantage of these extended minutes to make himself more of a threat and open up things for his teammates.

It’s not going to be easy to replace the All-Star production of John Wall, however, if the Wizards are going to stay competitive during this tough upcoming stretch, it all comes back to these guys stepping up.

Wizards vs. Pistons final score: Washington holds off late Detroit charge for 115-111 win

Otto Porter led Washington with 28 points as the Wizards held off a late surge from Pistons to win 115-111 on Friday night.

Washington led by as many as 15 points at the 10:15 mark of the fourth quarter. But the Pistons regained the lead 104-102 with less than five minutes to go in the game after an extended 21-4 run.

Both teams struggled with sloppy play in the closing minutes, but John Wall knocked down two free-throws with one second left to ice the game as the Wizards would hang on for the win at home.

It wasn’t pretty, but Washington is now 2-0 on this young season.

Takeaways

Otto Porter has a huge first half

Porter turned in one of the best halves of his career with 20 points on 9-13 shooting in the first half. He did most of his scoring in the midrange, slashing to the hole, and was the beneficiary of passes from Wall and Tim Frazier which led to easy dunks.

But it wasn’t just on the offensive end. To no one’s surprise, Porter was engaged on the defensive end (a rarity among Washington players in the first half) and forced three steals.

Many were split on if Porter deserved a max deal this offseason. Performances like this one show why he’s worth it.

Washington has a big third quarter but can’t pull away

Washington outscored the Pistons 33-16 in the third quarter including going 5-6 from three-point range. After a fairly quiet first half, both John Wall and Bradley Beal were able to get going offensively as the duo combined for 18 points in the period. The Wizards picked things up defensively and outrebounded the Pistons by nine in the quarter as well.

The bench was good enough tonight

The bench teased us a bit in the Philadelphia game but they were only so-so tonight. Kelly Oubre was promoted to a starter with Smith out due to injury which made an already thin bench, that much thinner. The reserves combined for just nine points through the first 24 minutes and were outscored 38 to 22 by their Detroit counterparts for the game.

Tim Frazier was brought in to backup Wall but looks pretty gun shy about his role with the team so far. Frazier is looking to get guys set up which is good but is a non-threat offensively as he rarely even looks at the rim. The Wizards are going to need more from Frazier as the season progresses.

After seeing all-bench lineups struggle against the 76ers on Wednesday night, Brooks always kept at least one starter on the floor tonight.

Oubre stays within himself in starting role

Many were quick to say that Kelly Oubre had ‘arrived’ after a terrific first game of the season against Philly. However, Oubre was mostly a non-factor tonight in his first start of the season, but that’s OK. He played within himself and didn’t force anything that wasn’t there. He made up for it as he was good enough defensively on a night where his shot wasn’t there.

Outside shooting is still quiet

Three-point shooting remains a mystery for this squad. Washington attempted just 14 three-point attempts tonight connecting on only six, with five coming in the third quarter. Keep an eye out for this as the Wizards were shooting threes at a much higher rate last season.

More stuff

John Wall worked on his step-back jumper this offseason. We could tell.

The Wizards opted to wear their red uniforms instead of their home whites. They’ll be doing that more this season now that the NBA allows for more flexibility with how teams use their uniforms. They’ll break them out again on November 3 when the Cavaliers come to town.

Next up: The Wizards kick off a four-game road trip with a game in Denver on Monday at 9 p.m.

The Wizards acquire Tim Frazier in hopes of boosting their bench

The Washington Wizards acquired point guard Time Frazier from the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening in exchange for their second round pick, the 52nd overall. Although Frazier has only been in the league for three seasons, he’s bounced around but has made his mark as a reliable backup point guard.

If you watched the Wizards this year, you know that they desperately need a backup point guard as Trey Burke was a flop, Brandon Jennings didn’t provide much, and Tomas Satoransky has yet to come into his own in the NBA. As a result, John Wall was forced to play heavy minutes during the regular season and in the playoffs.

Frazier comes in hoping to take some of the burdens off of Wall. He isn’t the best shooter but can attack the rim and keeps his teammates involved evidenced by his 5.2 assists in just 23.5 minutes this past season with the Pelicans. He probably won’t leapfrog Satoranksy right away in the pecking order, but will have plenty of opportunities to do so as the season rolls along.

Trade Grade: A-

This trade was a huge win for the Wizards as they acquired a pretty reliable backup point guard for next to nothing. Most second round players never make it to an NBA roster let alone provide a spark for a team. So the fact that the Wizards were able to give up a low-level pick for a reliable player making just $2 million per year makes this trade a big win for the Wizards.

Yes, they won’t have a pick in this upcoming draft, but hopefully, they’ve filled a void that they’ve been searching for, for a very long time.