How Much Does Frasor’s Loss Hurt?

I delved into this right went I heard the news and now that I have had 24 hours to think about it I wanted to look at the loss of Bobby Frasor and how it much it will hurt?

First of all, the quantifiable stuff in the form of statistics.  Frasor was playing 16 minutes per game shooting 34% from the field, 30% from three, while averaging 3.8 ppg.  In 12 games he had 25 assists and 10 turnovers which boils down to a 2.5 TO/A ratio.  Now in my mind the shooting stats mean very little.  Frasor had not been shooting the ball particularly well and that was fine, obviously the offense was not suffering.  He was often inserted at either guard slot and mostly played excellent defense as opposed to scoring a ton of points.  The key stats were Frasor is concerned is the fact he puts in 16 minutes per game and when he does play the point he does so without committing turnovers for the most part.  Frasor’s A/TO is better than Ty Lawson’s 2.0 and significantly better than Quentin Thomas’ 1.1.  One way of looking at it is through the first 12 games when Lawson went out and Frasor assumed the point there was a slight improvement when it came to taking care of the basketball.  Now when UNC goes from Lawson to Thomas there is an obvious statistical drop off in the level of play at the point.  The question is how well UNC can weather these situations with Lawson on the bench and Thomas has to be relied on to run the point and play good defense.

Ultimately the loss of Frasor cannot really be quantified beyond the apparent statistical aspects.  The reason being it is difficult to know when Frasor will be missed because such instances with be situational and random.  The expected situations of this type are Lawson resting or Lawson in foul trouble.  The former is something there will be less and less of as the season progresses in the postseason.  In fact I would not be surprised to see Lawson doing 35-36 minutes per game in March but to do that effectively he needs to not do it so much now so his legs are as fresh as possible come tournament time.  The prospect of Lawson in foul trouble is a different animal altogether and might be the more prolific problem should it occur in a key game.  Having Lawson saddled with early fouls and putting UNC in a position to use Thomas for extended periods could put the Heels in a hole that might be tough to climb out of against the wrong team.

On a general level this does hurt the depth and give Roy less flexibility.  That may or may not be a problem.  Looking at other key aspects, Frasor is a team leader and a guy that really makes everyone better just by the attitude and focus he brings.  His defense cannot be underscored enough and it is nice to have a guard that can be brought in to play good defense on an opposing shooter.  This is also the other side of the coin with exchange rate between Lawson and Frasor at point versus Lawson and Thomas.  With Frasor you get solid offensive execution with good defense.  Using Thomas more means a steeper drop off on offense and defense which again could be problematic in the wrong game.  I also think not having Frasor could hurt if UNC needs to run a small lineup for defensive purposes as they did versus Nicholls State.  If UNC faces a team in the Sweet Sixteen that employs three/four guards, not having Frasor as a defensive option in such a game could hurt.  Then again there any number of scenarios where Frasor not being available is going to hurt, one could go mad exploring them all.

Having placed all of that fairly negative speculation on the table let me point out two things: (1) UNC won a national title in 2005 with an irreplaceable point guard who had Quentin Thomas as his sole backup and (2) Quentin Thomas is far more experienced and I think more capable than he was in 2005.  By no means does this strike me as a major disaster despite the number of words I am writing on the subject.  That being said, it is an issue that we will not know is an issue until it is actually happening.  I think the greatest fear is the “1984 NCAA game versus Indiana” scenario where amid a win or go home contest a key player gets taken out by fouls(i.e. Michael Jordan with three fouls in the first half) and it is never compensated for by the personnel on the court.  That is why winning the NCAA Tournament is so dang difficult because one bad game sends you packing.  So I would venture to say that this torn ACL might mean very little for UNC until a the national semifinal when Lawson commits two quick fouls and UNC is forced to play 14 minutes of the first half with Thomas at the point where he fails to play at a level needed to win on that stage.  Of course the Villanova game in 2005 was basically this scenario and UNC found a way to pull it out.

In the final analysis the answer to the above question is no one knows how much this will hurt.  The rotation will work itself out and players will either step up to compensate or not.  It is in a fan’s nature to worry and in a blogger’s nature to probe and speculate on the possibilities.  Basically there is no way of knowing the impact until it actually occurs and if that is the case I would just as soon not worry about it too much.  Or as my great grandfather used to say, “What will be, will be.”


9 Responses to How Much Does Frasor’s Loss Hurt?

  1. nathan says:

    Another outcome of the Frasor injury, THF, is that Will Graves could see more action backing up the wing position. UNC had been playing with a nine man rotation, and with Roy’s love of a deep bench, I can see Graves getting some minutes that actually count in order to keep the other guys fresh. At least as long as Graves proves himself competent.

    But getting back to Q Thomas, I’ve got to say that as sad as I am for Bobby Frasor, the upside is that Thomas, a guy who I’ve always really liked, gets a chance to prove himself. Back in 2004 I randomly worked in the middle school that Thomas attended in Oakland. Even more random, I worked with the science teacher who actually taught the kid. He talked about how good of a kid Thomas was, and how he made it out of a tough environment to become a sterling person.

    I’ve always seen Thomas as a guy with a lot of athletic ability who lacked the confidence to really assert himself, but he’s shown brief flashes like the 2006 Duke game in Cameron (ah what a beautiful memory). Its somehow fitting that the only Carolina senior will have to step up if this team is going to reach its potential. I wouldn’t bet against him.

  2. Howard says:

    Oh, if only I had the faith in Q that Nathan has … But Q has certainly been playing decent ball this year. So I hope Nathan’s faith is backed up by reality. I agree that some other player(s) could very well come forward. Several who have come off the bench late in the game seemed to do quite well. I know it’s late trying to train a “new” guy, but everyone might just be surprised. Sure hope so.
    The comment that “Of course the Villanova game in 2005 was basically this scenario and UNC found a way to pull it out” says a lot. I feel the Heels do a very good job with this kind of scenario and pulling the game out. When faced with a bad situation, they seem to be able to come together and do the job. Surely they will be able to keep that up!!! (you can’t see it, but my fingers are crossed)

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I think QT is capable but he really needs to slow things down and take care of the basketball. It is understood that the offense dials back to a more half court oriented offense with Lawson on the bench. All the subbing PG needs to do is not be a liability on both ends and facilitate getting the ball to the offensive weapons. At this point it is psychological for QT. He has to be smart with the way he plays.

  4. Russell says:

    Bobby Frasor’s Character made him my most favorite teamer (pardon my coining a term).

    Dook, dammit, just got a Humongus Break. As with all opponents who RUN with a small, quick, talented lineup. Nathan’s observation about Graves is hopeful, and QT obviously has to step up to his Opportunity of a LIfetime. But I think this (in the bowling pins sequence of fallout) puts it on Mr. Defense Ginyard to get up and go…consistently.
    Zoomba, My Dear Heels!

  5. William says:

    I think Bobby has some excellent basketball in front of him, as he showed two years ago. However, given that he did not play very much last year due to injuries, the team’s overall make-up may not change too much. I am still hoping he can get a redshirt or be back earlier than expected.

  6. Wayne says:

    I sure hate, for Bobby, the team and UNC fans, that Frasor was injured both last year and this year – especially this year since it’s a more serious injury.

    As far as how much it will hurt the team, I remember injuries to Walter Davis, Phil Ford, Tommy LaGarde, James Worthy – to name a few – that were much more detrimental to the success of the team than Frasor’s injury.

    That being said, Bobby is a great kid & a great competitor and will be sorely missed by this year’s version of the Tar Heels. A good news story would be if Q steps up and surprises everybody, including Ol’ Roy, playing better than anybody ever thought possible.

  7. william says:

    Few remember anymore, but Q. Thomas was excellent during the second half of 2006. Most noteworthy was when Coach K singled him out for his outstanding play during our upset at Cameron, which spoiled Redick’s finale.

  8. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    Re: greatest fear and the Lawson foul trouble scenario — there’s also a valid comparison in our 2000 national semifinal game against Florida, when Cota got whistled for all kinds of ticky-tack fouls (and eventually fouled out) and we just didn’t have anyone capable of running the offense behind him.

  9. […] when Frasor went down I wrote the following about what his loss could mean: I also think not having Frasor could hurt if UNC needs to run a […]

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