I will be honest with you, my intention was to write about why the Sacramento Kings should jettison Jimmer Fredette as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Having done the requisite research, I’ll admit my opinion was unjustly harsh. The Kings should hold on to Jimmer, for another year at least, to see how coach Mike Malone fits him into his system.
I was ready to claim Fredette the Tim Tebow of the NBA. There are many parallels between the two, albeit in different sports. Both were college stars, both are high character guys, and both have struggled at passing. Well that last one was a cheap shot, but you get the point.
Looking beyond the superficial elements of the former Brigham Young University product, you find a player who fell into the wrong leadership, and the wrong coach, to be frank.
At BYU, Jimmer lit up the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He was outstanding at shooting, scoring, and spacing the floor with his shot range. With the Kings the past couple of years, Jimmer has struggled to get on the floor with just 16.2 minutes per game. Whether that was the product of Fredette’s own shortcomings, or some other factor, the answer will come out this season.
I am of the opinion, that Sacramento saw Fredette as the point guard, who could, with his shooting ability, open up the lanes in the paint for guard Tyreke Evans. The mistake the Kings made in their evaluation was that both players preferred the ball in their hands, and didn’t have great movement off the ball. This probably contributed to the lack of playing time that plagued the second year player. With Evans now a former King, the question is, where else can Jimmer fit in?
With the Kings having acquired Greivis Vasquez in the trade for Evans, the Kings appear to be stacked in the back court. Sacramento now has Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, Fredette, Vasquez, John Salmons–to go along with 2013 draft picks Ben Mclemore and Ray McCallum.
Vasquez and Thomas might be ahead of Jimmer at the 1, while Thornton and Mclemore should be ahead at the 2 guard. This leaves Jimmer in a precarious position, but not entirely an impossible one.
I could see Jimmer sliding into the shooting guard slot and Thornton moving to the 3 when the Kings go small.
In fast break situations, a player who can shoot the ball off the dribble also opens up the paint for the bigs. The NBA is moving towards faster transitional basketball that utilizes the perimeter shooters just as much as the athletic paint penetrators. In these situations, Jimmer can be of value with his dribbling ability and shooting acumen.
Essentially, Fredette’s fate rests in the system that Michael Malone employs. The new Kings coach has been known to prefer players who are good defenders. If Fredette develops his perimeter defense, he could help his stock in the eyes of the new management.
Fredette, listed at only 6’2, is limited where he can play on the floor. For that reason, there is a possibility of the Kings trading him to a team that needs outside shooters.
For my money, I would much prefer for the Kings to keep Fredette. With the new coaching staff and new philosophy, the Kings could find a spot and a role for Jimmer to fill. The tremendous upside that the former college star harbors, should buy him more time. Even if it’s one more season.
The Jimmer camp must realize that this could be a make or break year for his budding NBA career. Considering that he is only going into his third year, that is a very unfortunate situation to be in for such a young player.
Tags: Ben McLemore BYU Cougars Greivis Vasquez Isiah Thomas Jimmer Fredette John Salmons Marcus Thornton Mike Malone NBA NBA Free Agency NCAA Tournament Ray Mccallum Sacramento Kings Tim Tebow Tyreke Evans