Jimmer Fredette had a huge night on Thursday. The kind of night that made NBA scouts take notice of his time at BYU. When the Sacramento Kings drafted Jimmer, they had high hopes for his development into a sharpshooting point-guard/guard. Through his two seasons, Jimmer has had a hard time adjusting to the NBA. Whether it was the speed of the game, or the general level of talent around him, he just couldn’t seem to find his groove. There were times where the potential that the scouts saw would flash and give everyone hope, then just as fast as it flashed it was gone again. With some stability coming to Sacramento, could Jimmer finally realize his potential, or is there too much standing in front of him?
On Thursday against the Phoenix Suns, Jimmer had one of those nights that made him such an intriguing prospect out of college. Playing for 32 minutes, he racked up: 23 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Pretty impressive numbers even by NBA standards, especially for a guy that doesn’t see a lot of floor time. He scorched the Suns from behind the 3-point line shooting 5/7 for 15 points. His shooting was 9/15 from inside the arc as well. Contributing on the defensive side of the ball as well, Jimmer showed a well-rounded performance. There have been flashes like this over the last two seasons, but unfortunately they seem to be few and far between for the young shooter.
Scheme may have been an issue for Jimmer in the past. Watching him on Thursday, one would think he looked very comfortable in Malone’s defensive-minded game plan. Jimmer moves very well off the pick and can usually drill the shot home off the roll. Mike Malone‘s scheme has a lot more ball movement than we have seen from Sacramento in the last few years, and moving without the ball is imperative. When he’s open, Jimmer has all the confidence in the world to make the shot. He just has to move to get that shot.
Unfortunately for Fredette, he is going to have to compete with two other men for playing time. Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore aren’t going to give up time without a fight, and Jimmer is going to have to string together a few more games like Thursday’s in order to make a serious push for playing time. Thornton has proven all through last year that he is a scorer through-and-through. McLemore is the newest member of the Kings via this year’s draft, so he will be looking to show off his athleticism and scoring ability as well. A position change for Fredette seems to even be out of the question because of the battle at the point-guard slot as well. Jimmer is going to have to really step his game up and push hard if he wants to climb the depth chart for this team.
With his solid play on Thursday, and continuing to grow in Malone’s scheme, there is a chance that Jimmer Fredette could end up living up to the potential that made him a top prospect in college. There are many things standing in front of him that will make it a tough fight, but if he is up to it, Jimmer could end up being a solid rotational player in this new Sacramento Kings regime.