What’s Next For Jimmer Fredette?
USA Today Sports
The Jimmer Fredette era in Sacramento may only last a few more hours as Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski reported today that the Kings were neary a buyout on the disgruntled 25-year old guard.
Once the buyout is finalized, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft will become a free agent, provided he clears waivers.
I’ll get into potential destinations at the end of this piece but I first want to look at the possibility of him getting picked up and what he can provide.
Fredette came into the NBA with enormous hype after earning consensus honors as college basketball’s 2011 player of the year. During his time at Brigham Young, Fredette scored 2,599 points making him one of the NCAA’s most renowned scorers of all time.
For a number of reasons, he never found his place in Sacramento. He started his career off getting relatively big minutes but has seen his minutes fall every single year to a career-low 11.3 minutes per game this season.
Playing time for a backup guard has been tough to come by in Sacramento especially when the Kings selected Kansas guard Ben McLemore with the 7th overall pick in this summer’s draft. When they declined the 2014-15 option on Fredette, the writing was on the wall. Jimmer became a lameduck member of the Sacramento Kings.
However, Jimmer’s production has actually improved. He’s shooting a career-high 49.3% from three, a far cry from the 36.1% and 41.7% he shot his first two years. It seems Fredette is finally becoming the knockdown shooter most thought he’d be upon entering the NBA.
His shot chart also suggests a player finally figuring out his niche. He’s not a guy who can score all across the floor like he did at BYU but that’s fine, teams don’t need that out of an unathletic 6’2 backup guard.
One of the issues with Fredette’s role with the Kings has been, well, his role. What is he? Is he a backup PG? That initially seemed like a failure but Fredette has seen his AST% and AST/TO ratio rise to a respectable level. His 23.9 AST% is not only a career-high, it’s pretty damn good.
He’s also struggled with a constant fluctuation in minutes in Sacramento as the team fell in and out of favor on what seemed like a game-by-game basis. A 27-minute, career-high 24-point effort against the Knicks was followed with a post-All Star break 4-minute, 3-point showing against Golden State. Non-sense.
The biggest issue with Fredette is his less-than-stellar defense and that’s probably putting it lightly. The Kings allow 2.5 more points per 100 possessions when Fredette is on the floor, which isn’t too bad, but they are one of the NBA’s worst, allowing 108.5 points per 100 possessions. He may not look bad when compared to the ragtag bunch in Sac-Town, but don’t let the Kings fool you, his 111 DRtg is awful.
Now the question becomes: where does Jimmer end up if the buyout is successful and he does clear waivers?
Some have suggested the New York Knicks as a landing spot since Raymond Felton won’t be playing a whole lot more basketball this season, they are in need of a backup guard and Fredette always seemed like a fit with them. I personally don’t see it and think it would be a bad situation to walk into, but hey, it’s the Knicks and maybe Fredette is looking to regain that spotlight he had at BYU.
Fredette could easily supplant Francisco Garcia as the backup SG in Houston and wouldn’t be asked to backup the point on a team with two capable guys running the show in Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverly.
What about the Charlotte Bobcats? They would almost make too much sense, but they just dealt for Gary Neal at the trade deadline and I don’t want to say you can’t play Gary Neal and Jimmer Fredette at the same time, but you can’t play Gary Neal and Jimmer Fredette at the same time. That instantly becomes one of the worst defensive backcourts in the NBA, maybe all-time. Neal makes Fredette look like Tony Allen.
A few members of the Hickory-High staff suggested Chicago as a potential landing spot and as a Bulls fan, I’d like it. He brings another scorer to a team with an NBA-worst scoring output but you have to wonder if Tom Thibodeau can handle his defense. We’ve seen Thibs work wonders on former defensive liabilities like Kyle Korver and Marco Belinelli, could he do it for Jimmer? It’s Thib, so probably.
The best suggestion also came during an email exchange with the Hickory-High crew and that’s Jimmer resurrecting his career as a Billy Hoyle-styled hustler, going up and down the courts of Southern California hustling unsuspecting players for money. The big question here — who becomes his Sidney Deane?
But seriously, I’d put Chicago, Houston and New York at the top of the list. I’d put money on the Knicks because that’s such a Knicks move, but I’d really like to see either Chicago or Houston because I think he fits much better in those systems. Chicago especially could use a scorer to awaken their NBA-worst offense, but what’s their end game? Do they want to spend anymore money for a playoff drive? We’ll find out soon.