Sports Out West

Sacramento Kings: Assessing Jimmer Fredette and his NBA future

jimmer fredette

Time is running out.

Not for the fed shutdown, but Jimmer Fredette’s NBA career.

The BYU legend who was drafted 10th overall in the 2011 draft has been a flop in the association. Fredette never gained the trust of departed head coach Keith Smart and was overshadowed by second-round sensation Isaiah Thomas.

Fredette has a fresh start with coach Mike Malone and his staff, but he again faces a numbers-crunch in the backcourt. Thomas, Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton, Ben McLemore, and Ray McCallum all figure to see minutes at the one or two this season.

Fredette is renowned for his shooting touch, but his struggles in the NBA boil down to his unignorable defensive inconsistencies. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder can’t fight through screens, lacks ideal lateral burst, and is easily overwhelmed when posted up. Last year the league-worst Kings defense surrendered four more points per 100 possessions when Fredette graced the floor, and opposing point guards manufactured a whopping 21.1 Player Efficiency Rating against him.

Making matters worse, Fredette’s competitors at point and shooting guard (his true position) are all offensively skilled, so his long-range scoring is replaceable. His only hope to crack Sacramento’s rotation is by improving his defense. Easier said than done.

The Kings have a 2014-15 team option for Fredette which the team must exercise or decline by October 31. Sacramento will likely turn down his $3 million salary, but the Kings can still re-sign the guard in the offseason at a lower price. Fredette may like a change in scenery, but it’s hard to imagine another club giving the college star more than a non-guaranteed one-year deal.

Fredette remains a project in his third pro campaign, and patience is wearing thin. It’s exciting to watch the former lottery pick generate offense out of thin air, but it’s equally frustrating when he allows more points than he produces. Barring an unforeseen upgrade in defensive awareness, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fredette in a new uniform in 2014-15.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and He also owns the Rui sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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  • george searing

    I watched Jimmer grow up as a close friend of the family, hes a good kid but he jsut does not have what it takes on the NBA level His dad Al said he will end up as a high school coach and have a good life without basketball.

  • george searing

    I watched Jimmer grow up as a close friend of the family, hes a good kid but he jsut does not have what it takes on the NBA level His dad Al said he will end up as a high school coach and have a good life without basketball.

  • tommyO64

    This guy IS ignorant!

  • flyonawall

    Half of basketball is defense. Other poor defenders in sactown such as Aaron Brooks or Isaiah Thomas received many more chances than Jimmer did. The main problem is Cousins is an awful team defender and so point guards always light up the kings because the Kings bigs rarely shut down the lane when an opposing point guard make s a drive. Also Jimmer played with Hayes a lot who is an excellent post defender. Removing the opposing bigs from the offense forces the other team to attack the guards like Jimmer and Thorton even more. When you play with a good defender like Hayes but there is no team defense, you play worse. With team defense, everyone helps each other. The NBA requires team defense now because of the hand checking rules on the perimeter.

    Bottom line, Jimmer started out sucking. His brother publicly embarassed Smart even though Smart wasn’t totally out of line for cutting down on Jimmers time during Jimmer’s first year. After that episode, Jimmer never really got a fair shake. Playing well wouldn’t mean more time, and if Jimmer played d driving someone towards the lane (where help should arrive to block the shot), but the help never arrived, Jimmer would get benched when the other guard made a layup or floater.

    Things Jimmer needs to work on: D, ball handling, scoring at the rim, catching and shooting. He’s already effective in the pick n roll and effective in pull up transition jumpers. Other teams want him, but the kings are trying to package him with Hayes or Salmons who are overpaid. Is Jimmer worth 2-3 million a year, yes if only as on offensive weapon coming off the bench. Is worth 4-5 (how much he would need to be worth to offset Hayes and Salmons crappy contracts), definitely not at this point.

    • DrewNusser

      I agree with everything except that Jimmer was sucking when his minutes got cut. At that point, he had just played 20+ minutes in 4 straight games, and averaged 16.5 points on 60% from downtown during that stretch. Then, all of the sudden, he didn’t get off the bench for 2 games. There was no reason to straight up bench him like Smart did. Everything else you said was spot on though.

      • flyonawall

        I’d look at Tyreke Evans and Cousins stats, and I suspect that will tell you why he got moved to the bench. You must agree his d was terrible then, and his since then improved, but no pointguard can play good d on the kings with Cousins and Thompson leaving the lane wide open for the taking. I mean, shoot, Cousins hates playing d so much this offseason he has been asking for another center so he can play the 4, and not worry about shot blocking any more.

        • DrewNusser

          During that time he was playing more of an off-guard role. If Reke and Cousins weren’t doing as well, it wasn’t because of Jimmer. Thornton doesn’t get blamed when the bigs don’t get enough touches. But yeah, his defense was bad at that point, and like you said, the Kings bigs just made it look that much worse. Still, with how his offense was taking off, he should have at least been a spark scorer off the bench, but he was straight up taken out of the lineup. Crazy.

          • flyonawall

            His handle’s looking way tighter here.


          • DrewNusser

            Nice! That’s the only real weakness he’s had on offense, so hopefully he’s getting more comfortable being the lead ball handler now.

          • flyonawall

            Also he needs to finish at the rim better, and move without the ball better.

            But a lot of that comes with time. Finishing at the rim with guards comes with either a superior vert, or with other players moving without the ball so that if two people come over to block a shot, you can punish them with an easy dish to a big for a dunk. Unless you’re playing with Hayes who probably can’t touch the rim.

  • Truth928

    Somebody has to tell me what
    Fredette has done to have SO many people dislike him and ignore the fact that
    he was ABUSED by his coach and the Sacdemento organization for 2 years.?

    I have watched every game Fredette has played in the NBA and except for a
    couple of lackluster performances he has been very impressive.

    Any dope who repeats “he cant’t play defense, can’t dribble, is too slow
    and can’t create his own shot ” are morons who are idiotically repeating
    dribble that they have heard…

    Video tape does not lie…. Go to
    you tube and watch

    Fredette electrified arenas

    all over the country (albeit for only a quarter or less a game as his

    degenerate coach would immediately bench him) against the Kncks, T wolves,

    Spurs, Celtics, Bucks , Lakers, Sixers, Magic, Bulls, Suns etc…. 10, 12 ,15
    points in a quarter

    with Nash-like assists and dazzling drives around 2 and 3 defenders and deep

    threes…He does it all . A Great penetrator, Great passer and a Great shooter.
    and a team first player it is unbelievable when someone is actually doing
    everything right

    before their eyes and people still dont believe it….
    I saw Fredette Embarass NBA defenders over and over again..Brandon Knight, Derrick Rose, PJ Tucker…No one on the planet can stop him from scoring. NO One. His defense needs work bur he is an average defender who will only get better . Ther is no lack of quickness as he was one of the quickest at the combine two years ago and is only quicker now..

    If Fredette were allowed to

    play most of the game he would avg 25 pts , 7 or 8 assists and his team would

    win….SOMEBODY is gonna figure that out….

    AT one

    point in mid-season Jimmer Fredette was #1 in the NBA in scoring per minute for

    PGs…You think he might have earned a start or 30 minutes of playing

    time…”smart” hit him with some dnps

    Last year,

    Jimmer lit up the Los

    Angeles Lakers for 18

    points in just under 11 minutes. Later in the season, he would drop 14 points

    in just over nine

    incredible minutes

    against the Milwaukee


    In the

    2012-13 season, only four players in the league scored 14 or more points while

    playing less than 12 minutes in a game. Jimmer Fredette was the only player in

    the league to pull

    off the feat twice

    A lot of GM”s are gonna

    kicking themselves when this kid gets unleashed … He will be a GREAT NBA


    • tommyO64

      I agree…

  • BYUfan for freeing Jimmer

    What a bad article, that failed to mention so many facts. I am not even a kings fan, but I could see that Smart and several players on this team were purely jealous of the attention Jimmer received unsolicited from day one. They all were for themselves, and were the most selfish team in the league. I ,honestly, can’t think of another team with more ball hogs and stat stuffers, from all my years of being a fan. It was a mess, and any novice could see that Jimmer did not fit in with these guys or the coach.
    They would rarely pass him the ball, unless it was down to 2 seconds on the shot clock and he ended up hucking up a hard 3. That was not his fault, but he did produce when given an opportunity. Check out the Bucks game for a great example of this, and then see if Smart played him the next game. They man single handedly brought them back in that game and several others, but then would be benched the next game and sometimes quarter.
    Jimmer does need a change of scenery, and the just about the whole state of Utah is praying for the guy to come. (except for the University of Utah fans, they are still bitter from the 52 and 47 he dropped on them his senior year. Not to mention the 40 plus he dropped on them the year before) The man can score at any level, but he has to be given a shot and a team that is not so selfish. Smart was a horrible coach, and you can say that he had an assistant coach or 2, but he is the HEAD COACH. That means that he is the overriding voice in the decision making process, and he has a history of doing this to guards similar to Jimmer. Ask Jeremy Lin or Stephon Curry. He tried to screw up both of those guys’ careers by saying the exact same thing about their defense. Not that either will ever be 1st team all defense team, but their offensive skills overshadow what they lack.
    After watching every single BYU game of Jimmer’s career(some in person), I would put him up against any guy in the league in a shooting contest. He is more than just shooting the long ball, if you watched his college career, you would know that they guy has some handles. His teammates talked about this, and so did Kevin Durrant when he tried to guard him at team USA camp. He is not a point guard, and teams will learn how to compensate for this by going with either a big point that can guard the 2. The Utah Jazz played 2 point guards successfully, for their best seasons with Stockton and Horny. That worked out pretty well because Stockton was a great defensive player(all time steal leader) and Horny was a bad lateral defender due to his knees, but played hard and knew that the players around him would have his back. His three point shooting and killer jumpshot from anywhere on the court made him a huge part of the team and someone they could not lose. His game was not that much different from Jimmers, except that Jimmer is craftier with his layups and crossover. Sacramento has tried to ruin his career, and his teammates did nothing to stop it. You guys should free the guy and let him become the player that he should have become under proper coaching.

    • tommyO64

      The guy doesn’t know any facts! He has to m ake them up!

  • downtownchrisbrown

    I believe of the regular guards Fredette had the higher +/- per minute than the others at Sacramento. Yes the team gave up 4 points per 100 possessions more than they got when he was on the floor, but compare that to when he was on the bench. Do some research

    • Rui Thomas

      I checked and Fredette’s 2012-13 +/- per minute
      (it’s in per-36 form) is only higher than Tyreke Evans’ and a disgruntled, expensive Marcus Thornton’s when comparing the regulars. In 2011-12 when
      Thornton started, he cut down his +/- per-36 by 2.5 points while Jimmer had the
      worst per-36 on the team aside from Terrence Williams. Consider that whenever
      the Kings played Fredette in spot-minutes they assigned him to guard the lesser
      offensive backcourt threat as a means to protect him. Evans and Thornton weren’t
      afforded that luxury. The Kings didn’t think Evans was worth big bucks so perhaps
      they value defense more now. I never said Fredette improving his defense was
      impossible but with the skill set we’ve seen it’s an uphill climb to shake the

      • tommyO64

        Clueless….here we go with the Shrek stats!!
        You miss so much….

      • Spad

        You are CLUELESS!!! Did you ever watch one of his games. You must be a Stevie wonder look alike. Jimmer will be a star point guard one day. He just needs to be on a real team and not a bunch of ball hogs. Rui you are ruined. Anyone that likes tyreke, cousins, Thornton or Thomas’ games knows NOTHING about hoops. You must be smart’s brother!

  • Milt Jones

    How can you be so ignorant? How do you ignore the entire history of Jimmer’s career under Keith Smart, who did everything possible to destroy him. Whenever he was hot Smart benched him. Did you not watch one King’s game or read any one of a thousand posts attesting to these facts? Go watch some youtube highlights of a player who often would score 12 to 15 points in a quarter and then get benched (over and over again) for the rest of the game, or 2 or 3 games thereafter. Yes, patience is running thin with lazy, uninformed writers like you.

    • Rui Thomas

      Half of basketball is defense, something you didn’t mention. You can’t pin all the blame on Smart either because he had an assistant staff which included Bobby Jackson.

      • tommyO64

        Yes he can! IT sucks at D! Is a HUGE liability!