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Sacramento Kings: Assessing Jimmer Fredette and his NBA future
- Updated: September 29, 2013
Time is running out.
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.
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