First of all, A GAME! YaYaYaY!
And compared to most exhibition games that turn into a free-for-all, no-defense, dunk contest, this one was pretty good. In case you missed Bryan’s previous posts, Jimmer Fredette put together an exhibition game at his alma mater, BYU, on Thursday night. The game, attended by 11,124 fans, featured a host of soon-to-be NBA rookies, including all three Kings draft picks: Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas.
Fredette and Honeycutt played on the losing team, as Thomas helped his squad to a 138-128 victory. All three Kings showed great flashes of what they will hopefully bring to the Kings.
Some observations from the game…
Jimmer Fredette - Didn’t come away from this game with any huge revelations regarding Jimmer. The thing that stood out to me most was the amount of attention Jimmer demands on the offensive end. Before he even proved his outside shot was on, the defense was constantly sagging on the pick-and-roll, making sure to constantly double him off the dribble. This left his teammates with some open shots; unfortunately, some of those went to Kenneth Faried who isn’t much of a shooter. But when he’s playing with DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson, someone who can shoot will be left open. And that’s fun to think about for Kings fans. Jimmer seemed to find more of a rhythm down the stretch, and you could tell he wanted to bring his team back and try to win. He finished with 27 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Tyler Honeycutt - It took Honeycutt a little while to get involved. In the first half, he seemed to be floating without much purpose. But in the second half, the Kings second-round pick looked like a legitimate prospect. It will take time for him to develop his skills, but the things that impressed me were his athleticism, coordination and general basketball smarts. He showed great awareness on both ends of the court. Looks a bit physically like Kevin Martin and the #23 only added to that comparison. He had one especially sweet play where he read the passing lane, came up with the steal, pushed it up the floor, dished to Fredette who lobbed the alley-oop back to him, and Honeycutt hammered it home. Also made a strong rejection on a layup attempt.
Isaiah Thomas - Thomas stole the show minutes after checking in, and it’s easy to see the 5-foot-8 guard becoming an instant fan favorite in Sacramento. Thomas played strong on the ball and showed great handles. He also gave the fans what they wanted, showing his explosiveness with multiple impressive dunk attempts. Thomas is quick, energetic and he’s got a pretty strong offensive game. How it translates against bigger NBA defenders is another discussion, but he’s got a good base to build on.