Ah, Jimmer Fredette. It’s almost taboo to say something negative about the guy, but I’m not going to do that – so keep the hate mail in check, for now.
I like Jimmer. I really do. I’m glad the Kings drafted him and think he’ll be a fine player in the NBA. He’s already a solid role player, which says a lot considering outside of a handful, most rookies are really ready for NBA life.
But despite the fireworks and parades, what we’ve seen from Jimmer the last two nights has been sub-par to what we know Jimmer can do, – not that it’s any fault of his own.
First, let’s start with the most polished part of teh Jimmer’s game, which is offense. Given the Kings current roster and the weapons they have on it, Jimmer’s already in a position to be an offensive juggernaut. The only thing holding Jimmer back is himself. We’ve seen the tools and skill set – the ability to hit the shots he can (and has) in the past two games is a rare breed for any NBA player, let alone a rookie. The problem with his offense the past two games is the tentativeness he’s displayed, almost trying to avoid stepping on the shoes of the already established “leaders” and “stars”. Do I blame him? Hardly. Say what you will, you just don’t see rookies come in and demand the ball or fire up shots without some type of repercussion, be it in the media or the locker room. But then again, most NBA rookies don’t have the unique scoring abilities Fredette possesses – and the Kings need that from him.
The other problem with Fredette in the past two games is the defense, which has just been nothing short of terrible. Fredette certainly gives effort and tries on the defensive end, which already endears himself in my book – but he’s lost. Multiple times in both games Jimmer was disoriented on the defensive end, be it not running back to prevent a fast break or misunderstanding rotations, resulting in an easy score or a domino effect on the defense.
The lack of an extended training camp, no Summer League and extremely limited practice time in the shortened season has hampered Fredette’s ability to learn on the fly, and while it’s certainly not his fault in any sense (again, he tries) – it’s hurting the Kings in the short term. Small sample size, you say? Yes, very much so – and in due time, I expect Jimmer to become more comfortable with his role on the team which will allow him to be more assertive on the offensive end, but Paul Westphal needs to make sure that happens soon because Jimmer’s ready for that spotlight at this moment, even if he doesn’t think so.
As far as the defensive end of things, that will come in time. The Kings, glad as I am they missed out, wanted Jamal Crawford for a reason. Not that Crawford is anything special on the defensive end, but he had an above average offensive game that came with the ability to understand NBA level defense – something Jimmer will struggle with for a while.
Am I worried about Jimmer, long term? Not in the least bit. Again, this is no slight to Fredette nor is it diminishing what he has done in the past two games as he’s shown what a special talent he can be in small flashes. This is more of a “be what you are, Jimmer” – and that’s an elite offensive weapon.
Do you, Jimmer, do you.