Jimmer Fredette‘s rookie season has been anything but easy. With a name that carries a 100 pound weight and needs the assistance of an electrician to fix the glimmering lights that surround it, things didn’t start off well for the collegiate prodigy. If it wasn’t the lack of a Summer League, it was the coaching change that happened just a few games into the season. And if it wasn’t that, it was the somewhat unique stylings and love of all things match-up that Keith Smart enjoys to employ, leading to sporadic playing time for Fredette.
The BYU product was initially tentative when on the court – not only unsure of what to do or where to go, but, refusing to play the style of game that made him so popular and deadly in the college ranks. Early in the season, I touched on it – saying Fredette needed to play his game. Was he afraid to step on the toes of the already established Tyreke Evans and/or DeMarcus Cousins? It certainly looked like it – and while we’ll never really know, it seems that Fredette has washed away those fears as the season begins to come to a close.
With only a few games left in the year, Fredette has been playing the best basketball of his young career. Keith Smart has decided that he will give the rookie more floor time in the Kings final contests, which will only benefit he and the Kings in the long-run.
The one time passive and turnover prone Fredette has become a more aggressive gunner – turning early season mistakes into learning experiences. A simple example took part last night as Fredette came down on the break, gave the Mavericks Jason Terry a shoulder fake as if he was going to pull up, causing Terry to leave his feet, allowing Fredette to easily get by. Earlier in the season, Jimmer would’ve more than likely went into the paint, forcing something that wasn’t there – be it a wild shot or a questionable pass. But instead, he pulled up once he cleared Terry and stroked a jumper with his silky smooth release. He didn’t feel the need to pass it – he didn’t feel uncomfortable in any of those said motions – he simply played his game – the game he needs to play to be a successful NBA player.
Fredette, prior to the month of April, hadn’t taken more than 13 shots in any game this season – through six games this month, he’s shot over 13 attempts twice and met the quota on 13 itself once. More than just finding the aggressive scoring mentality, Fredette’s playing a smarter game – averaging a very solid 1.9 assist to turnover ratio – his best of the season outside of a small stretch in February.
Being a bit of an enigma, Fredette is always going to be the topic of controversy, be it good or bad. You’ll always have your haters and you’ll always have your jockers, but there’s no doubt that Jimmer’s season, despite the early struggles is ending on a positive note. With the upcoming Summer League back in action this year, a full season under his belt and improved confidence, 2012-13 should be a solid year for the Kings rookie. The former Cougar certainly has much area to improve upon, but he’s willing to learn and accept that he has weak areas and wants to fix those. For a young player, you can’t ask for much more than that.
I’m excited to see what his future holds.