It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a player come into the NBA with the fan fare of Jimmer Fredette, especially one that wasn’t a top two draft pick. Needless to say, Jimmer Fredette was set up for failure before the NBA season ever tipped off. Unfortunately for him and King fans, it only got worse from there thanks to things outside of his control. First, Fredette missed out on some significant pre-season training thanks in part to the lockout, causing the BYU product to miss out not only on Summer League but an extended camp. In addition to that, the early coaching change was one of the last things needed for a rookie looking for some type of stability. Combine all of that with the grinds of a normal NBA season, let alone one that’s condensed where off days are more rare than game nights, it’s not the ideal situation for any rookie to come into, especially one where eyes are continually fixated.
Fredette’s season got off to a rocky start as the former Cougar struggled with his shooting, just maintaining a 36% clip through the seasons first month while his assist and turnover numbers shaded each other. Possibly even worse than the poor shooting though was Fredette’s defense, which at season start, was some of the worst I’d ever seen. It wasn’t that Jimmer didn’t put forth an effort, he most certainly did, but he was completely overwhelmed. He had absolutely no idea of where to be on the court or how to position his feet. He’d gamble, he’d get baited by the offense, he simply was nothing short of terrible. In reality, it’s difficult to blame him given his role at BYU didn’t require any type of defense to be played, but it was a big learning curve for the gunner.
Thankfully as the season progressed, so did the young rookies game, on both sides of the court. Don’t get me wrong, Fredette still has a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball as his defense is still cringe worthy, but it’s improved from the seasons early stages. While he still continually gets lost, you can see where he’s figured some things out and for a young player, that’s all you ask – a willingness to learn. Offensively, while Fredette did improve his shooting percentages as the season grew on, they still weren’t at respectable levels for a player with his talent. That said, there was improvement from a basketball IQ standpoint. No longer would Fredette pull up infront of a defender, but rather, he’d pump fake his way by the defender. The monumental problem of jump-passing, something he was addicted to doing in the early stages of the year dropped off dramatically, resulting in his turnovers going from 2.3 a game in the seasons first month to less then one in the seasons final two months. Fredette’s court vision also improved, both from the eye test and statistically as Jimmer nearly averaged a 2/1 assist to turnover ratio from Feburary to March.
For somebody who dealt with such a public eye on him, expectations at extremes (be it good or bad), Jimmer Fredette‘s rookie season wasn’t one I’d be very envious of. And although his numbers weren’t exactly polished, watching him all season long, you could see the progression in his game mature from December to March. It wasn’t a good season, but it wasn’t a bad season. One might say that’s average. Fredette still has a lot to learn, but he’s willing to do so, and that’s all you want from your young talent.
Season Grade: C