Watching Jimmer Fredette last year, you noticed a recurring theme – extreme passiveness. While there were moments when Fredette showed flashes of what made him so great at BYU, for the most part, the season was filled with the former Cougar star walking on eggshells, not wanting to step on the toes of established players like DeMarcus Cousins or Tyreke Evans.
The unselfish play resulted in a poor rookie season for Fredette – one where Kings head coach Keith Smart pleaded for the former collegiate gunner to do what he does best – shoot. Sadly, it never materialized until the seasons final month when Fredette finally started to play a little more like the Jimmer we grew accustom to watching, averaging over 9 shots a game in 20 minutes.
While the percentages weren’t great, it was clear that the Kings’ rookie was starting to become a bit more comfortable, both with his role and his understanding of the NBA game. No longer was Fredette picking up his dribble, getting stuck on the perimeter as he was frequently doing at the start of the season. The elusive head fakes that caused traveling calls in December and January were now effective, resulting in defenders getting stuck in the air – Fredette gliding past them, sticking the jumper. Perfect it was not, but growth it was. And now, seeing how effective he can be playing that game, Jimmer realizes if he’s going to succeed in the NBA, he has to do the one thing everybody has tried to tell him – shoot:
“We haven’t necessarily seen [what I can do]. It’s going to just be my scoring mentality. I think that’s what it’s going to be like. It’s going to be me going out there and being aggressive and shooting the basketball and being fearless. That’s something that I’ve always done, and that’s going to be my niche in this league.”
Good on you, Jimmer. Here’s to a much more successful sophomore campaign.