Jimmermania hath returned this summer, with the one-time BYU superstar once again showcasing his immense potential as a scorer during the Las Vegas NBA summer league.
Summer league isn’t exactly the pros, but Fredette has looked good-to-great in his two games with the Nuggets, even earning a starting nod in his second game, where he went on to pour in 26 points during a massive blowout win for Denver.
That came with Emmanuel Mudiay and most of Denver’s top prospects sitting out, which gave “The Jimmer” a chance to show the Nuggets and the rest of the NBA why he’s still deserving of an NBA contract.
A Bust, So Far
The story of Fredette is a polarizing one, as he was a legit star at BYU, where he was one of the nation’s top scorers during his last two years of college ball. That elite scoring ability didn’t exactly translate to the pro level, however, as the Sacramento Kings made him the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He enjoyed his best pro days with the Kings, despite never taking over as a full-time starter and failing to top even 19 minutes or eight points per game.
Fredette only flashed high upside as a scorer, but his outside shooting and scoring ability was limited due to his inability to defend, as well as an inconsistent ability to run an offensive effectively. Trapped in the body of a point guard, Fredette is best suited as a combo guard, or better yet a strictly volume scoring shooting guard.
Does Jimmer Belong?
There is certainly a place in the NBA for Fredette, though, as he’s a terrific outside shooter and can be a huge spark for the right team’s second unit. His defensive ability is still a huge red flag, but there is an argument that the offensive outburst he can offer off the bench can off-set that in the right situation.
Is Fredette’s latest explosion in the NBA summer league good enough to get him another NBA gig? It’s tough to say. He dominated the NBA D-League last year and has shown well in every summer league stop to this point, yet so far no team has viewed him as a serious option to help their second unit out. That being said, the tide could be turning for the 27-year old, as he looks sleeker and as focused as ever this summer.
Let’s just say Fredette finally looks the part of an impactful NBA combo guard and that his defense either is a non-issue or it’s even improved. If there is value there, where could Fredette latch on for the 2016-17 NBA season? Likely for one final time, we explore Fredette’s top five potential suitors:
Denver gets the first look, seeing as they were interested enough in him to bring him in for their summer league. That’s where the interest stops, however, as Nuggets head coach Michael Malone – who coached Jimmer for a year in Sac-town – was more than likely just doing him a solid.
Unfortunately, Denver is set at point guard with Emmanuel Mudiay starting and Jameer Nelson backing him up. Rookie Jamal Murray can man the point at times, too, while he and Gary Harris shore things up at the two spot. Fredette has looked good and could provide value, but he simply isn’t needed in Denver.
One interesting fit – but also not so logical – could be Houston, who have a defensive-minded point guard in Patrick Beverley and an in decline backup in Jason Terry. Terry can’t defend anymore, so it’d almost make more sense to cut him loose and bring Jimmer in. In fact, it’d even make some sense to use Bev off the bench in a strict defensive role and see if Fredette can master Mike D’Antoni’s system.
The Rockets are going for all of the offense and none of the defense this year, so why not make their point guard a defensive liability (but offensive threat) in the process? Fredette can run an offense, set up teammates and make open three’s. Hey, if Chris Duhon can look good in this system, who can’t? D’Antoni could see some Steve Nash in Fredette and after a good run in summer league, he could pay him some mind. The off-season addition of Eric Gordon makes this move far less likely, but it’s an interesting thought.
Los Angeles Lakers
This is the first spot that actually makes a good amount of sense. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson are the unquestioned starters at point guard and shooting guard, but from there the Lakers could still shake things up a bit.
The team desperately wants to part ways with Nick Young and an aging Lou Williams may not be ideal for them a anymore, either. Fredette can play both guard spots and would give Luke Walton’s crew a huge scoring presence off the bench. The team would have to move Lou and Swaggy P for it to make sense, but it could be worth considering.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lost a lot of depth last year and could still add to their bench, making a red-hot Jimmer a name to consider. They still have Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford beyond Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, but adding another outside shooting could help their small ball lineups when Redick needs a breather and Crawford slides to the three.
Los Angeles may not need what Fredette has to offer when you look at it on paper, but their bench lacks punch and they can use some extra help to ease the pressure off of their starting five. Fredette could be a steal if they give him the chance.
Golden State Warriors
The top landing spot for Fredette has to be the Dubs, who have some Jimmer fans on the team in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and still need to fill out their bench. Bringing in Kevin Durant has them strapped financially, and they’ve already lost Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa and Brandon Rush.
The Dubs did draft some young guards and still have Ian Clark and Shaun Livingston, but they could want a veteran guard to replace Barbosa and Rush’s shooting. Fredette could be that guy, and given his scoring upside, he could be extremely dangerous in Golden State’s second unit.
Got a better fit for The Jimmer, or simply think his days in the NBA are over? Let us know your take in the comments below!