RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Jimmer Fredette

Posted by nvr1983 on June 13th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Jimmer Fredette

School: BYU

Height/Weight: 6’2/195 lbs.

NBA Position: Point Guard

Projected Draft Range: Mid-First Round

Overview: After spending much of his junior year as a relatively under-the-radar star that only true hoop junkies appreciated, Fredette burst onto the national stage with a series of scintillating performances that turned him into a cult hero  where you could refer to him as just “Jimmer” and everybody would know who you were talking about (ok, maybe his unique name helped with that last part). Fredette’s skills were most evident in a home game against San Diego State where he lit up the Aztecs for 43 points and later in the Mountain West Tournament when he torched New Mexico for 52 points. For all of Fredette’s gifts as a scorer there are major concerns about every other area of his game. The most notable issue is his matador defense that could become a major liability at the next level if he is asked to defend an opposing point guard for any extended period. There are also concerns about his abilities to run a NBA offense against any level of pressure. Because of the stark contrast between certain NBA All-Star level skills (his shooting and scoring abilities) and his D-league skills (defense), Fredette remains one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Can Jimmer make the transition to the NBA?

Will Translate to the NBA: Jimmer appears to fit a very specific role in the NBA in our eyes: a scorer who can come off the bench and score in bunches, or, at the very least, stretch opposing defenses to give his team an ability to attack the rim or feed the post. He will probably play as a point guard, but his primary function will be instant offense and he will probably have to rely on another player to act as the primary initiator of the offense to take some of the load off of him. He will probably struggle on defense unless his team can hide him with a zone defense (or something similar), limiting his minutes, but there are plenty of NBA players who are sub-par defenders that remain in the league and play meaningful minutes so it is easy to imagine Fredette staying in the league for a number of years.

Needs Work: Defense is the clear first issue, but his development will be limited by his relative lack of physical skills (quickness and explosiveness). However, Fredette can work quite a bit on his ball-handling and distribution. He will never be a Steve Nash, but if he can develop those skills he will make defenses respect his overall game on offense and allow him to make use of his world-class shooting. He has shown some acumen in those areas, but they have largely been overshadowed by his scoring prowess. Perhaps he already has these skills, but we will need to see them at the NBA level before we are willing to buy in. Fredette could use some work in pretty much every non-scoring area of his game, but those are probably the two most attainable and most useful areas for him to concentrate.

Comparison Players: Eddie House. The comparison here is pretty obvious. Both were phenomenal scorers in college (people forget that House once scored 61 in a game at Arizona State), but are quite limited in the rest of their games. House is probably the perfect example of what Fredette could be if he never broadens his game. The issue for him in this scenario is that he would become a commodity rather than an integral piece of any team and thus become an easily tradeable asset that would be shipped around the NBA much like House has been. Unfortunately that is what Fredette may become with the way his game is presently built.

Best Case Scenario: Fredette develops some traditional point guard skills, which enables him to play against shorter, less explosive point guards rather than having to try to match up against bigger, stronger shooting guards. He is good enough offensively that his team might be willing to put up with him being pushed around defensively, but it would severely limit his playing time. If Fredette does develop his point guard skills he could become a poor man’s Mark Price (ok, homeless man’s is probably more accurate), which would make him a valuable back-up guard on a very good team or a starting guard on a flawed team.

2014 Projection: Like many players in this draft a lot depends on where he ends up. The most likely scenario is that Jimmer ends up on a team where he is playing 10 minutes a game and providing either large bursts of offense or a lot of zeroes. As a result, Jimmer will probably be struggling to find his place in the NBA and will have to bounce around a few teams before finding his niche. Of course, this could all be rendered meaningless if he ends up on a team that can utilize his skills to an optimal level while minimizing his weaknesses.

Best NBA Fit: In an ideal world, Jimmer could end up in New York playing with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire (and potentially Chris Paul in a few years) where they could all utilize the double teams that they draw to kick the ball out to an open Jimmer or minimize the double teams that those players would inevitably draw. Jimmer would probably thrive in a Mike D’Antoni scheme that loves to fire shots and puts minimal emphasis on defense (see Nash’s two MVP awards). There are other teams where this could also work, but in an ideal world where superstars pass to open sharpshooters this would appear to be a perfect fit for Jimmer.

Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “I like him… he’s a great shooter and scorer… Stephen Curry, Steve Karr, John Paxson — but he’s better than those guys were in college… he’ll make a team and will contribute… work on his defense and he’s got tremendous skills.”

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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2 responses to “RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Jimmer Fredette”

  1. Andrew says:

    While his defense remains to be seen, I think his point guard skills are greatly underestimated here. This year he turned the ball over far more than he had in previous years, in part because he was asked to handle the ball almost without end, but his record at BYU is of a guy who hands out assists on a pretty regular basis and rarely turns the ball over, a major accomplishment given that he has been asked to be the team’s primary scorer over the years. And he’s a far more versatile scorer than just a guy to stretch defenses.

  2. rtmsf says:

    Submitted via email: I think Jimmer has questions marks on defense, but I don’t think it is a forgone conclusion that he won’t be able to play defense in the NBA. Remember that he was purposefully reigned in defensively at BYU so that he could expend all his energy on offense, thereby preserving his shooting legs. I think he will be eventually able to play D much as John Stockton (NBA career steals leader) did for the Jazz. His savy and basketball IQ is off the charts, which will help him as defender in the right scheme. It’s worth noting that he is third all-time in steals at BYU behind Jackson Emery and Danny Ainge.

    People who didn’t watch a lot of his games in college are not fully aware of how much teams (especially MWC teams) got away with — they were literally allowed to try to beat Jimmer to a pulp. As much as Jimmer got to the charity stripe, he should have been there much more often. NBA teams will not be allowed to get away with the kind of muggings he received on a regular basis in college, nor will they be able to play Jimmer as teams in college did. Whoever Fredette plays for will have multiple weapons that he can distribute the ball to. At BYU he was the primary weapon, that won’t be the case in at the next level.

    He does possess solid point guard skills. He can distribute the ball, he can create his own shot, he can penetrate the lane, and he has an uncanny ability of getting whoever is guarding him in foul trouble. He’s not just an outside shooter, he has a much more rounded game he is given credit for. He will also be one of the best locker room guys in the league, which should also help him find a home.

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