Jimmer Fredette will have a top five career from this years draft and be a star in the NBA.
I am certainly not the first to write about Jimmer and his NBA potential – arguments on the topic could fill an entire congressional session. If you are one of the millions who have watched youtube highlight videos of him, you have seen him at his best. His range is incredible, his crossover unstoppable, and he most definitely has the quickest trigger in the west. Against college competition he was able to score at will. He was double and triple teamed every game following his 43 point explosion against an incredibly athletic SDSU. The only thing that slowed down for Jimmer was his shooting percentage, which is understandable when you see what teams would throw at him in an attempt to stop him. But BYU kept winning and Jimmer kept scoring.
He seems to be an unstoppable scoring force when he is on the floor. Will that also be the case in the NBA? Will he be able to create his shots with as much ease against more athletic and lengthy opponents that the NBA will most certainly hold in store for him? Can he be a true point in the NBA and prove he is a capable passer and floor general? To all of the above, my answer is, most definitely, yes.
Jimmer does have some work to do. He will not be an instant star in the NBA, but he does have a solid work ethic and a great learning curve, so the adjustment time won’t take long. Steve Nash, a two-time MVP, had almost the same reviews from NBA scouts that Jimmer is receiving. Things such as his quickness, less than NBA average athleticism, no length, and whether or not he had the ability to compete with other PG’s in the league were the worries of GM’s and scouts alike. And yet, in spite of those worries, Nash has been wildly successful throughout his NBA career, and I have no doubt that Jimmer holds this same potential. I don’t know if that success will be as great as Steve Nash, but Jimmer will perform much better than most expect.
From the beginning, Fredette’s basketball career has been met with a plethora of criticism. Out of high school he was very lightly recruited, with only a few Division I schools showing interest. BYU, however, saw him, gave him a chance, and have never regretted their choice. He helped BYU win their first tournament game in over 19 years with a thrilling double overtime victory over Florida. He led BYU to the round of 16 for the first time since the Danny Ainge era (also done without their number one big man). He was criticized by an ignorant Tre’von Willis, who stated Jimmer was “supposedly the best player in the Mountain West.” Jimmer responded with a 39 point trashing of UNLV at the Thomas and Mack. Willis, who apparently didn’t learn anything from that experience, went on to say that Jimmer was a ball hog and didn’t know how to pass. Jimmer answered that criticism with a 7 assist performance in their next outing with UNLV. (In that same game, he broke the all-time Mountain west scoring record.) Fredette thrives under pressure and criticism and such things push him to work harder than ever.
As a passer, Jimmer is underrated. He was tops for assists with BYU and 3rd in the Mountain West this season. In the tournament this year, Jimmer averaged 6 assists. Of course, his best passing game is when he has collapsed the defense, drawn the second and third defender and dished it to one of his open teammates. But he also has a very creative passing ability. In the round of 32 against Gonzaga, Jimmer had a slick one handed, behind the head pass to Charles Abuou, who had a perfect lane and finish. Against UTEP, Jimmer penetrated and somehow knew Noah Hartstock was slashing to the basket. With perfect timing and precision, Jimmer threw the ball behind his head, without looking, for an incredible assist. At SDSU, when Jimmer had an impressive 25 point and 9 assist performance, he consistently found the open man behind the arc, setting BYU up for an astounding 14-24 team performance from 3 point land. The only thing that limited his assist stat and passing game was the misfortune of having less than average scorers as teammates. His Robin, so to speak, Jackson Emery, was a viable option, but he did have some very poor performances. Other than Emery, Brandon Davies was the only other player on the team who consistently scored in double figures.
Athleticism is a must when playing at the elite NBA level, and there are doubts (valid doubts) about Jimmer’s lateral quickness, vertical, and hustle. His vertical is very average for NBA at 33 inches and he has an average ¾ court sprint. These are definite concerns and worries of all GM’s and hopefully his other skill sets will compensate for his average athleticism. Fredette has explained that athleticism is about how well you control and utilize your body, not necessarily how well you do in the measurable athleticism drills. Also in the eyes of skeptics is his overall defense. It’s been said that the coaching staff asked Jimmer to “take it easy” on defense to help save his energy for the offensive end. Even with that being the case, he was still lacking in effort, and if anything else, that is the biggest threat of him not being a lottery pick.
As the weeks draw nearer to the June 23 NBA draft, Jimmer Fredette will have the opportunity to prove the doubters right or wrong with the numerous team workouts he will have. He will have the opportunity to raise his draft stock, or he will hurt it with his weaknesses brought out and put on display. But with the results of the Indiana and New York workout, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Jimmer will have a top five career in this year’s draft and will be around for a very long time.