Sacramento Kings: 10 Reasons Drafting Jimmer Fredette Was a Mistake
On the verge of relocating at the end of last season, Sacramento needed a spark. Desperate to keep fans in the seats for another year, the Kings made a draft-day trade for the most exciting player in the draft rather than finding the most logical fit.
In his senior year at BYU, Fredette averaged nearly 30 points per game and dazzled the nation with what seemed like an inability to miss.
What's not to love?
Midway through the season however, the Kings are a Pacific Division-worst 11-22. The spark hasn't ignited yet, and in Sacramento, the Jimmer Fredette fire may never flare up.
It's still too early to call Fredette a bust, but Sacramento's drafting of the BYU guard has been a blunder so far. Read on to find out why.
He Hasn't Produced
Averaging 20 minutes per game, Jimmer Fredette has not shined as expected.
There's a learning curve for rookies, and obviously, time is something to be considered. But Fredette hasn't even come close to expectations.
Thus far, he's averaging eight PPG and a .375 field-goal percentage. He gains some leeway being a rookie, but his numbers are awful.
With only 20 minutes of playing time per game, he has to produce something. Seven shots and two baskets are a waste of an opportunity.
Today, Fredette is garnering comparisons to J.J. Redick, another talented shooter in college whose skills have yet to fully translate to the next level.
Six years into his career, Redick averages 25 minutes per game and 11 PPG. They aren't terrible stats, but they also aren't what they were supposed to be.
Those aren't exciting numbers worth waiting six years for.
He's Even Worse Defensively
The Kings are giving up a league-worst 102 points per game.
While everyone on the roster is trying hard to make buckets, no one is playing defense.
Only three players average more than one steal per game. Only one player, DeMarcus Cousins, averages more than one block per game.
Of all Kings players with more than 400 minutes of playing time this season, Jimmer Fredette has the lowest total offensive rebounds (11), defensive rebounds (23) and blocks (0).
He's small, a guard and typically shoots from the perimeter, so he's not close enough to snag many rebounds. But when the Kings are on defense, Fredette is a non-factor.
They might as well be playing with four.
The Kings Needed a Big Man
In 2011, averaging 99 points per game and ranking 23rd in field-goal percentage, it appeared the Kings needed another shooter. Enter Jimmer Fredette.
Jump ahead to 2012, and looking at the roster, it's clear the Kings desperately need another big man.
Center DeMarcus Cousins is doing an outstanding job so far. Cousins even comes equipped with a respectable jump shot.
But when he needs a spell, or more likely fouls out or gets benched for attitude-related reasons, the Kings don't have a viable backup.
True center Hassan Whiteside has spent two stints in the NBA D-League and was sidelined an entire season by a knee injury.
Forward Jason Thompson has been tasked with protecting inside the paint. While Thompson is a decent shooter, he lacks the strength and skill to efficiently shut down the likes of an Andrew Bynum or Al Jefferson.
Too Many Shooting Guards
The Kings needed a strong, tall presence. Instead, they got another guard.
After obtaining Jimmer Fredette on draft day, the Kings used their 60th pick on yet another guard, choosing Isaiah Thomas.
Not to mention, the Kings already have Tyreke Evans. While Evans is a ball-dominating guard, he hasn't quite developed the skills of a true point guard yet.
In February 2011, before the draft, the Kings also traded for guard Marcus Thornton. Thornton, in his second season and his first with Sacramento, is putting forth an impressive 18-PPG and four-RPG effort.
There was no need to take on yet another project of transitioning a shooting guard into a point guard.
Who Will Teach Jimmer Fredette?
There is no veteran leadership on the Sacramento Kings.
Tyreke Evans is not a leader yet, and Chuck Hayes is probably the closest to being a leader. For those of you outside of Sacramento asking yourselves who Chuck Hayes is, you're not alone.
The absolute best way for rookies to find success in the NBA, besides time and monstrous size, is by working with veterans.
Taking the experience of every player on the roster, the average is three years. The two biggest names on the team in Evans and DeMarcus Cousins have been in the league for three seasons and two seasons, respectively.
It's difficult for Jimmer Fredette, or any player, to emulate teammates who are still developing, too.
Too Many "Me First" Players
Touching on the last point, this Sacramento Kings team is incredibly young. The roster is filled with guys still trying to make a name for themselves and shine in the league.
When everyone on the court wants to be the guy, the team lacks cohesion. When the team lacks cohesion, the team loses.
When the team loses, the fans suffer, the coach gets desperate, and the players get frustrated. No one wins.
Jimmer Fredette was unfortunate to be traded to Sacramento, where he has teammates who are unwilling to spread the ball around.
The Franchise Is Unstable
To say that the mistake of trading for Jimmer Fredette is 100 percent his fault would be unfair.
In fact, much of the blame is on Sacramento's management.
The franchise is in a state of flux. Between constantly rebuilding the roster and the stadium nightmare, the Kings almost packed their bags and headed for greener pastures.
Lucky for fans, the Maloofs, owners of the Sacramento Kings, decided to stick around for at least one more year.
Stadium talks continued, and in the mean time, the team pursued Fredette. The hype built around him created such a buzz, much of Sacramento expected him to be the franchise's savior.
Such massive expectations for a first-year player are unfair. Especially when he arrived to a team with stadium woes and a young core lacking leadership.
Worse for Jimmer, his first head coach in the NBA was fired after seven games. Talk about instability.
His Skills Are a Facade
Obviously, college basketball's Mountain West Conference is no National Basketball Association.
But perhaps Fredette's stats were inflated by a lack of competition in the MWC. A 28-3 record is impressive. A 14-2 record in conference games is equally noteworthy.
But consider that BYU only played three ranked teams: UNLV (25) and San Diego State (4) twice. Outside of those two teams, UCLA, Saint Mary's and Arizona, there were no overwhelming opponents.
BYU and Fredette's stats reaped the benefits of playing teams like TCU, Wyoming, Colorado State, Utah and Air Force twice each.
The team lost in the Conference Championship and in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA D1 Tournament, where it counted.
Maybe fans, scouts and the Sacramento Kings were duped into falling in love with augmented figures.
Jimmer Fredette Is Too One-Dimensional
Jimmer Fredette can shoot very well from the perimeter.
But what else can he do?
He doesn't play defense. He can't rebound. He's not big enough, fast enough or good enough to drive toward the basket.
Knowing all of this makes it that much easier for defenses in the NBA to plan for him.
It's simple: Shut down Jimmer on the outside, and you shut down Jimmer.
There Were Better Options
Power Balance Pavilion is one of the worst arenas in basketball. The Kings were losing money, and ownership threatened to leave.
In the end, the organization decided to give it one more year.
So, why would Sacramento fans want to put up with potential heartbreak two years in a row? Why pay to go see a team likely on the move?
Once again, enter Jimmer Fredette.
Fredette was selected more for marketing than he was for his game. Coming off of a senior collegiate season in which he earned national fame and Player of the Year, no one could possibly get fans more excited.
So, the Kings tickled the fans' fancy and ignored the team's needs. They passed on better options.
Options like Brandon Knight out of Kentucky. The true point guard left the board on the next pick, going to the Detroit Pistons instead. Knight averages 12.8 PPG, 3.5 REB and 3.5 AST.
Even Kawhi Leonard would have fit. Leonard is an athletic small forward who could have contributed on both sides of the ball.
Instead, Sacramento took the best name available. A move that has been an utter mistake for the franchise and a complete disservice to the player.