Unlike the days when he dominated in Provo, Jimmer Fredette couldn’t buy a basket in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Fredette and the Sacramento Kings lost 98-91 in overtime to the Utah Jazz as Fredette went 0-5 from the floor, finishing with just two points in 13 minutes after hitting both of his free-throw attempts.
As a collegiate player at BYU, Jimmer Fredette captivated the state of Utah with “Jimmermania.” But in his two seasons in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, Fredette has not been able to rekindle the magic when playing in the Beehive State.
The Jimmer Phenomenon
Jazz-Kings games played in Salt Lake City are about much more than just wins and losses for many Utah fans. With no real rivalry between the two teams, these games are as much about Jimmer as they are about the final score.
Fredette owned the state of Utah and much of the nation during his 2010-2011 senior season at Brigham Young University when he won the Wooden, Naismith and nearly every other national player of the year award.
Many basketball fans throughout the state still care deeply about the success of the scoring machine who left them with so many wonderful memories.
Fredette’s first game in Utah as a member of the Sacramento Kings came in January 2012, and a large contingent of Jazz fans greeted him with a standing ovation during pregame introductions. Late in the game the crowd chanted “We Want Jimmer” before he came back onto the floor.
While Jimmer would eventually score 14 points against the Jazz that night, he also launched an airball with 4.2 seconds left on what would have been a game-tying shot.
Things have only gotten worse for Fredette playing in Utah since then.
The Ugly Numbers: Jimmer Fredette at the Utah Jazz
Tonight's stinker was Jimmer’s fourth professional game in Salt Lake City, and his two-point effort was his worst performance so far. Here are Fredette’s four box scores against the Jazz in games played in Utah:
|Feb 4, 2013||13||2||2||1||0-5||0-3|
|Nov 23, 2012||17||10||0||1||3-7||3-4|
|Mar 30, 2012||16||4||0||0||2-6||0-2|
|Jan 28, 2012||31||14||0||1||5-13||3-5|
In four games against the Jazz in Utah, Fredette is averaging just 6.5 points on 32 percent shooting.
Not exactly the type of homecoming Fredette and his legions of still-adoring BYU fans had hoped for.
Still a Dominant Scorer
Despite Jimmer's struggles on the road against the Jazz, he is still one of the league's highest scoring guards on a per-minute basis.
Fredette's 19.1 points per 36 minutes this season is 13th among all NBA guards (Note: sort data by "PTS Per 36 Minutes" for supporting data), placing him just behind studs like Russell Westbrook (22.4 PTS Per 36) and Stephen Curry (20.1).
Jimmer scores more on a per-36 minute basis than Monta Ellis (18.4), Jrue Holiday (18.2), Damian Lillard (17.2), and Deron Williams (16.7).
Fredette has also been deadly from downtown this year. His 42.6 percent from the three-point line coming into tonight's game is 11th in the NBA this year.
The problem for Fredette is that he plays for a selfish, dysfunctional team in the Kings, where immature players like DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans make for less than ideal teammates.
Additionally, Sacramento is coached by Keith Smart, who seemingly is paid a bonus every time he reconfigures the Kings lineup. Players often have no idea if they are going to play 30 minutes or get a DNP-CD on any given night.
Many Jazz fans tonight were rooting for two things: a Utah victory and for Jimmer Fredette to put on a show, reminding them of the magical time when he dominated at BYU.
They got one of their wishes with a Jazz victory.
But once again, Jimmer Fredette gave his still loyal Utah fans little to cheer about when he returned to play in the state where he once dominated.