Jimmer Sits out Preseason Debut: Kings Should Free Fredette with a Trade to Utah
The preseason is generally a time when organizations put everyone on the floor. It's a time to see what each player on the roster has to offer—top to bottom.
His stat line for the team's preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors? A "DNP COACHES DECISION." That's "Did Not Play", in case you don't know the acronym as well as Jimmer.
He's seen plenty of them next to his name during his first two seasons in the NBA, years spent in perhaps the worst situation in which he could have possibly started his career.
The No. 10 overall pick in 2011 joined a team with shoot-first (or shoot-only) guards like Marcus Thornton, and the one guy in the organization who seemed to believe in him—head coach Paul Westphal—got canned seven games into Fredette's rookie campaign.
Under Keith Smart, playing time was sporadic for Jimmer, and very few players on the roster had a defined role.
But even with so much inconsistency coming from the top, the former BYU Cougar still managed to knock down 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts and average 18.4 points per 36 minutes last season.
Some thought things might be different this year, with new ownership and a new coach running things. Maybe Mike Malone would find value in what Fredette provides—excellent three-point shooting and solid playmaking ability. Maybe he'd be given a chance to show what he can do with more minutes.
Jimmer couldn't contain his excitement for his 2013-14 debut against the Warriors:
First preseason game tomorrow! Can't believe the season is already here again. Can't wait to get started.— Jimmer Fredette (@jimmerfredette) October 7, 2013
And fans couldn't wait to see him. But then they didn't. Former ESPN analyst Chris Palmer summed up how I initially felt about it:
Jimmer Fredette gets a DNP in a preseason game. Not sure I understand that.— chris palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) October 8, 2013
Then I got to thinking. The Kings might just be done with Jimmer.
If Mike Malone has already made up his mind about Fredette being behind Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas at point guard and Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore at shooting guard, what's the point in keeping him?
Why not move him for a draft pick?
He should definitely have some value in the trade market as a lights-out three-point shooter. Sure, he has his issues on defense, but they're no more glaring then those of Steves Novak, Nash or Blake.
The right coach, system or teammates could help cover Jimmer defensively. The right situation could get his once-promising career on track.
And, in my mind, that situation is in Utah, where he would be exposed to Jerry Sloan and John Stockton.
Utah, where he'd have an opportunity to be on the floor alongside two long wings who can defend and create shots for him, in Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. Where he'd be embraced by a fanbase that already loves him because of his dominance at Provo, Utah's Brigham Young University.
Should the Sacramento Kings trade Jimmer Fredette?
It was dominance that must seem like quite some time ago for Jimmer.
We don't know the details on why he didn't play in this preseason game yet. There might not be any, and this column may be an overreaction. But the writing's been on the wall for a while, and it's time for the Kings to stop pretending like we can't read it.
For Sacramento to give up on Jimmer after two years makes sense—they're an organization in turnover, and one that hasn't made many good decisions over the last few years.
For the entire league to give up on him doesn't.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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