Wipe away your tears and put out the torches, New York Knicks fans. It’s time to celebrate.
Jimmer Fredette will soon be freed from the grasp of the Sacramento Kings, thanks to a buyout, and will have the opportunity to choose his next destination. B/R’s Adam Fromal outlined several potential suitors for Fredette’s services, but one skies above all the others.
ESPN’s Marc Stein speculated that Jimmer’s decision won’t revolve solely around winning but picking the best destination to grow—something the Kings seemed staunchly opposed to allowing.
New York’s 2014 campaign has been nothing short of heartbreaking for fans. The Knicks were 21-36 as of February 26, which means they’d have to go 20-5 the rest of the way in order to finish at .500.
There’s nothing NYK can lose by taking a chance on Fredette. And if they are able to ink a deal with the former BYU star, a new world will be opened.
The world…of Jimsanity.
Jeremy Lin potential
Remember what happened the last time New York gave a young, hungry guard a chance to outplay a bunch of scrubs? Jeremy Lin happened.
Before Lin’s legendary explosion, the Knicks’s backcourt consisted of Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby and Baron Davis. And right now, Pablo Prigioni, Toure Murry and Raymond Felton, whose future with the team is currently up in the air due to a recent arrest, are New York’s only point guards.
It’d be crazy for the Knicks to sign Jimmer and expect him to do what Lin did. But it’d be even crazier to ignore the fact that he’s got the potential to do it.
In his senior season at BYU, Fredette was named the Associated Press Player of the Year. He averaged over 28 points a game while shooting nearly 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point land, taking the Cougars to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years (per CBS Sports).
However, his professional career hasn’t been nearly as awesome. After running the point in college, Fredette has since become more of a 2-guard in the NBA. Still, his offensive game towers over that of Prigioni or Murry.
Over the course of three seasons with Sacramento, Jimmer has averaged just seven points in 15 minutes a game.
In New York, he'd get the chance to play on a team desperate for someone not named Carmelo Anthony to step up and inject some life into the city.
Rewarding the fans
People love Jimmer. And if you root for the Knicks, there’s a 99 percent chance that you aren’t exactly infatuated with owner James Dolan or anyone in the front office.
So, what’s the solution to pleasing fans who are understandably unhappy with the direction of the franchise? Sign Fredette when he becomes available.
NYK fans have started a petition to oust Dolan from the owner’s chair, as relayed by CBS Sports’s Matt Moore. While that's a futile effort, if the team continues to spiral downward under Dolan’s ownership, Knicks fans are going to stop endorsing the product. They might even turn to the better operated, fan-friendlier Brooklyn Nets.
Signing Jimmer won’t lead to satisfied fans rocking “I Love Dolan” t-shirts. But it would be a step in the direction for a front office that’s seemingly worlds away from its fanbase.
The 6’2” guard is a native of Glens Falls, New York and played high school AAU ball in the Big Apple. Fredette, along with his older brother, even played on a team that regularly competed against inmates at the Mouth McGregor Correctional Facility.
Al Fredette, Jimmer’s father, seemed excited about the possibility of his son playing close to home, via Christian Red of the New York Daily News:
"Well, it's a lot closer than Sacramento," Al Fredette told the Daily News with a laugh, referring to the distance between the Fredette's Glens Falls, N.Y. home and Madison Square Garden. "I just went out to see him with my other son, and the weather delayed us going out, and then we drove up (to Sacramento) and the weather was a factor for that, so we lost a lot of time overall. It would be great. Every competitive athlete, all they want is a chance to play more, have more minutes, so that's what we're hoping for, and what Jimmer is hoping for.”
Perhaps he isn't the next Lin, and maybe Jimmer falls short of expectations upon his arrival in New York. If nothing else, in a lost season, acquiring Fredette would be a great PR move for the Knicks. Even if all that it did was give fans something to cheer on.
A perfect match
Now, this all seemed like the perfect scenario when it was announced that the Kings were in the process of going through with a buyout.
So what, no Jimmermania? Well actually, there's still a chance.
With the additions of wing/interior players in Clark and Brown, New York can send Cole Aldrich to the D-League in order to make room for Fredette. And per ESPN's Chris Broussard, Clark and Brown are only inking 10-day contracts for now.
While signing Fredette would be a great PR move, it might also be a necessary one. The Knicks could very well be without their starting point guard in the near future.
Felton—in deep trouble as a result of illegal gun charges (broken down by Sports Illustrated)—could soon be suspended by new commissioner Adam Silver, leaving the Knicks alarmingly scarce at the point guard position.
Signing Fredette, a homegrown folk hero with the potential for stardom, is exactly what the Knicks need in a season otherwise filled with nothing but disappointment.
All stats are accurate as of February 26 courtesy of Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.
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