Is the Windy City ready for Jimmer?
Jimmer Fredette has officially cleared waivers and will sign with the Bulls, according to a league source.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) March 1, 2014
Fredette became a nationwide phenomenon during his time at BYU, averaging 28.9 points per game in 2010-11 and winning all three major NCAA Player of the Year awards: the AP, John Wooden and James Naismith.
But the collegiate scoring sensation never gained the trust of the coaching staff in Sacramento. He started only seven games in his three NBA seasons, despite the wretched overall state of the team.
After it was announced that the Kings would buy him out, B/R's Adam Fromal posited that Fredette could become a hot commodity on the open market: "Intrigued by his incredible talent from beyond the arc and the untapped nature of his game, plenty of teams will come calling once the buyout is completed."
Indeed, Fredette has shown ample three-point range in limited time this season, shooting 49.3 percent from beyond the arc in only 463 total minutes.
Fredette sounded hopeful as he said goodbye to the Sacramento organization on Twitter:
I wanted to thank the kings fans, coaches, my teammates, and @Vivek for my opportunity in Sacramento. I have made some life long friends— Jimmer Fredette (@jimmerfredette) February 27, 2014
Here and appreciate everyone involved. Excited to start the new phase of my career! Thanks to all again.— Jimmer Fredette (@jimmerfredette) February 27, 2014
Perhaps he is right to feel excited about his future. If anyone can get the best out of Fredette, it's Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Though he is known primarily as a defensive coach, Thibodeau resurrected the careers of journeyman guards Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli during the 2012-13 season. Both players had big moments for the undermanned Bulls in the 2013 playoffs.
Fredette's new potential teammate, Bulls big man Taj Gibson, sounded excited to team up with the guard in Chicago, per ESPN's Marc Stein:
I've seen that [Jimmer's] got talent. It's just that the team that he was on, he never really got a chance to do much because they've got the characters on that team where they don't seem too serious... Playing on strict, good teams kind of brings the best out of a player.
History might be repeating itself in Chicago. Once again, the Bulls are set to make the playoffs despite a slew of injuries. And now Thibodeau has another scorer with untapped potential.
Don't be surprised if the fans in the United Center are chanting for Jimmer in the 2014 postseason.