2011 NBA Draft: Is BYU's Jimmer Fredette the Next Steve Nash?

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2011 NBA Draft: Is BYU's Jimmer Fredette the Next Steve Nash?
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College Dominance

For those who even casually follow the Mountain West Conference, you know who Jimmer Fredette is.  Brigham Young University's senior point guard averaged 22.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists last season.  He shot 46% from the field, 44% from three-point range, and 89% from the free-throw line.

The region hasn't seen someone that shot the ball this well since Utah State had Jaycee Carroll.

Fredette gained a lot of attention on the national level when he dropped 49 points in a December 28 game against Arizona.  He went 16 for 23 from the field, 9 of 13 from three-point range and 8 for 9 from the free-throw line against the Wildcats.  He also had nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Arizona game was not an aberration of any kind.  Fredette went over 20 points 22 times last season.   Toward the end of the year he scored 45 points against TCU.  He was one of the most consistent and dangerous scorers in the country last year.

For his efforts, he was named to the All-Mountain West Conference First Team and was an Associated Press All-America honorable mention.  He narrowly missed out on the Conference Player of the Year award to New Mexico's Darington Hobson.

Relative anonymity should be a thing of the past for Jimmer.  After his breakout junior season for BYU, he enters his senior year having already received numerous preseason honors, including:

 

 

  • John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50
  • Blue Ribbon All-America Preseason First Team
  • Nation's Top Point Guard - Lindy's and Sporting News
  • Athlon Sports Preseason All-America First Team
  • Sporting News Preseason All-America First Team
  • Dickie V's Preseason All-America First Team
  • Rivals.com All-Senior Team
  • Rivals.com Most Explosive Player

 

The word is out on Jimmer, and people all over the nation are starting to take note of the Cougars' electric guard.

 

NBA Potential

 

One skill that almost always translates well from college to the NBA is pure shooting.  No one can argue that Jimmer Fredette doesn't possess that skill.

The knock against him from many scouts are the same ones leveled at most white, American guards.  Jimmer has been said to lack the athleticism and point guard skills such as passing and dribbling that would allow him to be successful at the next level.

In response to such criticism, I'd like to remind everyone that last year was Jimmer's first as a point guard, and he steadily improved throughout the season.  He's been working on his ball handling and passing over the offseason, which will help him continue to improve.

 

As for the knock on his athleticism, I would say, look at Steve Nash.  If one were to rate the NBA's current point guards based solely on athleticism, Nash would probably be outside the top 20.  But if that same person were to rate all the league's point guards while taking everything into consideration, he'd be crazy to have Nash outside the top five.

Fredette would be wise to study the way Steve Nash plays.  Perhaps he should even try to emulate certain aspects of Nash's game (while still maintaining his own unique basketball style or personality).

 

Prospects

 

Right now, many mock drafts have Fredette going in the late first round in 2011.

He has improved his individual statistics in each season with BYU.  If he can do that again, and show improvements in his ball handling and passing, he may play his way into the lottery.

 

Can He Become the Next Steve Nash?

 

 

This may seem a little crazy to some of you, but let's examine some of the similarities between Fredette and Nash.

 

  • Pure shooting - Both have great form, a quick release and make a high percentage of their shots from all over the floor.
  • Creativity - Obviously, Jimmer's point guard skills are nowhere near the level of Steve Nash.  However, he has shown flashes of great creativity.  He also has a knack for getting to his spot that is reminiscent of the way Nash does it.
  • Size - Nash is 6'3" while Fredette is 6'2".  Fredette looks to have a bit bigger build though, which could help him against stronger NBA point guards.

 

It's also interesting to compare the college statistics of Fredette and Nash.

 

  FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG PPG
Steve Nash at Santa Clara 43% 40% 87% 3.1 4.5 14.9
Jimmer Fredette at BYU 46% 40% 87% 2.5 3.5 15.0

 

Nash was better in rebounds and assists, but Fredette has one more year to pull those averages up a bit.  His career marks for points, rebounds and assists will all be a bit higher after his senior year.

 

 

Teams That May Draft Him

 

  • Dallas Mavericks - There's no getting around it, Jason Kidd is getting old.  Rodrigue Beaubois has a ton of talent, but is more of a scorer than a true point guard.  Dallas was one of the most exciting teams in the league when they had Steve Nash. Since he left it hasn't been the same.  Fredette could bring some of that excitement back.

 

  • Denver Nuggets - This is another team with an aging point guard.  Ty Lawson could use a competent backup once he takes over the point guard duties.  If the Nuggets go into full rebuilding mode and trade Melo, Billups and J.R. Smith, they could actually draft Fredette and start him in the back court with Ty Lawson.

 

  • Los Angeles Clippers - Baron Davis is not the answer at point guard for the Clips.  He's getting old, and what's worse, he looks completely unmotivated.  Fredette and Griffin could be a solid, young duo to build around.

 

  • New York Knicks - Fredette is from New York, and we all know how much Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni loved Steve Nash.  If Felton doesn't meet expectations, and they whiff on Chris Paul, drafting Fredette would be a good "plan C."

 

Jimmer Fredette has a great deal of ability.  If he dedicates himself to being great, he very well could be.  It'll be fun to watch him this year, and see how far his stock rises.

 

More on the Mountain West

Marcus Bailey Could Return Wyoming Cowboys Basketball to Respectability

2011 NBA Draft: Kevin Durant Calls Jimmer Fredette the Best Scorer in the World

Jimmer Fredette: Breaking Down Celebrity Tweets on BYU's Superstar Point Guard

2011 NBA Draft: Jimmer Fredette of BYU May Be The Best Point Guard in the NCAA

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