2011 NBA Draft: Can Jimmer Fredette Be the Next Stephen Curry?

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2011

Even though Jimmer Fredette is getting more and more people to buy into his Player of the Year candidacy, many still doubt he can be successful in the NBA.

I recall a very similar situation just a couple years ago.  Stephen Curry dominated the college game, but faced scores of skeptics on his way into the league.

Curry has proved his doubters wrong.  If Jimmer Fredette is given a legitimate shot from whatever team drafts him, he'll do the same.

Fredette continues to separate himself from everyone else in the "nation's best player debate" with every BYU game.

A couple weeks ago, Jimmer's chief competitor for National Player of the Year was Connecticut's Kemba Walker.  A side by side comparison of their stats shows that those two aren't even close at this point.


Jimmer Fredette27.64.347%41%90%
Kemba Walker23.24.242%34%80%


Most people's first reaction to those numbers is to call out the Mountain West as a weak conference.  While it isn't as good as the Big East that Kemba plays in, the Mountain West is the fourth-ranked conference in the nation right now.

Plus, anyone who has actually watched BYU play, knows that the degree of difficulty on most of Jimmer's shots is as high as that of any player in the NCAA (and that includes Kemba Walker).

Stephen Curry's last year of college was very similar to the season Fredette is having right now.

He played in a smaller conference that had many people saying he couldn't perform as well against the bigger schools.

Curry's averages were slightly higher than Fredette's in points, assists and shot attempts, while Fredette's shooting percentages are a bit higher than Curry's.

Curry was said to be too short to play shooting guard.  The doubters also said he didn't possess the necessary skills to play point guard.

Sound familiar?

NBA scouts and draft experts have been saying the same things about Fredette for months.  Like Curry, Fredette is simply making too much noise to be ignored anymore.

As this year is winding down, Fredette is flying up mock draft boards in the same way Curry did toward the end of his last season in college.

On top of all that, the individual games of these two players are very comparable.

They both have tight handles and see the floor well.  The biggest strength for each of them is an extremely quick and consistent pull-up jump shot.

In 2009, the Golden State Warriors surprised a lot of people by selecting Curry with the seventh overall pick.  No one questions that selection now.

In 2011, don't be surprised if some lottery team takes a similar "chance" on BYU's Jimmer Fredette.  And don't be surprised if things pan out the way they have for Curry.

Ultimately, Fredette's chances for success are tied to the open-mindedness of whoever his coach will be.

In the culture of basketball, we've been led to believe that white American guards are physically incapable of competing in the NBA.

Consequently, elite college players like J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison have had an incredibly difficult time getting on the floor.

Between now and Fredette's NBA debut, many will say he lacks the quickness and athleticism to even be a decent pro.

Again, those of you who have actually watched Fredette play, know he is a lot more athletic than people give him credit for.

His size, game and physical capabilities are already very close to several starting NBA point guards.

He needs an opportunity, but he already has the talent to be not only a good professional basketball player, but an elite one.


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