Jimmer Fredette: 10 Reasons the BYU Point Guard Will Be an NBA Star

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2011

Jimmer Fredette: 10 Reasons the BYU Point Guard Will Be an NBA Star

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    Jimmer Fredette can become a great NBA player.

    That kind of statement can generate quite a response these days.  Jimmer haters everywhere were celebrating Thursday night's loss (even the ones who jumped on his bandwagon after the Gonzaga win).

    They're all pegging one (seemingly) bad performance in the tournament as evidence that he can't play at the next level.

    This slideshow will provide 10 reasons why he does have what it takes to be successful in the NBA...

10: Size

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    Jimmer has a stocky 6'2", 195-pound build.  His size and body are very similar to a younger Deron Williams.

    He's been using his strength and size advantage to overwhelm smaller defenders for the last three years. And contrary to "expert" opinion, he'll often enjoy that same advantage in the NBA.

    He's already bigger than over half the league's starting point guards, and he's only going to get stronger when basketball is his day job.

    Deron Williams, Jason Kidd and other bigger point guards use their strength advantage in a variety of ways.  

    It can make it easier to create space on a jump shot, to hold on to the ball during drives and to finish among big men inside.

    Another benefit has been demonstrated by Fredette countless times this year: the ability to finish a shot or play despite contact from the defense.

    Jimmer's size and strength will come in handy at the next level.  And like I said earlier, he's only going to get stronger.

9: Passing

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    Passing is definitely Jimmer's most underrated skill.

    Throughout the season, he's shown the ability to find open teammates with timely and often creative passes.  Unfortunately, those same teammates were not the most reliable finishers.

    If Jimmer had played on a team with a couple legitimate scoring threats, he could have easily put up two or three assists more than his average of 4.3 a game. 

8: Ball-handling

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    Sure, BYU lost to Florida Thursday, but the stretch of the game when Jimmer looked determined to get to the rim had to be encouraging for some NBA scouts.

    He showed that he has the quickness and ball-handling ability to get to the rim against multiple defenders who are supposed to significantly more athletic (Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Scottie Wilbekin).

    If someone on BYU's coaching staff could have compelled Jimmer to keep attacking, the team would have had a much better shot at winning.

    I compared Fredette to Deron Williams in terms of size and strength earlier, and that comparison can apply to ball-handling as well.

    Jimmer has said himself that he tries to model much of his game after D-Will, and you can see the similarities when he handles the ball (especially when he crosses over to set up a jump shot).

    As with any other ability, his ball-handling will improve at the next level, but he has shown that he has a great foundation for that integral point guard skill.

7: Creativity

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    Fredette has probably been the most creative offensive player in the country this year.

    In every single game the Cougars have played, Jimmer has had to face a defensive scheme that is designed entirely around stopping him.

    With all that attention, he's had to employ a variety of ways to break down defenders and score.

    Everyone knows about the long-range bombs that he's capable of hitting at any moment, but you have to have more than one shot in your repertoire to average 29 points a game.

    He has a great mid-range pull up and floater.  On Thursday he showed that he is a great finisher around the rim as well.

    Another underrated skill for Jimmer is his ability to get to the free-throw line.  That attribute has done wonders for elite NBA scorers like Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin.

6: NBA Teammates

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    As I mentioned in the previous slide, BYU's opponents threw everything they had at Jimmer Fredette.

    The reason they could do that has a lot to do with Jimmer's teammates.  BYU has some solid college players, but none of them played at a level that would relieve some of the pressure Fredette faced.

    No matter what NBA team Jimmer lands on, opposing defenses will not be able to focus all their attention on him.

    He'll get significantly more open looks at the next level.

    Plus, NBA players will be much more reliable finishers than the guys Jimmer has played with over the last few years.  His passing ability will be put to much better use.

5: Coaching

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    Dave Rose should be applauded for the job he did for BYU this year.

    The Cougars finished the season at 30-4, and played much better than most expected them to after they lost forward Brandon Davies to suspension.

    However, basing everything you do on offense around one player can be problematic for several reasons.

    It makes it a lot easier for opposing teams to design their defense, it does nothing for the confidence of everyone not named Jimmer and if that one player is off, the game is over.

    At times, BYU's offense was painfully unimaginative.  Running a pick-and-roll 35 feet from the basket is only going to work so many times.

    Plus, I have to wonder if anybody on the coaching staff had any control over Fredette this year.  

    While I'd almost always be happier with a 25 foot Jimmer bomb than a 10 foot pull-up from Noah Hartsock, there were times when Fredette was undoubtedly out of control.

    In those situations, there seemed to be no effort to reel him back in.

    At the next level, NBA coaching staffs should be more effective in harnessing Jimmer's confidence and passion.

4: Jump Shot

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    This slide shouldn't need anywhere near as long an explanation as the others.

    Anyone who thinks Jimmer's shooting ability won't translate to the NBA has already bought into the anti-hype much of the media is promoting.

    He shot 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the free-throw line.  And we all know his range is nearly limitless.

    As I've already mentioned, he'll get a lot more open looks in the NBA, and it will be fun to see him shooting in that situation.

3: Precedents

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    The biggest criticisms of Jimmer as he heads into the league are all things that cannot be easily quantified.

    They're the same things that experts have said about every white American guard coming into the NBA for the last several years.

    He's not athletic enough.  He has no lateral quickness.  Yada yada yada.

    Steve Nash is a two-time league MVP.  Do you really think he's more athletic than Jimmer Fredette?

2: Attitude

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    Jimmer has two very important intangibles that will help him be a great NBA player: confidence and a great work ethic.

    In terms of confidence, you have to have loads of it to put up and hit the kind of shots Fredette does.

    It was clear from his demeanor on the court that he believed he could score on any defender.  And of course, that's just what he did.

    As for his work ethic, we've heard plenty about it all year, but Jackson Emery's quote following BYU's loss to Florida sums it up well.

    "Jimmer is a terrific player and I know he's going to have a great career professionally because one thing that I admire about Jimmer is the work ethic he has. I know a lot of people have doubted his ability, but Jimmer continues to shut down doubters and continues to work hard."

    Over the next few years, as Jimmer approaches his prime, I'm sure we'll see a lot of improvement in an already fantastic basketball player.

1: Room To Improve

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    So many experts are already saying that Jimmer does not have the ability to become a great, or even a solid NBA player.

    It may be their honest opinion, and that doesn't bother me.  What I have a problem with is people already putting a ceiling on a 22-year-old's abilities.

    Almost every other player who will be selected in the first round of this year's draft will be praised for the amount of potential they have.  For some reason, that word is never uttered in relation to Jimmer.

    He's been the best player in the country all season long, but still has a ton of room to improve.

    His potential is great, and I think his great attitude will help him reach it.