NBA Draft 2011: What the Experts Are Saying About Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette may not even be selected in the lottery, but he is by far the most talked about prospect in the 2011 NBA Draft class.
Casual observers who've only seen Jimmer play a couple times throw out the token white guy criticisms: He's not quick enough; not athletic enough.
Jimmer supporters staunchly come to his defense with statistics and passionate arguments.
Experts are divided as well.
As we approach draft day, the talk is only going to get more intense.
Here is what has been said so far...
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We'll start by looking at some guys who think Jimmer has no shot to become even a decent player at the next level.
Let me preface this section by saying I do not consider three of these four to be experts on basketball, or any other sport for that matter.
They're simply fans like you and I--they just have a larger audience to spew their opinions to. And yes, I do mean spew; a verb generally attached to things like venom or vomit.
Rick Reilly and Colin Cowherd are two of the most smug, arrogant people in the media today (I actually agree with Cowherd a lot though).
They know Jimmer is still a hot topic right now, and talking or writing about him will bring listeners and readers.
Here are a few of the gems from Rick Reilly's recent piece of journalistic insanity entitled "Jimmer Grows Dimmer."
"I've seen dead people play better defense. At least they occasionally trip people."
"If his last college game is what he's bringing to the NBA, then I'd say, in five years, he's got a really good chance to be your Provo area Isuzu dealer."
"Great kid, though. Polite, smart (good chess player, whiz at Sudoku), studies his Bible in hotel rooms. Maybe that was the problem. Fredette and the largely Mormon BYU Nation should've never been made to come to New Orleans. You can sin just by osmosis here."
"...until he shows more interest in defense than a blind man has in rainbows, he's going to spend most of his NBA life sitting on padded folding chairs."
"...you think this barely 6-2 kid with no speed and YMCA hops can be the next Maravich or Ainge or Westbrook? Fredette about it."
This article was absolutely riddled with glaring holes, but ESPN disabled the comments section so no one could tell Reilly what a bunch of nonsense this is.
In the future Rick, stick to your Tiger Woods redemption stories. Not that those are any better, but at least you fit the profile of someone who might know something about that sport (I assume my stereotyping is in bounds if his are).
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Colin Cowherd says everything as though it is written in stone, 100 percent fact (and he never admits when he's wrong). If Jimmer Fredette turns out to be a solid pro, I can guarantee "Herd" will never revisit this ridiculous two-minute rant.
Here are just a few snippets...
"Finally, the Jimmer was unveiled as 90 percent media creation, 10 percent basketball prodigy."
"No reasonable person can watch Jimmer and Kemba, and tell me Jimmer's in the same league. Laughable."
"The Jimmer and that hype is done!"
"We're looking for stories. If his name was Jim Fredette, James Fredette, but it's Jimmer... He's got a Tebow quality. It's the 50s baby, and we just fell for it."
"That guy, trust me, is coming to an NBA bench near you."
"If Allen Iverson gave you that night, you'd call him a ball hog. Jimmer gives you that night, and you somehow find a way to call it magical."
By the way, you can color me unreasonable because I think Jimmer Fredette is a better player than Kemba Walker.
As most major writers have been doing in regards to Jimmer, Berger tries to avoid offering his own opinion or analysis.
He spends most of this article relaying quotes from anonymous coaches and GMs.
However, he does sneak this in...
"The problem at the next level for Fredette will be a daunting combination of poor lateral quickness and lack of height for his position."
And concerning the possibility of the Jazz taking Jimmer...
"Only two problems: 1) Can the Jazz afford to spend a lottery pick on a player who may be destined to spend his career coming off the bench? And 2) the expectations in the state where Fredette played college ball will be so astronomical that he'll probably be unable to ever meet them."
Chris Broussard is better known for reporting things that never actually happen than he is for evaluating talent. Still, he had this to say about Jimmer...
"I hope I'm wrong, but I believe Jimmer is going to struggle at the next level. At 6-foot-2, he's too small to play shooting guard, and I'm not sure he has the point guard skills and instincts to be an NBA starter. (Perhaps he could play PG on a team like the Lakers or the Heat, which just needs a shooter at that spot. Perhaps.) Also, no NBA team is going to give him the green light he had at BYU."
"Defensively, he's going to get demolished. He sat back in that zone at BYU, and even then he didn't put forth any effort. He won't be able to guard anybody in the NBA, and that will put his team at a disadvantage."
"At best, he'll be a contributor off the bench."
On the Fence
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These guys won't really come out and say how they personally feel one way or the other.
The reporters or experts in this section basically just tell us that GMs, scouts and coaches are saying this or that.
The players in this section won't give a clear opinion either.
Chad Ford is ESPN's resident NBA draft guru, but he rarely gives his own opinions of prospects.
He organizes his draft boards and prospect rankings based on information he gathers from sources within the league.
He had this to say after BYU lost to Florida...
"Funny how the same folks who say one game or a tournament doesn't matter for draft stock were so quick to get down on Jimmer. Fredette had 30 of BYU's last 42 points in the game. He made a number of incredible shots both at the rim and from the parking lot. In the waning seconds, it felt like Fredette was just a shot away from winning it all for BYU and keeping the legend alive."
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If Pierce is on the fence, he's already swung his legs over the top and is scaling down the good side with this quote...
"I love Jimmer Fredette; best player in college. I think he can be a solid pro. He's a really good scorer. I don't know how that translates in the NBA with so many great point guards and athletes but I think he has a high basketball I.Q. and I think he'll have success."
Interestingly, Jimmer often creates space for himself in a manner quite similar to Pierce.
Yahoo! sports has a few writers who are vastly superior to anything you'll find on ESPN, and Wojnarowski is one of them.
He mostly presents the negative side of the argument in this article, but he never definitively says Jimmer will fail.
Here are a couple highlights...
"Conversations with multiple NBA general managers and scouts who’ve tracked Fredette’s progress result in one consensus: Almost no one agrees on anything. Perhaps there’s something about a white guard with American roots which causes such prejudging, stereotyping and skepticism to abound. Perhaps there’s something about a white guard with American roots which causes such rooting interest and overhype. People are forever trying to pin Fredette into a neat little comparative box. Most agree he could top out in the late lottery around 12 or 13 but probably won’t last past the mid-20s."
"It’s funny how Fredette draws comparisons to Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison and Duke’s J.J. Redick. They don’t play so much like him, but they sure are white guys."
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Rose knows Jimmer's great this year, but he won't take a step further and say he'll be good at the next level...
"I saw him play during the summer for the USA team. He's not surprised me with what he's been doing this year. The way he was playing with the USA team, he was playing great. He played with a lot of confidence. You could tell that he wanted to be there and I'm happy for him. He's a great player, especially right now. He's a great scorer. He's leading his team the way he's supposed to."
Aran Smith runs NBADraft.net. On the profile page for Jimmer, Smith gives him a 91 overall rating, ranks him fifth among point guards in this class, and lists a long list of strengths and weaknesses.
He qualifies a lot of the weaknesses with "but" statements. For example...
"Lacks the athleticism to finish at the rim but is creative at finding ways to score on drives using floaters."
"Not a natural point guard but is developing his skills."
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Wade's statement is only slightly less safe than Rose's. He takes a slight step further by saying Jimmer will have an opportunity in the league...
"I've tuned in just like everybody else. You get on the Fredette bandwagon and you want to see how this guy is. He's a great scorer. I think he's now proven himself and put himself in position where he's got a good opportunity to play in this league. He can put the ball in the basket and he's a very good competitor."
Thamel writes for the New York Times. In this article, he recites the same stuff we've heard over and over from everyone, but he also adds some cool quotes from people on BYU's staff.
Concerning defense, this is what BYU assistant Dave Rice said...
"A lot of that is really on us. We expect so much of him on the offensive end. We can’t afford to have him in foul trouble. He’s a much, much better defensive player than he’s given credit for. A lot of that is part of our game plan."
Thamel references a conversation with BYU's strength coach Justin McClure...
"The B.Y.U. strength coach, Justin McClure, said he expected Fredette to test well in the physical drills. He said Fredette has a vertical jump of 36 inches, can bench-press 265 pounds and should be able to lift 185 pounds 9 or 10 times."
He then quotes McClure directly who says...
"I think he surprised people with that. He’s a lot quicker and more agile than people give him credit for."
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And here are comments from people who seem to think he'll be successful at the next level.
Pay attention to how many in this section actually have some real basketball experience (unlike our boys at ESPN, Reilly and Cowherd).
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From one of the most explosive and exciting point guards in the NBA...
"I've seen Jimmer play. He's a great, great, great, great guard. He's taken over college basketball right now, just in the way he has run his team, he's leading his team. I know he's going to do well at the next level. I know just from watching him that he's going to be a great NBA player."
Dan Patrick recently questioned Rick Reilly's ridiculous article and came to the defense of Jimmer Fredette. On his radio show, Patrick said...
"I don't like everyone piling on Jimmer Fredette."
"Some people just seeing their first college game of the year, apparently. And writing columns or what they're gonna say on their radio shows or TV shows."
"Don't blame Jimmer Fredette for being over-covered. Blame yourself, blame your network, blame your magazine, blame your newspaper."
"Did Jimmer Fredette say, 'Hey, notice me?' No... he's the face of college basketball. He didn't ask for it."
"Jimmer Fredette had a bad game... and they took Florida into overtime... What if they had won? Would somebody have written an article that he's overrated?
"If you say he's playing with guys who should be pizza delivery boys, and you take Florida into overtime. Just look at that one statement that Rick Reilly wrote. Rick, just read it, and then tell me. You're making an argument against what you're writing. He's got four pizza delivery guys with him, and he took Florida into overtime. Exactly."
"But now as everybody wants to be contrarion... I'm gonna rip Jimmer Fredette. Then you'll read my column or you'll notice who I am, what I'm saying."
"Get Reilly on the show! Oh, that's right, he can't come on the show."
"See if Reills will come one. I'm gonna ask him 'is that the first time he saw Jimmer Fredette play?"
"It bothers me. These are the voices that we have in sports."
"Reills to write that. I would hope that he would talk to some of these other coaches who have had other stops, who have been around basketball, like Steve Alford or Steve Fisher. Guys who coached against him, Billy Donovan."
Last year, Kevin Durant became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring. He's leading in that category this year as well.
You can easily make the argument that Durant is legitimately the best scorer in the world. For him to say that about Jimmer is high praise indeed.
Givony runs DraftExpress.com. Jimmer was the prospect of the week on that site at the start of February. Here are a few quotes from the accompanying article...
"Fredette's skill level is incredibly high, as evidenced not only by his production, but also the way he gets baskets."
"He creates a huge chunk of his offense (68% according to Synergy Sports Technology) on his own, be it in isolation situations, in transition or in pick-and-roll sets—in that order. He's an excellent ball handler who is capable of dribbling with either hand and is very adept at splitting screens. And he's as shifty as they come, given his ability to play at different speeds."
"Fredette shows excellent quickness, outstanding footwork and incredible creativity with the ball in his hands. He creates space to operate about as well as any guard in college basketball not named Kemba Walker, and he is a more complete scorer than Walker in terms of his offensive polish."
"Fredette's range extends well beyond the NBA 3-point line. Unlike most shooters, however, he's just as effective making off-the-dribble jumpers as he is with his feet set. He elevates high off the ground, squaring his shoulders instantaneously and balancing himself perfectly in mid-air. He's capable of pulling up on a dime from unbelievable distances with his lightning quick release."
"Fredette is much more than just an outside shooter, though. He also gets to the free throw line at a nice rate (7.2 attempts per 40 minutes) and is generally effective scoring inside the arc at the college level. His pull-up jumper translates well to the mid-range area, and he has a very strong frame and outstanding touch, which he uses to finish around the basket, often utilizing the glass in impressive fashion."
And that's only some of the praise from that article.
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This is from the league's best rebounder, who has played with guards like Russell Westbrook and Jonny Flynn who are known for their speed and quickness...
"I love the Jimmer. I think he's a great player. He's the type of player, I think, who can come in and have a good impact at this level. He's a guy I admire. I was mentioning players that play the game extremely hard, and he's one of them. He brings it every night. I think he can make a big impact. A lot of people have compared him to a young Stephen Curry and that's a pretty good comparison. Steph has had a lot of success in this league and he's determined to become a better player. I think with Jimmer, it's the same way."
Dortch writes for NBA.com. In a piece that assesses the finalists for this year's Bob Cousy Award, he had this to say about Jimmer...
"This guy is special. Some might criticize the fact he's a volume shooter, but that's what he had to be for his team to win."
"Fredette is so fun to watch because he's not all about cranking up 30-footers (though he has that kind of range). Fredette gets to the rim with an ankle-breaking crossover dribble and creates separation from defenders with jukes, jabs and jump-stops. Once he arrives at his destination, Fredette can score with either hand. And if he gets fouled, chalk up a couple of points -- he's a 90-percent free-throw shooter."
"But the best thing about Fredette is a quality all great point guards have. He's a leader and a winner."
"His consistency throughout the year in leading our team has been unmatched,' BYU coach Dave Rose said. 'His ability to score the ball is pretty well documented, but his ability to get his team to win games is what I think is the most important part of a point guard's responsibility. We won 19 games outside our building this year, in neutral sites or on the road. His ability to do that in any setting has been terrific."
"Can Fredette find success in the NBA? Certainly, but people a lot more qualified than me to make that determination will need to concur."
"I love him,' said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. 'He's terrific. I've seen the ESPN clips and going by the clips, he's a superstar. The kid's going to be a good NBA player."
Derrick Williams played for the Arizona Wildcats and is a legitimate top pick possibility in almost every 2011 NBA mock draft.
He averaged 19.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. His shooting percentages were ridiculous: 60 percent from the field and 57 percent from three-point range.
Williams' tweet is based on personal experience. Jimmer dropped 49 on Arizona last season.
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Kenny Smith is one of the best basketball analysts on television (Turner Sports puts out a much better brand of basketball coverage than ESPN).
He knows his stuff and recently talked about covering college basketball (as opposed to his regular NBA duties)...
"NBA players are supposed to do things and college players are learning to do things. Kobe Bryant should know how to defend a pick and roll. College players, like Jimmer, they might not know that yet."
"He's going to be a great NBA player. The way you score in the NBA is the way he scores in college basketball, off the pick and roll, off open shots and off the dribble. He does all of those things extremely well."
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This is from the guy that Jimmer may be replacing...
"In the second half, he came alive and took over. He can score so well and shoot so well. You're always going to need scorers but I think his passing is underrated. He has been struggling a little bit shooting. But when things didn't go well with his shot, I thought he passed the ball great."
Because of ESPN and ABC's love affair with our president, many seem to think he's some sort of college basketball expert. This is what he told ESPN's Andy Katz about Jimmer...
"Unbelievable. Best scorer obviously in the country. Great talent."
If it weren't for Blake Griffin, John Wall would be the clear front runner for the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
He has a great handle and fantastic speed and quickness. He's sixth in the NBA in assists per game. Wall has as bright a future as any young guard in the league.
If an outstanding rookie and former top overall pick thinks Jimmer is cold...Jimmer is COLD.
Doug Gottlieb was a great college basketball player, and now hosts his own show on ESPN Radio and appears as a college basketball analyst on several ESPN programs. Here are his thoughts on Jimmer...
"For the record, I think Jimmer Fredette has a very good chance to be a Jeff Hornacek-type of combo guard who will stick in the league. On the other hand, despite an interesting discussion as to whether Fredette's overall game would translate to the NBA, to me it's really about fit. Stephen Curry has excelled in the league with the perfect fit of style to his game."
"Yes, Fredette should make the league. He needs to learn to keep the players he is guarding in front of him better, but his shooting touch, quick release and passing skills should translate to 'that game."
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Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the league. He makes a great point with this comment...
"I love him. He's terrific. I've seen the ESPN clips and going by the clips, he's a superstar. The kid's going to be a good NBA player. We get lost in what kids can't do and we should focus more on the things they can do and try to accent that. He can get his own shot."
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You know Chuck loves the Jimmer, even if he pretends not to be down with that name...
"He's a great player, but he gotta kill that name."
I think you all know who Nelly is.
Jimmer is not only "the truth," according to his rapper brother TJ, he's "Amazing." Nelly should reunite the St. Lunatics and add TJ Fredette to the bunch.
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Steve Kerr is the former general manager of the Phoenix Suns and another one of Turner Sports' excellent NBA analysts. Here's what he had to say about Jimmer...
"I've seen him on film a lot. I love him. There are some legitimate questions about whether he's a one or a two guard. But the guy can flat-out score with deep range, catch and shoot or off the dribble. The deep range with the shot will set up the rest of his game. He's got a really special gift for scoring. A guy like that will always be able to find a place to play. I think he'll be a pro for a long time; it's just a matter of finding the right place. Defensively, he'll struggle. He's going to have to go out there and guard Deron Williams, Rondo, and Derrick Rose but everybody struggles to guard those guys. He's a competitor and he's got a special gift as a player. He's very smart. He'll figure it out."
What I Think
How He Can Ease the Pain for Jazz Fans (written before the Deron Williams trade)