NBA Draft 2011: 10 Bold Predictions for Jimmer Fredette's Career as a Pro
Jimmer Fredette is garnering more attention than any other prospect in the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft.
Because of this, a production company has already signed him to a reality television deal.
Jimmer's show will answer a lot of questions about his journey into the NBA, but we won't truly know what kind of pro he'll be for at least two or three years.
Steve Nash averaged three points and two assists per game during his rookie year, and look how he turned out.
If Jimmer struggles during his first week in the league, experts will label him a bust and write off any chance he has for future success.
I like to look at prospects with a little more foresight than others. With that in mind, this slideshow will detail 10 bold predictions for Jimmer's entire career--not just his rookie season.
Bear in mind that the title of this slideshow contains the word bold.
Drafted by the Utah Jazz
I have Jimmer going to the Utah Jazz in my latest mock draft.
Since Deron Williams was shipped off to the New Jersey Nets, Utah needs a new point guard (Devin Harris is too injury-prone and just doesn't seem to fit). They need someone the fans can get behind again.
Sounds like Jimmer time to me.
Jimmer Fredette had millions of people in a small frenzy over his fantastic play at BYU. Mormon fans were particularly excited about Fredette (due to the fact that he is a Mormon).
He would be an instant fan favorite for the Jazz, a team in a state whose population is over 50 percent Mormon. He would light a fire under a tired and distraught fanbase.
Jimmer wouldn't just be a gimmick, though. The fans would love him before he ever suited up in a Jazz uniform. And once he stepped out onto the EnergySolutions Arena floor, that love would be warranted.
He averaged 29 points and over four assists per game this year. He shot 45 percent from the field, 40percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the free-throw line.
He's quick, handles the ball well, sees the floor, and he's proven he can create his own shot against teams that were supposed to have superior athletes (UCLA, Arizona, San Diego State and Florida).
His best and most valuable skill is what will help him be an instant impact player in the NBA. Jimmer can already shoot better than most players in the league.
Even if the typical criticisms leveled at white American guards were true (too slow, not athletic enough), Jimmer's shooting would more than make up for those things.
Now that the Utah Jazz have moved on from the Deron Williams era, they should absolutely look to draft Jimmer Fredette to take his position.
Utah rapidly slid out of the playoff picture after they lost Deron Williams and wound up in the late lottery stage of the draft, which is where most mock drafts have Jimmer going right now.
Utah may be in very unfamiliar territory right now. They stand at the precipice of a rebuilding phase, something they never really had to do under Jerry Sloan. Even when they had lackluster players, Sloan found a way to make them competitive.
The current state of the Jazz is shaky, but Jimmer could help stabilize this team. A core of Fredette, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors could be very good in a couple years.
It wouldn't be too long before the fans would be able to move on emotionally from Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan. That would all be thanks to being JIMMERED!
Wins Rookie of the Year
If you're one of the people who gobble up what many of the experts feed us about Jimmer Fredette, you may not like this slide.
Over and over, we hear that Jimmer doesn't have the quickness or general athleticism to compete in the NBA.
Can he create his own shot?
Can he play point guard?
Can he defend anyone at the next level?
These questions and many more are constantly asked about Fredette and I find it hard to believe that anyone asking them has actually watched much BYU action this year.
Many of the same questions were raised a couple years ago about Davidson's Stephen Curry. He responded in fine fashion, and I expect Fredette to do the same.
Although he gets to the rim more than Curry did, he has a game that is very similar to the Warriors' point guard (and a body that is very similar to Deron Williams).
Rather than try to convince you of Fredette's legitimacy through logical arguments (which I've done in several other articles), I thought I'd provide some video evidence that may help you form an opinion of your own.
43 on San Diego State...They were supposed to overwhelm him with athleticism right?
This guy has the talent to average around 15 points and five assists as a rookie in the NBA. The only question is: Can he overcome the stigma that the culture of basketball has applied to white American guards?
If he's on the floor, and getting an opportunity to handle the ball, he'll be extremely productive.
Becomes a 20 Point Per Game Player
It's obvious that leading the nation in scoring as a college player doesn't necessarily lead to being a great scorer in the NBA.
But Fredette already scores like a pro.
He is fantastic off ball screens (one of the most common aspects of NBA offenses), scores outside as well as anyone and finishes inside among bigger defenders.
In the right system, he could easily become a 20 point per game player.
As he gains experience against NBA defenders and becomes more efficient, he should become an elite offensive weapon.
Learns How to Play Defense
The legitimate question mark on Fredette has to do with defense.
I'm not sure if he can guard anyone at the next level, but that's the same thing all the experts said about Steve Nash when he entered the league.
BYU coach Dave Rose allowed Jimmer to stand around at the top of the zone, without ever holding him accountable for playing defense.
In the rare situations when BYU did play man-to-man, he didn't look awful, but he didn't look great either.
In reference to Jimmer's shortcomings as a defender, assistant coach 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."
If a good defensive-minded coach can get a hold of him, he may be able to channel some of the gifts that help him to score toward defense.
He'll probably never be an elite defender, but he can certainly develop into a passable one (again, much like Steve Nash).
Becomes a True Point Guard
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 full-time point guard, and he steadily improved throughout the season.
He averaged 4.3 assists per game as a senior, 4.7 as a junior and 4.1 as a sophomore. That's impressive when you consider the amount of shots his coaches expected him to take.
He still has work to do and has already started working on his ball handling and passing as the draft approaches, which will help him continue to improve.
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).
Selected to All-Star Teams
The NBA is loaded with star point guards these days.
If Jimmer goes to the Jazz (as I've forecasted he will), he'll be battling the likes of Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook for All-Star spots for years.
But considering the fact that the All-Star starters are selected by fan vote, Jimmer could have a leg up on any of his competitors.
His game on the court, and his demeanor off of it make him a very likable star.
On top of that, he could be putting up All-Star caliber numbers three or four years from now.
Becomes a 10 Assist Per Game Player
A lot of people are saying that Jimmer cannot play point.
They say he does not have the athleticism, willingness to pass, court vision or passing ability required to play the position.
I call bogus once again.
Anyone who actually watched BYU play a few times this year witnessed countless great passes from Jimmer. Unfortunately, his teammates often blew the setup.
He displayed great court vision, an unselfish attitude and creativity in the passing game all year long, and led his team in assists at 4.3 a game.
Russell Westbrook averaged 4.3 assists per game during his last year of college. Rajon Rondo averaged 4.9.
The college career averages of Steve Nash, Deron Williams and Chris Paul are not that far ahead of Fredette's when you consider the kind of teammates Jimmer had to pass to.
He played on a team with zero viable scoring options outside of himself--and still managed to average over four assists per game.
In the NBA, he'll always have several teammates that can convert his great passes into assists.
And remember, Steve Nash wasn't a double-figure assists guy until his ninth season in the league.
Wins the MVP Award
You never know...
Before Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant came into the league, not too many people looked at them and said, "Now, there goes a future MVP."
Wins a World Championship
This one may be the least bold of all the predictions on this list.
I mean, Steve Kerr won five NBA Titles.
There is of course the chance that none of the aforementioned predictions come true.
As is the case with most white American players these days, Jimmer will have a hard time cracking any team's rotation for some real minutes in his rookie year.
If he allows that to get him down, and stops working on his game and striving to be the best he can be, he may flame-out Adam Morrison-style.
If he keeps his head up, and works through the difficult first few years, he may come out on top like Steve Nash or J.J. Redick.
There is also the very small chance that he just doesn't have the talent and work ethic required to be successful at the highest level.
Based on what Jimmer's already shown us, I wouldn't bet against him.