2011 NBA Draft: Utah Jazz Should Pass on Brandon Knight and Take Jimmer Fredette

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2011

DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars runs off of the court after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette is the most underrated prospect in this year's draft class and would be a perfect fit for the Utah Jazz for several reasons.

Many people think the Jazz should take former Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight with the third overall pick.  

The team needs to wait until their 12th pick to take a point guard (and hope Jimmer's still available).

For the last several months, countless experts and sports media personalities have questioned Jimmer's ability to play in the NBA because of a "lack of athleticism."

Despite the fact that he plays nothing like J.J. Redick or Adam Morrison, he's been compared to both over and over again.

Fredette has taken the token criticism leveled at white American guards with a great deal of class and maturity. Without ever firing back vocally, he has allowed his game do the talking.

I don't know why people were surprised by the athleticism Jimmer showed at the NBA's pre-draft camp. He showed his elite quickness throughout the regular season by blowing past any defender opposing teams put in front of him.

The pre-draft camp simply applied a number to that ability. Out of the 54 prospects who participated, Norris Cole was the only player who had better lateral quickness measurements than Jimmer. On top of that, his 14 reps on the bench press put him right near the top for guards.

Draft expert Jonathan Givony who runs DraftExpress formulated a scoring system for the pre-draft camp's athletic tests.  

Jimmer ranked 12th—better than Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams, Alec Burks and plenty more.

Combine that with his remarkable production and consistency throughout his senior year at BYU, and it's almost maddening to think that a lot of people have Fredette falling out of the lottery.

At 28.9 points per game, he led the nation in scoring while shooting 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the free-throw line—all while facing every team's best defender and countless double teams.

He's an underrated distributor as well. He averaged 4.3 assists a game with a supporting cast that the media and Big East homers belittled all season long.

If BYU and the Mountain West is so bad, shouldn't we be even more impressed with Jimmer's assist average?

The evidence is pretty clear: This guy is every bit as good as this draft's other point guards, and probably better. It really wouldn't be that big a stretch for Utah to take him at No. 3.

However, if Enes Kanter or Derrick Williams is available there, they would be smart to take either of them. Let the next eight teams foolishly pass on Jimmer and snag him at No. 12.

A young core of Williams/Kanter, Fredette, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors could have this team back in the playoffs in a year or two.

Fredette makes sense for the Jazz in terms of position and talent-level, but perhaps more important than that is the emotional connection countless Utah fans already have with him.

He would instantly be a fan favorite, sell tons of jerseys and put plenty of buns in the seats.

Utah may have lost Jerry Sloan, Deron Williams and a shot at this year's playoffs.  

With Jimmer Fredette on the team, the next chapter in this organization's legacy can be every bit as bright as the last.


More on Jimmer

Would He Receive the Same Criticism if He was Black?

10 Reasons He'll be a Star in the NBA

Rating Every Aspect of his Game 2K11-Style

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