Former BYU superstar Jimmer Fredette has been impressing several GMs and scouts around the league over the last couple weeks—so much so that teams (specifically the Knicks) now want to move up in the draft to get him.
New York currently holds the 17th overall pick in this June's draft and Fredette will likely be off the board by the time that selection is made. Utah (12), Phoenix (13) and Indiana (15) are all interested in the electrifying point guard.
So if the Knicks want to land him, they'll have to find a way to move up in the draft. The only players on the roster that other teams may be interested in are Toney Douglas and Landry Fields. New York would have to trade either of them and their No. 17 pick to enter the draft's Jimmer range.
According to Newsday's Alan Hahn, that is exactly what the team is working on right now.
If this team can land Jimmer Fredette, they might just have the third star that many people think they need to compete with the Eastern Conference's elite (which obviously includes the Miami Heat, who have their own big-time trio).
Fredette is the best scorer in this year's draft class, but that isn't really what New York needs. Defense and a D'Antoni-style distributor are two things the team has lacked since they hired the former Suns coach.
A lot of people don't think Jimmer can do either of those things (defend or distribute) at the next level. In regards to his potential in those areas, the constant criticism is both unfounded and illogical.
Anyone who actually watched Fredette play in more than a game or two last year knows that his court vision and passing ability are extremely underrated. He's led BYU in assists in each of the last two years. Some have even speculated that he may be the next Steve Nash.
In terms of defense, it's too early to color him incapable or judge Jimmer (Rick Reilly and Colin Cowherd know more about alliteration than they do about basketball so I thought I'd relate to them as I combat their ridiculous anti-Jimmer notions).
Don't get me wrong—I enjoy and respect Cowherd as much as the next guy, but I'm definitely not on board with him on this issue. Those two (Reilly and Cowherd) have been as loud as anyone in saying that Fredette is physically incapable of being a good NBA player.
Jimmer tested much better than most expected at this year's pre-draft camp, and athleticism is what we've been told is the missing variable in his defensive equation.
He's got that, and plenty of it.
He has the potential to develop into a great player, and an exciting one as well. Add him to two of the league's most exciting forwards (Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire), the Knicks become even more intriguing.
Landry Fields and Toney Douglas have shown potential, but either (especially Douglas) is worth giving up if it equates to getting Jimmer Fredette.
You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter @_Andy_Bailey