NBA Draft 2011: Jimmer Fredette, No Surprise, Is the No. 1 Media Day Attraction
NBA Draft Media Day 2011 took place yesterday, and Bleacher Report was there reporting on a frenetic event where journalists from across the world scratch and claw for any quotes, sound bites and video clips from future NBA draft picks.
Twelve players appeared at the Westin Times Square, split into two groups of six, for 30-minute shifts early Wednesday afternoon. Here is the Jimmer Fredette recap.
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Where's Jimmer? Beneath a sea of 20 journalists and cameramen at all times. Unless I wanted to body-check numerous levels of people, this was the clearest shot I could get of the Naismith Player of the Year.
While Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker all had their media followings, Jimmer stole the show with his front and center table assignment. He walked a fine line on Media Day, never giving out an endless array of boring clichés but not professing to be as candid as Enes Kanter either.
Inside, Jimmer talks about workouts, Utah, the Knicks, his position and more.
Paul Kasabian is an NBA and New York Knicks Featured Columnist. All quotes were obtained firsthand at NBA Draft Media Day.
Jimmer in Sacramento, Utah or MSG?
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One of the first questions Jimmer received, after a softball question about the frantic atmosphere surrounding his table, was regarding what he's hearing about his positioning in the draft.
"It's really tough to say because of all the trade rumors that are going on right now," Fredette said. "I literally couldn't tell you. I hope I am picked to the right situation as high as I can go. It doesn't matter to me as long as it fits my style of play and the coaching staff is all on board and they like me as a player. ... I have no idea at this point. I'm all over the draft board, so we'll see."
Here's what we do know. According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the Knicks and Kings are very interested. The Knicks won't get him at No. 17 and probably don't have the resources to move up, though Jimmer repeated his interest in playing at the Garden.
"If the [Knicks] want me that badly, then that's great that they're able to try and make moves. You never know until it's a done deal. Mike D'Antoni is a great coach and they'd be a fun team to play for, but we'll see."
The Kings can get him at No. 7 for certain. If he doesn't land in either spot, Fredette may go right in the middle at 12 to Utah. With many BYU fans clamoring for the Jazz to take him there at 12 should he be available, Fredette had this to say in response to a question about whether Utah may feel pressure to take him:
"Maybe a little bit. I think that they're fine. [Utah Jazz general manager and senior vice president] Kevin [O'Connor] has been doing this a long time. He knows what he's doing. I don't think he worries too much about what the fans are thinking, he worries about his team. He knows that winning translates to happy fans, so whoever he thinks is going to be the best fit for his team is how he is going to pick, so we'll see."
Fredette also responded to a question about whether he'd face added pressure playing professionally in Utah:
"I think it would be great. I had just as much pressure this year playing for BYU. It was a crazy media circus. People were expecting 30, 40, 50 points a night. I had to go against defenses double- and triple-teaming me. I think I'll handle the pressure well, so we'll see."
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
No player was criticized more for one thing during the pre-draft process than Jimmer Fredette for his defense. He responded with his take during the workouts yesterday:
"[I just wanted to] show them in these workouts that I'm willing to compete and play as hard as I possibly can at that end of the floor. All of [the teams] said you're actually a lot more athletic than I thought you were, you're a lot quicker, and that was my job."
While at BYU, Jimmer Fredette saved much of his energy for the offensive end. A question was asked regarding his ability to fight over screens on defense in the NBA and scouts' concerns over this:
"I just did whatever they wanted me to do (in workouts)," Fredette said. "Sometimes they wanted me to go over, sometimes they wanted me to go under, sometimes they want you to force it away from the screen. There's different ways to guard it, and I did it all in the workouts, and I did a pretty good job of that."
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Of course, the Kemba Walker-Jimmer Fredette workout at Utah came up in conversation.
"It went well," Fredette said. "He's one of the best guards in the country, very quick, athletic guy, and I wanted to go up against him just because I'm a competitive person that wants to go up against the best guys. I feel like that is when I'm at my best when the pressure is on, playing against the best competition You have to elevate your game, and I feel like I do a good job of that. It was a fun experience to be able to go head to head against him, and I think we both did well."
Along similar lines, Fredette further confirmed that he is a point guard and teams that worked him out see him that way:
"I think mostly a 1. Every once in a while, maybe play off ball. Most of the teams that I play for in the workouts see me as a point guard. That's my position and that's what I want to play."
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jimmer Fredette briefly mentioned who is most looking forward to facing in the NBA.
"The great players, LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant], Derrick Rose. I've already played [Rose] in college, but it'd be fun to play against him in the NBA. It's going to be extremely fun to see those guys in person."
Along those lines, he also compared himself to NBA greats as well. Going to college in Utah, Fredette watched Deron Williams numerous times and gained inspiration from him: Jimmer mentioned that he has "similar attributes" to Deron Williams, noting their similar size and crossover stepback moves.
Furthermore, Fredette mentioned Steve Nash, in terms of their abilities to get into the lane and getting off shots both quickly and at odd angles.
The Future of Jimmer
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Jimmer Fredette mentioned that he thinks he "can score the ball at a high rate in the NBA." Ultimately, this will be one of the biggest storylines in the NBA next season, as Media Day affirmed that Jimmer Mania has not died in the three months that have passed since BYU was kicked out of the Sweet 16.
Fredette is an NBA rock star, and all eyes will be watching whether he lands in New York City, the River City, Salt Lake City or any other city.