Jimmer Fredette on Potential NBA Return: 'We'll See What's out There'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2018

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 06:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of Shanghai Bilibili in action during the 2017/2018 CBA League match between Beijing Begcl and Shanghai Bilibili at Beijing Olympic Sports Center on January 6, 2018 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
Fred Lee/Getty Images

Jimmer Fredette said he'll explore a potential return to the NBA after his contract with the Shanghai Sharks in China ends after next season.

On Friday, Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated provided comments from the former BYU standout as he takes part in the 2018 edition of The Basketball Tournament.

"It's just always nice to play in front of American audiences again," Fredette said. "You never know who is watching, but at this point I'm just trying to get better as a player and have fun doing it. I have one year left in China for my contract, but after that I'll be a free agent, and we'll see what's out there."

Fredette was a collegiate sensation for the Cougars. He led the country at 28.9 points per game as a senior during the 2010-11 season and proceeded to get selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, who flipped him in a trade to the Sacramento Kings.

The New York native could never carve out a consistent role across stints with the Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks, though. He averaged 6.0 points and 1.4 assists while shooting 41.2 percent from the field across 235 NBA appearances.

He's enjoyed much more success in the Chinese Basketball Association, where he's earned two straight All-Star Game selections. He was named the league's international MVP for the 2016-17 campaign.

Fredette told Shapiro he's "definitely a better player" than he was when he arrived in China, and he believes the NBA's current perimeter-oriented style of play would suit his game well.

"Things have changed a lot from when I entered the league with three-point shooting now at a real premium as well as guys who can really hit the deep threes and give their superstars space to operate," he said. "There's a lot of transition, a lot of moving the ball, things I excel in, so I think the league has really changed to my favor since I got into the NBA."

Fredette has always been a lethal shooter—he connected on 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts in the NBA despite his other struggles—but whether he can return stateside and make a consistent impact depends on his defensive improvement during his time in China.

The 29-year-old guard posted a -3.8 defensive box plus/minus during his NBA stint, per Basketball Reference.

If he can show he's no longer a major liability at that end of the floor, he could find a niche as an offensive spark plug off the bench in the NBA.