Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette's stock rising with every workout
It was quite the unusual experience, to say the least.
Back on May 12 — a day I can't forget because it's my wife's birthday — I took her mother to a dermatologist in Provo. That's not so unusual because my 89-year-old mother-in-law lives in an apartment attached to my house in Orem and I often shuttle her to some of her appointments.
This particular skin doctor, whose name I won't mention, is recognized not only for his professional work, but his outdoor photography, which is prevalent throughout his waiting and examining rooms. To break the ice, I complimented him on his work and that opened the door to a discussion about my profession and sports because I have dabbled in photojournalism.
While he examined my mother-in-law, froze a few items on her face and dug out a piece of skin on her elbow for a biopsy, he asked where I thought Jimmer Fredette would be taken in the NBA Draft.
This began an explosive conversation. He assured my mother-in-law he could maintain balance and work on her at the same time.
It was entertaining, but not for my mother-in-law. However, being a big sports fan I think she enjoyed the duality of the moment while lying on her back under bright examination lights.
I told the doctor most mock drafts had Fredette going anywhere from the 12th to 20th pick in the first round, and that it would be surprising to many experts if he went earlier than that.
The doctor, a graduate of the University of Utah School of Medicine, paused for half a minute. His eyebrows elevated, and he became animated and excited.
"Well, the Jazz should take him," he said. "He's incredible, just an awesome player. I hope the Jazz pick Jimmer. If they do, I'm buying season tickets. I'll pay for seats close to the floor and I won't miss a game."
This specialist's opinion is representative of a growing number of Jazz fans, but certainly not all.
A case could be made for and against Jimmer becoming a Jazzman. They could use the outside scoring from a guy who can create his own shot and navigate against defenders who can't hand check him or afford to double team him, which is what every college opponent did this past year.
On the other hand, if Utah takes him and he struggles, it could be brutal. I heard some Jazz fans boo BYU's drill team when it took to the floor. Even Jazz owner Greg Miller is on record saying the Jimmer "novelty" would wear off.
Utah picks at No. 3 and No. 12 in the first round in a few weeks.
Nobody I've talked to believes Utah will use the third pick for Jimmer, and I don't think he'll be available by 12. The New York Knicks might trade up to get him. I received a "prediction" text 10 days after the doctor visit from a friend who is well-connected in the sports world. He said the Sacramento Kings would make Jimmer the No. 7 pick.
After Fredette's 90-minute workout with the Kings on Thursday, word out of Sacramento does nothing to derail my friend's bold prediction.
According to Sacramento Bee reporter Ailene Voisin, Kings management was "salivating" over Fredette during his entire visit.
Wrote Voisin on Friday:
"... to the reasons Fredette suddenly is complicating life for the Kings, and to what journalists witnessed when the viewing curtain was raised.
"Specifically, and noting again that the workout was conducted in a controlled setting against late first- or second-round prospects, he was both appealing and impressive.
"He shot with range, and the Kings need shooting. He had a swagger about him, and the Kings need leadership. He executed pick-and-rolls, passed ahead on the break, directed the offense and the Kings desperately need a facilitator.
"He made plays, beat defenders with floaters, al la Mark Jackson, and sliced to the basket. And because of his long arms and wide shoulders, he projects bigger than his official measurements (a tad under 6-foot-1 at the draft combine in Chicago)."
Combine his workout with the Kings with a spectacular workout with the Pacers, a good-to-average appearance with the Knicks and upcoming stops with Phoenix and Utah before the draft, many in the know — the guys who watch every tick and beat of these things — say Fredette's stock is rising higher than at any point since the Cougars left New Orleans in the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs.
But they say it isn't Utah Jazz No. 3 high.
You'll have to save your money to enlarge more photo prints from another of your ventures in Alaska. That is the only sure thing.
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