Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette is facing a critical crossroads in his quest to prove himself in the NBA
"He's a specialist, a great shooter," Kings assistant coach Alex English told reporters. "He's getting there. But he has to realize what his (strength is), and that's as a shooter."
Fredette isn't a defender, he isn't a break-down passer. He's a gunner who needs barrel oil.
Yes, he needs to excel with the pick and roll, come off screens better, get in the lane and break down defenders off the dribble.
But bottom line, he's a bullet pusher.
This past year with the Kings, I sensed a team with chemistry akin to oil and water. He was the rookie with an America lovefest going on and, well, jealousy ruled.
Under Rose, Fredette excelled because of the freedom Rose gives shooters. If shots didn't go down, they made up for it by increased volume. Fredette took shots from all over the court. That kind of liberal shooting would get a lot of players benched at other schools across the country. But Rose trusted Fredette's shot and banked on the fact one of his 30-footers had as good a chance as another player's 8-footer inside the key.
Fredette thrived under Rose with this mode of operation.
Such situations for Jimmer will never be the same again unless he's with the Globetrotters.
So the Kings and Jimmer have to come to an understanding. To get Jimmer in full bloom, they'll need to fertilize his garden with total support. That's tough to do in the big leagues, but Fredette must feel he has a contract to shoot, an invitation to take hesitancy completely out of his game.
I don't know if the Kings — or any other NBA team for that matter — will do that.
But it would be nice to see one try.
The Kings are saying all the right things this summer.
"At some point, he has to figure it out," according to his summer league coach, Bobby Jackson. "I want him to be a bit more aggressive on the pick-and-rolls. He's got to understand that's what guys are going to do because he can shoot the ball. He didn't shoot the ball well (Friday), but he's got to be the guy that's aggressive and gets us in our stuff. … He'll figure it out."
The time is ripe, at least on the surface with a club not quite ideal. The other Kings point guard, Isaiah Thomas, is sitting out the summer league to finish a degree at Washington. This is Fredette's time.
The question is, can he step far away from Rose's garden and find total reckless confidence at a different level? At BYU, Fredette shot often and made half his tries. That's pretty good.
Fredette needs to perform more like Monday night where he scored 30 points on 10-of-21 shooting, including 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, against the Rockets.
Can the Kings give Fredette 20 shots a game and refuse to wince when some come from just inside the half-court line?
That's what it'll take for Fredette to be Fredette once again.
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