Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette unable to win over team, critics so far
It's an interesting dynamic Jimmer Fredette faces.
Score and please management. Pass and please teammates. Shoot and miss and feed naysayers.
We saw this in action when he exploded for an impressive 30 points in a Sacramento loss to Houston on Monday.
On Wednesday, he was less aggressive, couldn't find a rhythm and scored 19. His misses (5 of 17) looked dead-on and in line, but short. When he passed, 98 percent of the time, it never came back.
Oh, and did I mention the Kings look bad?
What to do?
On one hand his Kings coaches asked Fredette to be aggressive, go nuts, and be himself.
On the other hand, some observers criticized him for shooting too much in Monday's game. Fredette's 30 points did come right after the Kings signed another point guard, Aaron Brooks.
Against Toronto on Wednesday, Fredette's shot looked flat and playing the point, he looked tired.
The Kings want to get more points out of the former NCAA scoring leader. They are telling him to fire away. He tries.
When he did Monday, some criticized him for heating up the barrel.
On Monday, he did just that. He penetrated the lane and attacked the basket. He fired threes in transition. He worked his back-step jumper, and tried a multitude of mid-range jumpers and knocked down some 3-pointers. Fredette had 19 by half and 30 at the end. It was his BYU days all over again.
But I found it interesting that during that game, David Thorpe, the executive director of the Pro Training Center in Clearwater, Fla., and ESPN.com writer, tweeted the following:
"When I first watched Brandon Jennings play, in Vegas, I thought his teammates must love playing alongside him. It is the opposite with Jimmer."
Thorpe, a University of Florida graduate, later tweeted: "Jacker Fredette, er, Jimmer, seems to be on a personal mission to enrage his teammates. Black eye could be coming. It's comical actually."
But wasn't Jimmer gunning it the whole idea?
Anybody who has watched the Kings play this past year would have to state unequivocally the entire team motto seemed based on "I gotta get mine" and Fredette the rookie was passive as to this refrain.
So, take Thorpe's opinion and compare it with Kings coach Keith Smart's edict to shoot and be aggressive: "When you're on the floor just be you. Go be aggressive. That's why we have to, to score the basketball. That is why you are here. That's what makes you most effective when you get on the floor."
Fredette played his second to the last summer league game in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. His 19 points came on 5 of 17 from the field, and 2 of 9 from beyond the arc. He made 7 of 10 free throws (a real sign of fatigue), had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
In four summer league games he is a miserable 5 of 29 from 3-point range and that, aside from free throws, is his strength as an offensive player.
Right now, since the Kings signed Brooks, Fredette is in a fight for playing time with Isaiah Thomas and Brooks, a former Rocket and Suns guard, who just finished playing ball in China.
If Fredette finds time as a shooting guard, it will be behind Tyreke Evans and a logjam with John Salmons and Marcus Thornton — if he stays in Sacramento.
Now, that's a great summer dilemma. Will he find himself in a trade and will that be so terrible? The Kings are a team with a myriad of problems.
Fredette appears to be his best when another point guard is on the court.
It'll be an interesting fall for Fredette.
He's got a hoops Rubik's Cube going as a pro.
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