Guest commentary: Is Jimmer Fredette an NBA player moving forward?
Andrew Nelles, AP
There is no bigger lightning rod in all of Utah sports than Jimmer Fredette. Fredette is a BYU legend who is trying to find his footing in the NBA, and there is no shortage of opinions on whether he will succeed or not.
Whenever a story about Fredette comes up or even mentions his name, it draws a significant amount of interest and plenty of comments. Most BYU fans feel like all Jimmer needs is a chance, while plenty of others feel like Fredette's game isn't built for the NBA and that he would be better served playing in Europe.
Now that Fredette will be a free agent, it is the perfect time to analyze whether or not Fredette actually has the skill set to be an NBA player moving forward. With the overwhelming amount of passion that revolves around Fredette, there will no doubt be differing opinions on this, but stats and production don't lie.
One of the most important things you need to play at the highest level of basketball is the ability to score. There is no doubt that Fredette has that skill in an abundance. Fredette struggled with his shot as a rookie adjusting to the NBA game, but has made great strides in each of his last two seasons (all statistical information herein is from basketball-reference.com). After shooting 38.6 percent from the floor, including 36.1 percent from behind the arc as a rookie, Fredette improved those numbers to 47.1 percent from the floor and 47.6 percent from the 3-point line in year three even though his minutes have dropped.
When you break down how well Fredette shoots it from different spots on the floor, those numbers become more impressive. While splitting time with the Sacramento Kings and the Chicago Bulls in 2013-14, he shot 75 percent from 0-3 feet and 51.6 percent from 10-16 feet. Fredette also shot an astounding 88.9 percent in his corner 3-point attempts. He's also impressive when he gets to the free-throw line, where Fredette is a career 85.7 percent shooter, including 90.5 percent a season ago.
With shooting numbers like that, Fredette can definitely be used by any NBA team to space the floor and create driving lanes because he is such a talented spot-up shooter.
His skill set isn't limited to just being a spot-shooter, however. Even though Fredette has averaged just 6.5 points a night in 12.6 minutes over 118 games the last two seasons, he has shown the ability to really score the ball when given minutes to get into the flow of the game. During those 118 games, Fredette has played 20 minutes in a game 16 times. In those 16 contests, Fredette scored in double figures all but one time (that game he finished with nine points) and averaged 14 points.
Two of his most impressive games came in the last two where he got big minutes. In a five-point win over the Knicks while playing for the Kings, Fredette played 27:20 and finished with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 6 for 8 from beyond the arc to go along with two assists and a pair of steals. The other game came with the Bulls when Fredette played 30:35 and totaled 17 points in a 13-point win over the Magic. That night, Fredette shot 50 percent from the floor while grabbing three rebounds and handing out two assists.
While he has shown to be a very effective offensive player over the last two seasons, Fredette has also shown much improvement on the defensive end of the floor. After having a negative win share on defense his first two seasons, Fredette was finally in the positive in year three, according to basketball-reference.com. That will never be the strength of his game, but he has vastly improved his footwork and defensive instincts to become a serviceable player on defense.
Now that all the data has been looked at, it is clear to see that Fredette has enough skills to find a spot in the NBA moving forward, whether it is just as a spot up shooter or as more of a scoring option off the bench.
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