SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alec Burks thinks Jimmer Fredette is a real cool dude.
And, yes, the Utah Jazz rookie actually said "real cool dude" to describe the former BYU star, who was selected two spots after Fredette in last June's draft.
But the Jazz's equally cool dude thinks Fredette was put in a tough situation this season — not because the somewhat dysfunctional Kings picked him up or that fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas zoomed past him into Sacramento's rotation midway through the season.
Rather, Burks sympathizes with The Jimmer the pro trying to live up to The Jimmer the college superstar.
"They had very high expectations because of what he did in college," Burks said. "But you know, in the right situation I feel like he could (meet them)."
That, however, hasn't happened yet.
Fredette is averaging 7.4 points this season on 38.5 percent shooting, and plenty of pundits, critics and fans have thrown the disappointment tag on his first professional campaign.
Some expected more from the reigning NCAA player of the year who averaged 28.9 points his senior season with his Sweet 16 squad.
Though the Colorado product is coming from a completely different situation — he's exceeding expectations in some ways — Burks came to the defense of his fellow lottery pick.
"It's kind of not his fault. It's kind of people put that (high expectation) on him because of what he did in college," Burks said. "He's trying to do what he can. He's out there competing every night. What more can you ask for?"
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin considers the 6-foot-2 guard an offensive threat. Coming into Thursday's game, Fredette had averaged 9.5 in games against the team from his college's state.
Corbin called Jimmer "a scorer" who has confidence in his driving and playmaking abilities.
"There's not a shot on the floor that he don't think that he can make," Corbin said. "If he get his feet set and get a look at the basket, his shot look good every time it comes off his fingertips."
Fredette has one more appearance in Utah, where he missed a potential game-winning shot in the Jazz's close-call 96-93 win on Jan. 28. The Kings visit EnergySolutions Arena on March 30.
RINSE, REPEAT: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if it's broke, give it time to get fixed.
Those weren't the exact words Corbinused at shootaround Thursday, but it's in the ballpark of how he approached the starting lineup for the Jazz's game against the Kings.
The Jazz kept the same starting lineup they used in Tuesday's win over Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City: Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, C.J. Miles, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Veteran guard Raja Bell (strained adductor) did not dress again and Earl Watson (sprained ankle) sported a uniform but didn't get off the bench.
With the Jazz playing well, Corbin wanted to rest them and allow their injuries to continue to heal before working them back into the playing rotation.
"We can buy some time now," Corbin said. "I'd rather be safe than sorry. The group is playing well, so need to rush (them) back now."
Bell, who's missed 11 games with groin injuries, said he felt fine after shootaround but ended up not being made available.
Watson scrimmaged with the Jazz at practice Wednesday, but the backup point guard wants to be cautious about returning too quickly after spraining his left ankle for the second time in less than two months.
WISE WORDS: This is how Watson is approaching his comeback after missing five straight games with a nagging ankle injury:
"I take all challenges in a good way where I'm excited to overcome it, so my focus right now is to overcome this physical challenge and get back as soon as possible. In the words of coach Wooden, 'Be quick but don't hurry.' "
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