Note: I am an unabashed Jimmer Fredette fan. He is one of my favorite players in the NBA now and one of my favorite players of all-time, so I have a very slanted view of him. With that in mind, I also know basketball. I know who can play and who can't. I know who has NBA talent and who doesn't. I can see if a guy has a skill set that will make him valuable when he lacks in other areas. And let me tell you, Fredette has a skill set that makes him an NBA player. He can flat-out shoot the ball!
As I turned on the radio Tuesday morning on my way to work I heard awesome news come over a local radio show. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Fredette and the Sacramento Kings are working on a buyout that will make him a free agent in short order. I shouted for joy when I heard it, then I texted and called people to share the great news. Now some of you may wonder why I am so happy that one of my favorites players is going to be cut? Well, that answer is simple; I don't have to watch the Sacramento Kings play basketball anymore. I have watched them as much as I could over the last three years even though on many nights I couldn't stomach the product on the floor. It is just bad basketball. There are a bunch of me-first guys who don't seem to care about winning. It seemed more about scoring and individual accolades than anything else.
The hard part is that I knew all along that Fredette wasn't a fit with the Kings. You can't put a bad defender with a bunch of other bad defenders and assume he will get better (which somehow he did). You can't have a guy who needs the ball in his hands or at the very least come off some screens to do what he does best (shoot the ball) just standing around when everyone else you have plays one-on-one and expect him to be effective. You can't move a guy to the two and play where he is overmatched defensively and not give him the opportunity to get his own looks on the other end.
Now that Fredette will be a free agent shortly, here are the teams that Fredette would fit in the best in my opinion. Some of these teams have been mentioned as possible destinations for him while others are just a good fit in my eyes.
Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers traded away Steve Blake at the trade deadline and brought back MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore in the deal. Since arriving, both have played minutes (something that rarely happened at Golden State). Fredette would be a reclamation project on a team full of them. Jordan Hill, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Kendall Marshall and Brooks were all highly touted players coming out of college and first-round picks. None of them panned out on the team that drafted each, but are now getting a second (or third) chance to succeed as a member of the Lakers. There is a log jam in the backcourt, but without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Fredette should be able to earn a few minutes and try to prove his worth as an NBA player.
New York Knicks: The Knicks really miss Steve Novak and his ability to stretch the floor and create space for Carmelo Anthony to work. Although Fredette plays a different position from Novak, he can still create space with his uncanny ability to knock down the deep three. There are not a ton of minutes to be had with Tim Hardaway Jr. and JR Smith playing the two, but the Knicks did buy out Metta World Peace, and it looks like Raymond Felton has more things to worry about than basketball right now with his arrest on gun possession charges. As a side note, Fredette has had three great games in New York and would be very close to where he grew up.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics traded away one of their best young guards in Jordan Crawford, and Rajon Rondo isn't fully recovered from his knee injury yet. They do have Jerryd Bayless and Phil Pressey, but neither is a great shooter. They also have Avery Bradley on the wing, but he isn't much of a scorer either. You could easily pair him with Fredette and have the best of both worlds. It also doesn't hurt that Danny Ainge (also a BYU alum) is the general manager.
Memphis Grizzles: I haven't heard anyone mention the Grizzles, but they could really use his skill set. Tony Allen and Mike Conley are really good players, but not great shooters. They do have Mike Miller coming off the bench but could always use another shooter to stretch the floor and allow Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol more space to work.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder are loaded with talented guards who know how to player their roles, but not one of them is a great shooter from the perimeter. Fredette wouldn't play much in Oklahoma City, but every team needs a guy who can shoot it coming off the bench, and the Thunder don't have that right now.
Houston Rockets: Fredette would fit in with the Rockets very much the same as he would for the Thunder. Not many minutes since they have Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lin and James Harden, but they are in need of another guard who can stretch the floor in spot duty and make open threes.
Fredette actually would fit in nicely in a couple other teams' systems like the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, but there wouldn't be any minutes for him. Especially in San Antonio, where the Spurs already have shooters like Matt Bonner and Danny Green to go along with a log jam at the point guard spot.
No matter where Fredette ends up, it will be a better fit than the Kings and more fun for all of us to watch!
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