He’s more than just a shooter. I think what he can do in a pick-and-roll can be very effective. He’s very good with the ball. He’s got to learn defensively what to do in terms of team defense, and that’s usually the biggest adjustment. —Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau
Jimmer Fredette’s big fan following is based mostly on his impressive career at BYU.
It would be nice if Fredette was praised for what he’s done since leaving college at some point.
“That’s what you want,” Fredette said. “You want to move forward. Obviously, people will remember that, but I want to move forward and be a pro.”
Fredette is trying do that with the Chicago Bulls, who signed him after he agreed to a buyout with the Kings and was waived last month.
Fredette is averaging 4.3 minutes in four appearances for the Bulls since suiting up with them for the first time March 2 against the New York Knicks.
But after two-plus seasons in Sacramento, where he played for three head coaches and received inconsistent minutes, the former college Player of the Year believes joining the Bulls for the rest of the season is the first step toward finding his niche in the NBA.
“I really like the way that they play,” Fredette said. “They play hard and they don’t have great outside shooting as a team, and that’s something I feel is a strength of mine and I can help them in that area. They play great team defense, and I feel I fit in very well with these guys and this organization.”
Like Fredette’s coaches in Sacramento, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau praised Fredette’s work ethic and attitude.
Being a late-season addition makes it hard for Fredette to get into the rotation, especially on a team on its way to the playoffs.
Thibodeau said if injuries or foul trouble forced him to play Fredette, he has confidence in him.
“I thought the times he played against us, he did a very good job,” Thibodeau said. “He’s more than just a shooter. I think what he can do in a pick-and-roll can be very effective. He’s very good with the ball. He’s got to learn defensively what to do in terms of team defense, and that’s usually the biggest adjustment.”
Fredette said he is a better player than when he was a first-round draft pick in 2011, even though he didn’t play regularly enough to show those improvements.
It’s still early in Fredette’s career, and he is confident that with the right opportunity he can show he’s not just a college superstar from a mid-major conference who didn’t have the ability to succeed at the next level.
“It happens to a lot guys in the NBA,” Fredette said. “Not everyone comes in and is a superstar right away or gets the right role right away. You’ve got to find the right fit, find the right team on that journey, and I hope that it happens here.”