Jimmer Fredette will try to revive his basketball career in the place it began, New York.
The former BYU sharpshooter and 2011 NBA draft lottery pick was selected by the Westchester (New York) Knicks with the second overall pick in Saturday’s NBA Development League draft. Fredette, a native New Yorker, was recently waived by the San Antonio Spurs after scoring just four points while playing 26 minutes in two preseason games.
D-League teams report to training camp as early as Sunday, and the second-year franchise Knicks, the D-League affiliate of the New York Knicks, begin their season on Nov. 12 against the Maine Red Claws.
Westchester plays its home games at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York, about a three-hour drive from Fredette's hometown of Glens Falls.
Fredette has played 229 games in four NBA seasons, averaging 6.1 points and 1.4 assists in 13.7 points per game. But his averages have dipped every year since his rookie season, including a career-low 3.6 points and 1.2 assists per game in 50 games last year with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Perhaps most concerning, his 3-point shooting percentage dipped to 18.8 percent with the Pelicans.
Now, he will try to make his way back to the NBA through the league’s developmental program, opting for this route instead of continuing his career in Europe.
With the first overall selection, the Idaho Stampede selected power forward/center Jeff Ayres. The Stampede are the D-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz. Ayres has played in 220 career NBA games, averaging 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He spent the past two seasons with the Spurs, including starting 10 games in 2013-14.
Last year, 47 players were called up from the D-League to the NBA throughout the course of the year, and heading into the 2015-16 season, a record 132 D-League alums dot NBA rosters, according to the D-League. That includes three players on the Utah Jazz roster — Rudy Gobert, Chris Johnson and Elijah Millsap.
The top pick in the 2014 D-League draft, small forward Robert Covington, was called up by Philadelphia 14 days after his D-League selection and played 70 games for the 76ers in 2014-15, averaging 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He started 49 games for Philadelphia.
In 2013, the second overall pick in the D-League draft, power forward James Johnson, ended up joining Memphis in 2013-14 and averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Grizzlies that year. Last season with Toronto, he averaged 7.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while playing in 70 games, starting 17, for the Raptors.
The ability to transition from being a high D-League selection to becoming a regular contributor at the NBA level isn’t a given, however.
Last year, the Jazz acquired guard Carrick Felix in a trade with Cleveland during the 2014 offseason and waived him before the season began. Felix was the fourth overall selection in the D-League draft and averaged 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in five games with the Santa Cruz Warriors, but a knee injury cut short his season.
Shooting guard Elliot Williams was also selected by Santa Cruz in the D-League draft, second overall, and enjoyed a successful season with the team. In 29 games with Santa Cruz, he averaged 21.3 points, 7.4 assists and 4.8 rebounds while helping the team win the D-League championship.
Three times, Williams was called up from the D-League to the NBA and played eight games with New Orleans and five with the Jazz. He averaged 2.4 points per game in 9.6 minutes with the Pelicans while averaging 3.6 points, 0.8 assists and 0.6 rebounds in 8.4 minutes with Utah.
A record 290 players, all who signed a standard player contract in the D-League, were eligible for this year’s D-League draft, and several other Utah ties were selected in addition to Fredette.
Former Utah State center Jarred Shaw was taken 18th overall by the Santa Cruz Warriors, ex-Jazzman Ronnie Brewer went to Santa Cruz in the second round, former Westminster guard Michael Stockton, the son of Jazz legend John Stockton, was selected by the Grand Rapids Drive in the second round and former Ute Justin Hawkins was picked by the L.A. D-Fenders, also in the second round.