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Can Jimmer Fredette make it in the NBA?

Jan 27, 2011, 2:12 PM EDT

Jimmer Fredette

Know this: Jimmer Fredette can shoot the rock.

Don’t believe me? See what NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant (who has had workouts with Fredette) tweeted:

Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!

Everyone loves BYU’s Jimmer the day after he dropped 43 on previously unbeaten San Diego State.

But can he make it in the NBA?

He’s going to get his chance, but he’s got a lot of work to do. has him going 13th overall, in the late lottery. (This is very early in the draft scouting process, how players perform in the high-pressure end-of-year conference and NCAA tournaments, individual workouts and more will shuffle that deck considerably.) Here is part of their scouting report:

A controversial prospect, Fredette has one of the most impressive offensive packages in college basketball, but may lack the athleticism needed to translate his skill-set seamlessly to the next level.

Or this is what DraftExpress’s head honcho Jonathan Givony was tweeting during the big game:

Many question marks about Jimmer Fredette’s defense and whether he can play the same type of role in NBA, but when you can score like that…

Talking to people there seem to be three paths here, three prolific college scorers without the ridiculous athleticism seen at the NBA level who represent how Fredette could fare in the NBA: J.J. Redick, Adam Morrison and Stephen Curry.

Morrison’s NBA saga is well documented, but do not forget what a great college player he was. Morrison struggled to score with the same efficiency at the NBA level, and his lack of athleticism hurt him on the defensive end, which spiraled into him getting less and less court time. Up to the very end Lakers players would say how well Morrison shot in practice, but when thrown out into game situations it was everything else that held him back.

Redick worked ridiculously hard to turn his game into something that works at the NBA level. Redick put on muscle and worked tirelessly to become a better defender — and now he is a plus defender. The Magic aren’t trying to hide him on that end of the floor. The Magic system — with Dwight Howard in the paint and Jameer Nelson’s penetration — is a great complement to Redick’s catch-and-shoot skills. It took time but he has made it and got a payday out of it.

Then there is Curry — a player whose ridiculous ability to score makes him valuable despite the Warriors having to hide him on defense. Well, they would have to hide him on defense if Golden State cared about that end of the floor.

Fit matters, as Givony also tweeted:

If Fredette goes to a team like Golden State, I could see him being an unbelievable player. But on Orlando, Boston, Spurs, he’d never play.

This much we know — he’s going to get a chance somewhere. What he does with it will be interesting to watch.

  1. florida727 - Jan 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Anybody that thinks Fredette won’t seamlessly transition to the NBA game needs to have their basketball knowledge rights revoked. And it has nothing to do with his scoring or ability to shoot from unlimited range. Watch his court awareness/vision, positioning on defense, footwork, team-oriented attitude, etc. You’d have to be an idiot to project this guy anywhere but near the very top of the next draft. Pass on him when your turn in the draft comes up at your own peril. This guy has exactly what it takes to be a “franchise” type of player.

    • triplll - Mar 31, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      well it looks like you should have your basketball knowledge revoked.cuz his game has yet to transition to the nba thats why he not playing and isaiah thomas is getting more playing time.and you’d have to be an idiot to think that he’s a “franchise” player.he will be playing in the euroleague in three years

  2. passerby23 - Jan 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I wouldn’t pass up this kid. Didn’t they say the same thing about Steve Nash? Too slow, too small, not athletic enough? If he’s slotted at 13 in the draft, Boston, Orlando, or San Antonio won’t be in the position to draft him anyway. Put him on a rebuilding team like Toronto or Sacramento and he will flourish.

    • triplll - Mar 31, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      well he went to sacramento and hes rideing the pine while the last player picked in the draft is getting more playing time and playing better the jimmer.shows what you know

      • passerby23 - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Dude, it’s still his rookie season. Give the kid some time to develop. Not everyone develops at the same pace, especially at point guard. Steve Nash wasn’t lighting it up in his rookie season either. How good did JJ Redick look his first few years in the league? Give him a few seasons at least before writing him off.

  3. sixers25 - Jan 27, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    florida727: Let me guess you think Tim Tebow will be a pro bowl NFL qb.

    passerby23: They said the same thing about Steve Nash and he sucked until his late 20’s

    Everyone say it with me: “STEVE ALFORD!” clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, “STEVE ALFORD!”, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap

    • passerby23 - Jan 28, 2011 at 12:35 PM


      Steve Nash’s first two seasons were playing behind Jason Kidd. His career took off in his second season in Dallas (he was 26 then). And even if we assume he did suck until his late 20s, wouldn’t you take that for becoming a franchise leader and two MVPs? Point guard is the toughest position to adapt to in the NBA and that it took him a few seasons to become really good is not surprising. He will go down as one of the best PGs of all-time, but I guess you forgot that part. I’m not saying Fredette will be, but I wouldn’t sleep on him.

      • sixers25 - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        I think most people in hindsight realize that Nash’s 2 MVP’s were atleast 1 too many. I think he is a top ten guy not top 5 all time point guard. And him being too slow, too small, not athletic are the reasons it took so long for him to get a chance. And a GM is not going to be around very long if it takes his draft picks 4-5 years to blossom.

    • wiseowlbballfan - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:15 PM

      WiseOwl is concerned that you don’t understood (even at least to a small degree)– and hopes that he can enlighten you along the way. Complete understanding and enlightenment is something you are not fully capable of right now– but if you keep working at it, there may be some hope for you within the next 12 months. WiseOwl challenges you to do the following: Each day awaken, blink, scratch yourself and say: “self–WHO am I? –and why do I think I know so much?” Then respond to yourself by asking again: “self–what can I learn from the Jimmer today?” Keep your fly closed and your eyes and your mind wide open. Who knows

  4. jazzydre - Jan 28, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    He should play for the Jazz

  5. wiseowlbballfan - Jan 31, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Adam Morrison was a great scorer to watch at Gonzaga–and fun to root for as the underdog. Not sure he could run the point though, and really make his own space to get shots off consistently. Anyway– that’s part of the mystery of the game. Why was Morrison a bust? Why wasn’t he the 2nd coming of Larry Bird? Who knows? B-Ball is AT LEAST as much mental as it is physical. whether Jimmer thrives in the NBA or not remains to be seen. But as a scorer– there is something very special there because of his ability to use contact to his advantage (that is an NBA skill). He does not just rely on long-bombs. So he’s the real deal. Believe me. He has Tony-Parker-like inside game and Stephen-Curry-like outside game. Better ball-handler than Redick. The question really comes down to: what system, what coach?

  6. sixers25 - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Morrison was a bust because he was not long, not fast, didn’t move well without the ball and was overmatched on defense. Please also look at Evan Turner, who is black, but also not tall, long, explosive or used to playing off the ball. People were in love with him and everyone in philly saw him as the two guard of the future when in fact he basically played point guard for OSU. He shot high percentages and rebounded well because he was always one of the tallest guys on the court and a good 5-6 inches taller than anyone guarding him. Jimmer looks really good finishing in traffic because he plays in a lower tiered conference with out any high quality big men to disrupt his shot. He can drive to the basket because he is much stronger than his opponents. He probably will be much stonger than most nba point guards but can that strength override his lack of speed, quickness and leaping ability against opponents who are far superior in that category plus have more length to contest shots. If he had a post up game I would feel better about him offensively.
    Also on the defensive end he is an absolute liability. Who would be willing to give him 25-30 minutes a night knowing he is going to be torched. Stephen Curry is doing well in GS but the team ignored his lack of defense because no one played defense.
    In all honesty the best spots for him would be the Jazz ( D-Will’s replacement in a year or 2) Phoenix (Steve Nash can’t play d so they won’t care if his replacement can) or Philly (better fit than Turner, better player at the 2 than meeks).

  7. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    The ‘lower-tier’ conference might have been true in the past– but not this year. You really need to do your homework. Compare the schedule BYU has played this year vs Ohio State–you will find (as the RPI shows) that the old ‘weak opponents’ argument is just plain wrong– and a lazy way to show your ignorance. UNLV, SDSU, New Mexico, St Mary’s– these are teams capable of beating anyone on a given night. Look at Ohio State’s schedule for a comparison. I agree that for every ‘great’ player who lives up to the college hype– there are 50 who don’t cut it at the next level. And defensive skill is absolutley huge–especially in the NBA. But realize that Jimmer MUST play ‘cautious’ defensively–to avoid foul trouble because his team relies so much on his scoring. One of the only games they lost this year was vs UCLA because he had to sit with 4 fouls. In watching him– its clear that he’s smaert enough to know when to shoot and when to pass. He’s got terrific instincts–(like Curry and Parker) and could play the point–regardless of not being blazing fast. If he were a bit taller, they would be comapring him to D Williams. But

    • sixers25 - Feb 2, 2011 at 1:15 AM

      It’s not a lazy assessment. I get the BYU channel as part of my package and I’ve seen BYU and Jimmer play 6 games (including SDSU). The competition is better collegiately but in terms of high level NBA talent, there is little to known. SDSU, the next best team in the conference, does not have a guy over 6’9 playing more than 20 minutes a game so I don’t think you can look at that and say he will be a great NBA finisher. I agree with your assessment about OSU’s schedule because I said the same thing about Evan Turner last year, the Big Ten isn’t very “big” and doesn’t have a lot of NBA talent.
      Jimmer’s passiveness on defense maybe due to concerns over foul trouble ( A point I made with people about Blake Griffin in college) but his team plays zone defense whereas in the NBA they play man. He is not fast or quick, has good but not great height and average length. His biggest asset is his strength but hand checking rules will minimize his ability to use it. Short story, he will get burned by the many faster guards in the NBA.
      The Tony Parker comparisons are off because, 1. Tony Parker played against men before going to the NBA and 2. Parker is fast as crap. D Williams also has a lot more quickness and speed than Freddette. Curry is a better comparison and he may have better scoring instincts than Curry, but Curry is a better all around athlete with better all around basketball instincts.
      In terms of him playing point guard, he is at the bottom of all top rated pg prospects in assist to TO ratio and pure point guard rating. His best shots are to go to a team with a bigger point guard and play the 2, go to a team with an established pg on his way out who he can learn from, or go to a team as a conscious free gunner off the bench where he is given leeway with his defense.

      • wiseowlbballfan - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:33 AM

        Or better yet: maybe just change his race– and automatically he’d be considered to be faster, quicker and more “athletic.” Unfortunately– reverse discrimination is alive and well in the hoops world in 2011.

        I love watching Stephen Curry and I love watching Andre Miller too. Neither are blazing fast- and no more ‘athletic’ than Jimmer–nor is either one considerd a great defender. Their best assets are their court savvy, poise, competitive spirit and guile.

      • sixers25 - Feb 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        Did you read the part about how I said the same exact things about Evan Turner Last year. The reverse discrimination claim is garbage its more along the lines of players who are similiar to Jimmer do not do well in the NBA. That is just the fact of the matter. White/ Black has nothing to do with it. I watch Duke play and I think the Plumlee brothers are among the most athletic big men in college. I watch Jimmer play and see a great college basketball player/Nba role player.
        And again I have issue with your comparison. Andre Miller and Jimmer only have in common the fact they are unathletic. Andre Miller has a post game. Andre Miller tries to get his team mates shots first. Jimmer is a way better shooter. If I had to pick one athletically I would say Jimmer. But Jimmer is not a better athlete than Curry. Sorry. And again how can you say he will be a great point guard in the NBA when his college numbers indicate he is a great scoring guard not a great point guard. I think I’m the one with a clear headed assessment and you just really want a white guy to do well.

  8. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Who knows?? I’ll say this– D Williams is one of the top 3 point guards in the NBA. He will leave the Jazz next year for a HUGE contract somewhere else (probably Lakers–I hate to see that, but it will happen

  9. BC - Feb 3, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    No way. He’s Adam Morrison. He’ll never make it.

    • wiseowlbballfan - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:28 PM

      News Flash: the Doors are looking to sign Adam Morrison

  10. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Jimmer has a better mustache than Morrison–and a better looking fan base.

  11. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    All of you Jimmer haters out there– just remember to heap your plates with lots of crow in about 1 year from now. I remember celebrating when the Warriors selected Stephen Curry– and there were lots of doubters about that kid. He is brilliant–and still getting better. Not saying Jimmer is Stephen Curry. But if he gets in the right system and the right coaching, the haters and doubters will have amnesia. Guaranteed. I know– the NBA is mostly about gigantic, ego-maniacal tatooed freaks of nature who are in their own world. There are too few execptions (like Keven Durrant) Not sure if there is room for a kid like Jimmer in today’s NBA or not– but I sure hope so. Otherwise, the NBA and fans are the ones missing out. i’m not even sure Hondo, Walt Frazier or Jerry West would fit in today’s NBA game. For me (and a vast majority of true hoops fans)– I’ll take a good high school match-up or an intense college match-up over the NBA’s version of the game anytime. Most games are not worth the time or the money. The only real NBA worth watching is the playoffs.

    • sixers25 - Feb 4, 2011 at 1:12 AM

      You haven’t made one real argument about why Jimmer can make it in the NBA. All you have done is continue to compare him to Curry even though Curry put up better point guard numbers in his only season than Jimmer has at the position the entire time and express your longing for the good old days when half the players were white. I really don’t think you deserve the title of “wiseowlbballfan”. Maybe “pre1965bballfan” is better?

      • wiseowlbballfan - Feb 4, 2011 at 2:35 AM

        Dear sixers25: apparently you don’t read very well–but that is ok, there are lots of people with learning problems out there, so I’ll be patient and spell it out for you in short sentences. There are several arguments about why Jimmer can make it in the NBA if given the opportunity in the right system. Race has nothing to do with it– and that is one of my points. Don’t fall into the racist stereotype trap of saying that a great player is not “athletic” enough to compete effectively in the NBA. That has become a “code” word and everyone knows it. Unfortunately, that seems to be part of the underlying “doubt” about Jimmer’s worthiness to play in the NBA. And it’s ridiculous. Jimmer is certainly comparable to Stephen Curry in some important ways– “asassin” scorer’s mentality and quick release, for example. Poise and presence. Great team player. Great passer (amazingly– in addition to being the nation’s leading scorer–Jimmer’s one of the top assist guys in his conference. Oh– I forgot: it’s not a very “athletic” conference, right?). As for athleticism– he actually has at least as good a mid-range shot and even better ability to drive to the hoop in traffic. Coach Steve Fisher (who you may know has coached against many big NBA stars in his time) said it best: “Jimmer is as good a player as anyone I’ve ever coached against.” So- don’t make it about race or religion or whatever else bothers you about Jimmer. Just jump on the bandwagon and root for a really special guy who wasn’t deemed good enough to get recruited by the so-called Big East powerhouse schools–because he just wasn’t “athletic” enough. And of course– the very best argument for why he can make it in the NBA is crystal clear (and you don’t even need to read!)– if you just sit back and watch his game. His play speaks louder than all the haters out there. Nice to see athletic guys like Kevin Durrant, John Wall, Stephen Curry and so many others appreciating the fun and skill of Jimmer’s game. I think I’ll rely on their judgment over those who just spout innuendos, race-based tripe and don’t appreciate or respect either the history, the nuances or the greats of the game. Hopefully we haven’t devolved to where the game is about little more than slam dunks and tattooed self promoters. Yours Truly: WISEOWL.

        PS: If you need more reading material to help you on your journey toward enlightenment and better understanding– please refer to my prior posts. No charge.

      • wiseowlbballfan - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        WiseOwl is pleased that you finally understood (at least to a small degree)– and pleased that he could enlighten you along the way. Complete understanding and enlightenment is something you are not fully capable of right now– but if you keep working at it, there may be some hope for you within the next 12 months. WiseOwl challenges you to do the following: Each day awaken, blink, scratch yourself and say: “self–WHO am I? –and why do I think I know so much?” Then respond to yourself by asking again: “self–what can I learn from the Jimmer today?” Keep your fly closed and your eyes and your mind wide open. Who knows

  12. sixers25 - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    1. I can’t read very well but you can’t spell Kevin Durant’s name very well.
    2.Your point is race has nothing to do with it, even though you refer to the term “code” words and say if you switched Jimmer’s race he would be a better player.
    3.Saying a player is not athletic enough to compete is based on looking at his measurements, stats, d competition to and projecting how they would perform on the NBA level based on how players of similiar size and measureables in the past have performed.
    4. In making your arguments I guess you are too dumb to realize the difference between good (objective) and bad (subjective) arguments. Listing all the adjectives you like to use to describe Jimmer Freddette is a subjective argument (an argument based on opinions not facts!) Saying Jimmer was one of the league leaders in assists was a good objective argument (Good job! Congratulations). But Jimmer only averages around 4 or 5 assists a game with 3 or 4 turnovers. Unfortunately that limits the merits of your argument.

    I understand what you are saying but all I am saying is pump the breaks a little bit. If he goes to the Twolves, he and Love would be an unstoppable pick and roll combination for years to come. If he goes to a team like Chicago he would have to carve out a Ben Gordon type role for himself. In OKC despite Durant’s proclamation, Jimmer would struggle to find playing time just because he does not fit well there. A guy like Jimmer yes is a unique talent but because he lacks ideal athleticism, he needs to go to the best system for him in order to excel otherwise there is a high bust probability.

  13. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    WHO knows.

    • sixers25 - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:33 PM

      I understand that you are a part of a cult that has brain washed you into thinking Jimmer is the second coming of White Jesus. I understand logic and reason have no effect on you. All I can do now is hope that you refrain from literally drinking the Jimmer Kool Aid.

  14. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 6, 2011 at 4:02 AM

    sixers 25: WiseOwl is not part of any cult. But alas-you are once again revealing deeply disturbing delusions, paranoia and prejudices. Is something troubling you? Can I offer you a drink–maybe some refreshing Kool Aid laced with Jimmer Juice? Or do you still prefer your sour grapes?

    • sixers25 - Feb 6, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      I just enjoy being in touch with the reality that eludes you while you slip deeper into dementia. The fact that you refer to yourself in third person at your age is even more of a sign you are losing it. Maybe have a son or daughter check you into a retirement home for “special” needs patients. I’m sure they will let you decorate your white padded cell with all the Jimmer posters you want.

  15. wiseowlbballfan - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    This is going to be difficult for you– but please try to stop being a weiner-head. Demented geezers like WiseOwl sometimes get a little nuts, its true. But no one thinks more highly of you than I do– and I think you are evidence of the theory of evolution in reverse. At this point if you so choose, you may experience the next step in your enlightenment through philematology by juxataposing your labium inferious and labium superius on my ample gluteus maximus.

  16. dlounsbury - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Fredette’s primary defensive assignment this year was simple, “DO NOT FOUL OUT.” When you are scoring 30 points a game and are responsible for 30-35% of your teams offensive output, you simply get a hand in the face and funnel guys to the bigs. Occasionally when Fredette got upset and tried to defend the other teams speedy athletic guard he moved his feet and stayed in front and got a stop. You have to watch a whole game to see him actually lock down his player because his team does so much zone in the first place. Fredette will defend just fine in the NBA.

  17. jerry4321 - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    No one can say for sure if Fredette will or won’t make it. He may not have breakdown quickness but take a look at the all time assist leaders list in the NBA. 3 out of the top six (players of similar size) are not players who possess great quickness. Stockton; Mark Jackson; Steve Nash. Good athletes but not elite level. What about Jason Terry? He’s only 6′ 2″ and succesfully playing shooting guard, also a good athlete but not elite. How did he and a near 40 year old Jason Kidd (who’s legs are basically gone) outplay what may be the most athletic backcourt the game has ever seen? They both hit shots! Clutch Shots! Especially Jason Terry, he excels at a position where he regularly gives up 5 to 6 inches in height with deadly shooting and smart team play. The NBA isn’t one on one, it’s a team game. Individual athleticism is important but if you have a minimum level of athleticism and the right “intangibles” you can still be a good or even great player. I do believe Fredette has that minimum level. If he has the court vision, the drive and “eye of the tiger” shooting touch he can make it, but nobody really knows until he steps onto the court.

    BTW Adam Morrison didn’t make it because he wasn’t a great athlete, or his defense wasn’t the best. Nobody thought he was going to be a great defender. He wasn’t drafted to be a stopper on D, he was drafted to hit bit time clutch shots. THAT’S what he didn’t do. He shot OK during the regular part of the game but when big shots were needed at key parts of the game he was tentative and hesitant. I saw a few times when they gave him the ball and he blew it every time. Looked scared too. That’s a big no no for a player of his profile. He needed to be mentally tougher than that. If he could have been the big time clutch shooter like he was in college, NBA coaches would have overlooked the mediocre defense and given him a chance to work on and improve other areas of his game.

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