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Extra Pass: Jimmer Fredette salvaging NBA career with long 3-pointers

Feb 13, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Jimmer Fredette – the bright lights of Madison Square Garden shining on him – walked the ball up court and called out a play. Of course, Fredette has never been big on plays. His freelancing, gunning style endeared him to fans at Brigham Young, where he carried the program to unprecedented heights.

Fredette noticed his defender backpedaling, and whatever play Fredette was calling went out the window. He pulled up for a 26-foot 3-pointer.


“You dream about this,” said Fredette, a native of Glen Falls, N.Y., whose shot gave him 13 points in his first 4:19 of playing time.

On the Kings bench, Quincy Acy excitedly spiked his towel to the floor.

Unfortunately for Fredette, the path of Acy’s towel – straight down – symbolizes Fredette’s college-to-pro transition more accurately than his breathtaking shot.

Can Fredette build off his performance Wednesday – a career-high 24 points in a win over the New York Knicks – and carve out a successful NBA future?

Just three years ago, Fredette was the darling of college basketball. The Kings, via the Milwaukee Bucks, got him with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft. “Jimmer is exactly what the Kings need right now,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player.

Not quite.

Fredette struggled as a rookie, and though he improved moderately in his second year, the Kings declined the fourth-year option on his rookie contract before this season. That will make Fredette a free agent after the season, putting Fredette on a precarious path.

In the draft class before his, eight players had their fourth-year option declined.

Two, Dominique Jones and Lazar Hayward, are already out of the league. Elliot Williams likely would be out of the NBA too if the tanking 76ers weren’t willing to give minus young players a chance at minutes. Luke Babbitt made a roster only as a mid-season injury replacement.

On the bright side, Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry are hanging on with the lousy Lakers. Cole Aldrich occasionally gets to play for the Knicks. And Al-Farouq Aminu starts for the Pelicans. None of those four are in the most glamorous positions, but they’re all firmly entrenched in the NBA for at least this season.

That’s a 50-50 shot for players in Fredette is heading into after this season. Which direction will he go?

Signs are increasingly pointing to Fredette lasting in the league, at least for a little while.

He’ll probably always be a harmful defender, asking him to distribute the ball is just asking for turnovers. But after shooting barely above league from beyond the arc as a rookie, Fredette has made 36-of-73 3-pointers this season – a league-best 49.3 percent.

Renowned for his ridiculous range by college standards, Fredette has expanded his comfort zone deep beyond the NBA arc (23 feet, 9 inches above the break and 22 feet in the corners).

It has made all the difference.

Just 6-foot-2, Fredette sometimes struggles to create shooting space over longer NBA defenders, especially because he’s working off the ball more than he did at BYU. But long 3-pointers help Fredette get off cleaner shots.

He’s never been shy about attempting those deep bombs, but his accuracy on them has improved remarkably in his three professional seasons. He even makes them more often now than his closer 3s.

Here’s Fredette’s season-by-season shooting percentage on 3-pointers from 25 to 29 feet (purple) and closer 3-pointers (black):


Fredette actually leads the NBA in shooting percentage between 25 and 29 feet (more than 25 attempts), making 22-of-41 such shots (53.7 percent).

His 26-footer wasn’t even his longest basket Wednesday. He also made a 28-footer as a closing Carmelo Anthony couldn’t make up the extra ground to challenge the shot. (And spare the Melo defense jokes, at least for a moment. He was actually trying to contest the attempt.)

By then, Acy’s towel had been picked up from the floor. It wasn’t doomed to stay down forever.

Fredette, it seems, isn’t either.

He’s lifting himself back up, one step back farther behind the arc at a time.

  1. hojo20 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    The defense Amare S played on that last shot was embarrassing. He’s washed up.

  2. redbearwoodall - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    It doesn’t help that he’s averaged about 2 minutes a game. I don’t know if he’ll be a good player or not, and nobody ever will if they don’t play him.

  3. time4complaints - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    He certainly has proven that he wasn’t worth the #10 pick in the draft and thus there was no way to justify picking up the 4th year option on that contract. However, he’s going to stick in the league for awhile if he continues to shoot at or near the league lead in 3-point percentage. Some team will happily pay him at or just above the league minimum to occupy one of the seats at the end of the bench that are reserved for 3-point shooters (see James Jones among many others) and unskilled “big men” (see Hasheem Thabeet among many others). Shooting and size are valuable commodities in a league that can’t get enough of both. He has proven he can shoot so someone is going to give him a roster spot. It may not seem like much of a career, but getting paid around a million dollars a year to sit on the bench and occasionally play a few minutes as a situational substitution is much better than a regular job. In the meantime he needs to work really hard on his ball handling, because right now he is a turnover machine, and with improvement he might grow into a more expanded role (his ambition should be to become a poor man’s JJ Redick).

    • matthewpgrace - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      IDIOT… You would be saying the same stupid comments if you were watching Steve Nash his first couple of years,.

  4. billsfanaddict - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    been saying forever with this whole obsessive ideal about “spacing spacing spacing” why arent players like Curry/Jimmer/Shuttlesworth just stepping back a few extra feet. if you can go out to 30 then spread that D like butter, only so much space a player can effectively closeout on.

  5. zerole00 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    How much of his early year issues is because of the Kings’ dysfunction rather than his own ability? He was drafted just before things in the organization started to take a nosedive. Good luck developing through all those distractions.

  6. kingcrusher - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    His career has been on one of frustration in Sacramento. He’s not a franchise player, but could be the next Paxson for a team. A great addition that can keep the defenses honest. I just feel he’s been smothered in Sacramento because they are using him wrong, and have not given him the proper chance to shine. Please, send him to play with Durant in Oklahoma! PLEASE!!!

  7. timberwolvesbrisin - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Coach him up and no reason he cant be at least as effective as a poor man’s Korver.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Korver is 6′ 7″

      Jimmer is 6′ 2″

      Korver is much better at getting his own shot off due to this. No amount of coaching may make up for him being 5 inches shorter than Korver.

      • matthewpgrace - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        OMG ..Are you saying Fredett has “trouble getting his shot off” ??? THAT is hilarious.Either you dont know the game or you dont watch …or both….

      • matthewpgrace - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Korver can NOT take guys off the dribble .Fredette does so at will..No different than college.

    • nickjackalson - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      or as effective as a short man´s Korver

  8. doclolly - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    He be Perfect on the knicks. Minimal Defensive Capabilities and he can just stand out there behind the arc waiting for melo to kick out a shot for a long 3.

    • shadowshand - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      ” ….. waiting for melo to kick out …..????” Hilarious. Once Melo gets the ball, the only thing he does is shoot. He’s the proverbial black hole–not even gravity or light can come out.

      • mikerome64 - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Take a long look at the Knicks roster and tell me who is Melo going to kick the ball out to?

  9. nickjackalson - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Duh – Jimmer moves not with the feet pointing forward, but sideways!
    Great for him he made it to the league, yet I can´t wrap my head around a player looking like a complete hobbit in the

    • matthewpgrace - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      i wonder what you look like ..FU

  10. jimsjam33 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    I saw the game . He looked real good as the 2 guard . Lots of movement to find the open shot . I looked hard at his defense and i was impressed . He’s a Hornacek type of player . Good shooting eye and acceptable defense . Maybe Sacramento should keep him .

  11. chunkala - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    3 point shot ruined basketball and allowed one trick ponies like Jimmer (who needs 10 feet of space to even get off his shot) to steal cash from NBA teams.
    Add a little strategy, take away a point for every 3 pointer missed. Then only select players will be allowed to chuck them up.

    • matthewpgrace - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      wow 0-45…That has to hurt…:)

      • matthewpgrace - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        1-58 youre doing better …..

  12. campcouch - Feb 14, 2014 at 4:52 AM

    He’s playing for the Kings. Man,WTH happened to them? CWebb,Peja,Bibby,Vlade…they went downhill fast.

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