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Report: NBA executive watched Kings scout Jimmer Fredette, believes they were chasing ‘the next great white American player’

Mar 5, 2014, 9:33 AM EDT

Jimmer Fredette AP

When the Sacramento Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette in 2011, they didn’t exactly hide their intentions. As Aaron Bruski wrote here:

Jimmer Fredette, the most talked about player in this year’s NBA draft, was selected No. 10 overall by the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.

30 minutes later, the Kings had a splash page with his likeness up ready to sell tickets on their website. Within another 30 minutes, Jimmer was trending worldwide on Twitter and was the 20th most searched term on all of Google.

By the time he arrived at the royal airport the next day, the Sacramento fans had gathered en masse to welcome him to his throne, conveniently forgetting the contention by many basketball types that he is a slow, white, geeky chump.

Except nobody actually forgot Jimmer was white, at least if you believe an NBA executive who watched the Kings scout Jimmer.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

An NBA executive who sat next to then-GM Geoff Petrie while they scouted Fredette sensed Geoff, also a lottery pick and former long-range marksman, saw some of himself in Jimmer.

“That, along with the desire to land the next great white American player and the millions that would be worth at the gate, is pretty powerful,” the executive said. “Foreign players just don’t connect to your fan base in quite the same way.”

First of all, that’s a pretty loaded statement by the general manager.

Foreign players don’t connect with American fans the same way Americans do? OK, I can buy that.

But white Americans are not the only Americans, and it’s harmful for the general manager to imply otherwise. One pick after the Kings took Jimmer, the Warriors drafted Klay Thompson – born in Los Angeles, attended college at Washington State. Was he not white enough for the Kings?

It’s also important to remember this is the opinion of an outsider, not someone in the Kings organization. This outsider had access we didn’t and that’s why I’m passing along his perception, but it shouldn’t be taken as gospel, either.

If the Kings drafted Jimmer to sell tickets, though, it didn’t work. It never works.

Here’s the Kings attendance, by capacity, before and after drafting Jimmer:

image

They got a slight uptick Jimmer’s rookie year, but their attendance fell the next season. It rose again this year, when Jimmer barely played.

You can see why the Kings were chasing fans. Just a few years prior, they sold out every game, and that type of attention gets addicting.

Of course, they were winning back then, led by Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and Doug Christie – hardly a lineup of white Americans.

Individual stars rarely sell tickets. Non-star individuals are far less of a draw, even when they’re perceived to be the “right” race for that sort of thing.

Winning teams attract fans. It’s that simple. When teams get distracted by anything other than building a winner, they go wrong.

Again, we don’t know the Kings did that here. Maybe they just really liked Jimmer as a player.

But we know how it turned out. The Kings forced out Petrie and then bought out Fredette.

It’s a lesson any team would be wise to remember if it’s considering drafting a player because he’s a white American.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    1. Remember, these were the malofs… so, again, Kings are not to blame here.
    2. This is Cali for christ’s sake. If it were Utah, maybe….

    This article is just a flame bait imo.

    • adoombray - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      I agree. The issue with the Kings have been beat to death – but it’s ridiculous to say “LOOK JIMMER DIDNT SAVE THE ATTENDANCE!”. Dude, the Maloofs spent the last 3 years trying to move the team, didn’t even try to win and did stuff like trade Thomas Robinson in his ROOKIE YEAR. That team was a clusterfudge and Jimmer had nothing to do with it.

      The irony is that nobody blinked an eye and called it business sense when Houston signed Lin because he was Asian.

      Feldman ran with an anonymous source making one statement and then projected it into entire article. this is called blogging via mailing it in.

    • glenuendo - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Don’t pull Utah into all of this. We saw his skill set at BYU and we didn’t want the Jazz touching this guy.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      “2. This is Cali for christ’s sake. If it were Utah, maybe…. ”

      Sacramento is a… different… part of California.

    • matthewpgrace - Mar 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      This article makes no sense.

      The Kings acquired Fredette AND DIDN T PLAY HIM !!!!!! If they did they WOULD have increased attendance.
      The fact is Fredette is a Scoring Freak ..Averaging 22 points per 36 minutes since January !st in 3pt shooting in the NBA and 2nd in FG % for PG in the NBA..He IS The next Great WHite American Player… He just needs to PLAY !

      Last year he was the only NBA player to score 14 pts or more in less than a quarter. He did it twice.

      His first coach P Westphall was starting Fredette and the kid was catching on quick avg 16.4 pts a game as a starter. The Cuz was complaining so “smart” became the head coach and “cuz” wanted Isaiah Thomas instead of Fredette at Pg and thats what happened , Good for IT who up until a couple months ago was playing great.
There are at least 30 you tube Highlights of Fredette scorching other teams ..the same as he did at BYU only to be sat by the incompetent and personally flawed “smart”. Fredette also has been playing along side jealous teammates that freeze him out. It still happens to this day… Fredette would go off scoring 12 -15 pts in a quarter and sit the rest of the game while the Kings would LOSE and LOSE and LOSE again. The better he played the more he sat..He would consistantly get hit with DNP’s no matter how much he out played his teammates. the worst treatment of a truly skilled player I have ever seen in sports..and I have been watching for 40 years….Only the treatment that Jeremy Lin was given at Golden State was comparable in terms of sheer ABUSE . LIn almost quit the game becuase of the way he was treated……his coach was non other than K ‘”smart.”

      This year Malone also lied to the fans and Fredette. and treated him with incredible disrespect at the start of the pre-season. First he literally scoffed at the idea of Fredette playing PG. (the ONLY position Fredette has ever played) then he promised his team and fans that every position but center is an open tryout’..Fredette outplayed all the other guards by a longshort ..Shooting a scalding 60% from 3 and 50 from the field playing great d and distributing the ball beautifully..Result?…Not in the rotation…
      I know the idiots will repeat the non sense that his defense is so horrific that he cant be on the court. To anyone who actually watches this is LAUGHABLE as IT , McLemore, Thorton and so many other Kings players play HORRIBLE defense.
Fredette is an average defender and he only gets better with each game.
      I pray he gets a chance with Chicago ..
      BTW Steve Nash did not put up the numbers Fredette has if you compare their stats in their first 3 seasons.AND Fredette is always improving.

  2. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Also, Dirk is foreign, he sold lotta ticks for that Dallas franchise…

    • savvybynature - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      Some crazy Argentine with an unorthodox game seems to have dome pretty well ingratiating himself to the San Antonio faithful as well.
      If some Kings executive thought that wasting the 10th pick on some one-dimensional college player would sell tickets just because that guy is white, then that executive is a total moron. Winning sells, everything else is secondary.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Mar 5, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      That’s why the Kings are where they are.

  3. spursareold - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    That’s sooooooooooooooo Boston.

    • acieearl - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Maybe you should google Chuck Cooper and report back your findings to the group

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Minnesota. They have to hold the record for most white guys on an NBA roster since the early 80’s.

  4. chunkala - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Yeah, jazz should pick him up. Mormon time.
    Jimmer does suck though.

  5. knightrider1755 - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Kay Thompson is not considered “white” by American standards. His father is a former NBA baller who is a Black Bahamian.

  6. timberwolvesbrisin - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Calling him a “chump” is a cheap shot, he’s no chump. Give him a chance, maybe he could develop into a poor man’s JJ Reddick.

  7. reesesteel23 - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Lol just like Tebow in the NFL.

  8. timberwolvesbrisin - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    The Sacremento TV announcers call Kings fans “the greates fans in the world..” Watching them on league pass or NBAtv they always are over the top with how great they all are.

  9. csbanter - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    The NBA have a few white guys that can ball, Chandler Parsons, David Lee, JJ Redick, Kirk Hinrich, Kevin Love, Gordon Hayward. I guess one can see why a losing organization such as the Kings went this route, but it didn’t work. Hopefully those so anxiously awaiting to anoint the next Larry Bird will let Doug McDermott be, Doug McDermott.

  10. bucrightoff - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    It’s the Mormon Mamba!

  11. chris3141084 - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Outside of Kevin Love, who is the last great “white” American player? Stockton? Everyone of note is bi-racial/mixed.

    • savvybynature - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      “White” is a social construct, not a scientific one, just like “black.” So it depends on how you want to define white, but honestly who cares?

      • apmn - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Michael Jordan does play a lot of golf…

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Tom Gugliotta. Not really but I just like saying his name.

    • calkinsrob - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Scalabrine obviously

    • bjswoosh805 - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      Mark Madsen

    • ProBasketballPundit - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      Steve Nash won a couple MVPs

      • sixerstrong - Mar 6, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        He’s also Canadian, so there’s that.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        @sixerstrong I realized that one second after I clicked ‘Post comment’. But honestly I don’t give a crap about the last great white american player. It’s a stupid thing to think. LeBron’s my favorite player; I’ve been watching him for 7 years now. I don’t care what color he is.

      • chris3141084 - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        But he’s not American.

  12. 2016olympics - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    The jury is still out on this one. Let’s go Bulls.

  13. sensiblevoice - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    yo, chris, I think there’s this white canadian….steve nash maybe?

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Needs to be American, buddy. Chris does have a point, who was the last American white guy baller before Love? Was it really Stockton?! I think so….

      • dadawg77 - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Well technically couldn’t Nash be considered American as he from the continent?

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:37 PM

        @ dadawg77

        Baah! You got me on a technicality! lol

    • genericcommenter - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      But fans don’t love the furriners, you know.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      “great white AMERICAN player”

      • ocgunslinger - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        Great white North American player….

  14. 00maltliquor - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    I didn’t know sharks were allowed to play in the NBA, let alone had American citizenship. Do they still have to be 19 and up to enter the draft?

  15. yuwannano - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    “That, along with the desire to land the next great white American player and the millions that would be worth at the gate, is pretty powerful,” the executive said. “Foreign players just don’t connect to your fan base in quite the same way.”

    Wow. So in order for white NBA fans to “connect” the player has to be American AND white? How’s that foot taste Ric?

  16. azarkhan - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Winning is the way to connect with your fan base. Ask Gregg Popovich.

  17. cbking05 - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Asian is the new white

  18. acieearl - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Caucasian American Basketball players ranked
    1. Bird
    2. West
    3. Mikan
    4. Havlicek
    5. Stockton
    6. Pettit
    7. McHale
    8. Rick Barry
    9. Pistol
    10. Diana Taurasi
    11. Brad Lohaus

    • acieearl - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      I’m going to slide Bill Walton in between Mikan and Havlicek.

    • matthewpgrace - Mar 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Jason williams was probably the most fun to watch of ANY NBA player..

  19. pfic15 - Mar 5, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Can you imagine if a player was described as a slow, (insert non white race), chump? That writer would’ve been canned right after posting.

    • kinggw - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Can you imagine if some guy missed the pop culture reference to White Men Cant Jump and got offended for no reason?

      Stop trying to make an issue out of something that isnt there.

      • pfic15 - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        Of course it’s not. Its an observation. Thanks.

  20. ProBasketballPundit - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    The reason racism is wrong is because it’s a group generalization that holds no truth about individuals. What’s funny is most of these comments do the same thing. “That’s so boston” “The Kings make terrible decision.” “Who’s the last great white american?” All generalizations that have nothing to do with anything. A group doesn’t exist, only individuals. The individual is the smallest minority.

  21. cooley23744 - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Hack, race-bating, sensational journalism. I didn’t expect this from NBCsports–maybe Upworthy or Huffington Post, but not NBC. Disappointed.

  22. philzblog - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    Fredette is what happens when you pick folks on how they look, rather than competence.

    Same with Obama as President of the United States and Commander in Chief.

  23. matthewpgrace - Mar 6, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    This article makes no sense.

    The Kings acquired Fredette AND DIDN T PLAY HIM !!!!!! If they did they WOULD have increased attendance.
    The fact is Fredette is a Scoring Freak ..Averaging 22 points per 36 minutes since January !st in 3pt shooting in the NBA and 2nd in FG % for PG in the NBA..

    Lat year he was the only NBA player to score 14 pts or more in less than a quarter. He did it twice.

    His first coach P Westphall was starting Fredette and the kid was catching on quick avg 16.4 pts a game as a starter. The Cuz was complaining so “smart” became the head coach and “cuz” wanted Isaiah Thomas instead of Fredette at Pg and thats what happened , Good for IT who up until a couple months ago was playing great.
There are at least 30 you tube Highlights of Fredette scorching other teams ..the same as he did at BYU only to be sat by the incompetent and personally flawed “smart”. Fredette also has been playing along side jealous teammates that freeze him out. It still happens to this day… Fredette would go off scoring 12 -15 pts in a quarter and sit the rest of the game while the Kings would LOSE and LOSE and LOSE again. The better he played the more he sat..He would consistantly get hit with DNP’s no matter how much he out played his teammates. the worst treatment of a truly skilled player I have ever seen in sports..and I have been watching for 40 years….Only the treatment that Jeremy Lin was given at Golden State was comparable in terms of sheer ABUSE . LIn almost quit the game becuase of the way he was treated……his coach was non other than K ‘”smart.”

    This year Malone also lied to the fans and Fredette. and treated him with incredible disrespect at the start of the pre-season. First he literally scoffed at the idea of Fredette playing PG. (the ONLY position Fredette has ever played) then he promised his team and fans that every position but center is an open tryout’..Fredette outplayed all the other guards by a longshort ..Shooting a scalding 60% from 3 and 50 from the field playing great d and distributing the ball beautifully..Result?…Not in the rotation…
    I know the idiots will repeat the non sense that his defense is so horrific that he cant be on the court. To anyone who actually watches this is LAUGHABLE as IT , McLemore, Thorton and so many other Kings players play HORRIBLE defense.
Fredette is an average defender and he only gets better with each game.
    I pray he gets a chance with Chicago ..
    BTW Steve Nash did not put up the numbers Fredette has if you compare their stats in their first 3 seasons.AND Fredette is always improving.

  24. jdchicago - Mar 6, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    First of all, Sacramento is a N-Out Burger short of having real value. This city should NOT have an NBA team. It is time to accept that Las Vegas is the best fit for the next NBA and NFL franchise. People are going to gamble…the state’s themselves have not been bashful with collecting huge this way, so just get it over with and move this franchise to Vegas.

  25. campcouch - Mar 8, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Weird article…somehow became race bait. I’m of the chocolate persuasion myself and to be honest,I would like see a white dude get some press. My favorite players ever are Mark Price and Larry Bird. Highly skilled,athletic and intelligent players. It is sad that a guy like Fredette doesn’t get the same respect that some porkchop like Felton gets and that guy really does stink. Jimmer was a popular pick. I don’t think they drafted out of need or philosophy,but tried to sell the fans on bringing the most talked about guy in the NCAA to Sacto. He should get some PT in Chicago and hopefully a fresh start on his career.

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