I had originally planned to do a whole stack of these, but then eventually gave up once I realized just how shit this year’s draft class was. Once I’m done with this one, there’ll be two more (Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving) and then I’ll start doing mock drafts. With the Warriors headed to yet another lottery, I don’t have much else to look forward to.
That said, once I realized I hadn’t done Jimmer yet I knew I had to, and not just because one of my friends is a former BYU player who has a not-inconsiderable man crush on him.
If you’ve followed college basketball at all this year, you’ll know who Jimmer Fredette is. The BYU senior has in the space of a few games this year solidified himself as a NBA prospect, become the new Great White Hope of American basketball, earned first-name-reference status (along with luminaries like LeBron, Prince and Tiger) and recently announced his engagement to the winner, runner up and fifth place contestants in Miss Mormon America. (OK, that’s a lie – but I had to get the obligatory Mormon joke in).
Religious humour in dubious taste is one thing, but no one’s laughing about Jimmer’s ability to put the ball in the hoop. Yet, like every other undersized, not particularly athletic shooting guard he comes with his own knockers and question marks.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Jimmer has played at shooting guard for most of his college career, but at 6’2” he’s going to have to become a point guard at NBA level.
His jumpshot is a dead-set thing of beauty. I’d put it up there on the Ray Allen/Stephen Curry level (although since he is white, he can not be smooth) and more often than not, he makes it from both inside and beyond the arc. He’ll easily adapt to the longer NBA 3pt line.
However, Jimmer is more than a mere jump shooter. He has the ball handling skills and just enough athleticism to be effective in isolation situations at the college level, although BYU don’t run many iso plays. I don’t think he’ll be much of a threat driving in the NBA, but his shot is as effective off the dribble as it is in spot-up situations.
I haven’t seen enough of him playing the point to judge whether he can make the transition to an NBA point guard, which makes me think that it’s going to take a while. It’s a cliché, but the best PGs are truly born, not made. It’s hard to simply develop the natural passing touch and ability to raise the games of your teammates that all the great PGs have. That said, he’s a hard worker and a good kid, so I don’t doubt he’ll work his arse off to become the best point he can be. Just how good that is is the question.
The other elephant in the room with Jimmer Fredette is his defense. Even at the college level, he struggles to guard either PGs or SGs anywhere. In the NBA, almost everybody will have a size and/or athletic advantage over him. The team that drafts Jimmer will have to figure out how to hide him on defense, because it’s not a question of application here, it’s that he isn’t good enough.
How Likely Is He To Declare?
He’s a senior, so yeah. There was a rumour that he might enter last year, but in the end he chose to go back to school when he realized he wouldn’t be guaranteed a first round pick. In hindsight, a pretty smart move.
I’ve heard Stephen Curry a lot, and that would be the ideal for Jimmer. However, he’s not as good a defender as Curry and even I admit that’s a pretty bad rap. His defense will really hurt any chance he has of becoming a starting PG in this league (unless Don Nelson comes out of retirement and takes him on his team) so a best-case scenario is probably Jamal Crawford – a sixth man who can score in bunches and lift your offense on occasion while giving up as much on the other end.
Who Could Use Him?
Jimmer’s stock is all over the place right now. Some say he could go in the top-10, others say he barely scrapes the first round. I’ll go for the middle – he’ll get taken somewhere in the late lottery or middle of the first round. Any team who needs an impact scorer will take a long hard look at him.
Either way, he’ll go in the top-20. In a draft littered with guys with potential and not much else, Jimmer gives you one definite skill – the ability to score. You can’t ignore that.
Hell, I’ll make it easy on myself – wherever Indiana picks, that’s where he goes. I didn’t say Utah because they have the Jersey pick this year only, and that’s top 5 at least (I believe their own pick is with Minnesota this year in the Al Jefferson trade) so he goes to the next whitest team in the league.