Jimmer Fredette’s lowly performance against Florida in the NCAA tournament is a sign of bad things to come in his NBA career.
Like Adam Morrison, Fredette is mostly a one-dimensional player who could flat-out score on the college level.
However, when Morrison got to the NBA, teams easily figured out ways to guard him on the perimeter and he is now considered one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.
In addition, both Fredette and Morrison played in weaker college basketball conferences (Mountain West and West Coast).
Fredette will likely be a first round pick, but he might not have the speed and quickness to be a starting point guard.
What other reasons suggest that Fredette might be the second coming of Morrison, despite his different position on the floor?
Let’s take a look…
Jimmer Fredette is a point guard, so one might think he’s supposed to handle the ball most of the time, right?
Well, Fredette handled the ball almost every offensive play for BYU, so there isn’t much tape for NBA scouts when he’s playing without the basketball.
A point guard in the NBA is supposed to create for his teammates, but at the same time create for himself.
There’s an old saying that practice makes perfect.
In college basketball, the tougher conferences like the Big East, Big 12 and ACC usually produce the most well-rounded basketball players.
In the cases of both Adam Morrison and Jimmer Fredette, they were the only featured stars in the conference and didn’t have much competition besides San Diego State for BYU.
The increased skill level of the NBA will hit Fredette hard.
“Jimmer range” is actually warranted in the NBA.
Professional teams like to run set offenses and work for the best possible shot, most of the time. The fact that Jimmer Fredette can make long distance shots is nice, but what happens when he has an “off night?”
At BYU, Fredette had the freedom to take any shot he wanted, because he was essentially the entire offense.
If Fredette’s offensive decisiveness in the pros is anything like his college days, he’ll be on the bench.
As Adam Morrison did at Gonzaga, Jimmer Fredette took more than half of BYU’s shots on any given night.
Both of these players’ conference scoring records are impressive, but more points doesn’t always translate to a higher field goal percentage.
Fredette cumulatively shot 22-52 from the floor in both of BYU’s NCAA tournament games. In those 52 attempts, he only scored 66 points. In addition, he shot only 10-27 from deep.
Fredette never averaged more than 4.7 assists per game in all four years at BYU, which leaves his passing ability in serious doubt. An NBA point guard can be taught to pass better, but they must also have a feel for their teammates on the floor.
As mentioned, Jimmer Fredette stood as the only major scoring threat for the BYU Cougars. He played the role of carrying the team on offense, regardless of the opponent.
Once upon a time, Allen Iverson was the only threat for the 76ers in the NBA, but he proved to be one of the NBA’s best scorers because of his quickness and great ball-handling skills. Iverson was often on the league’s leader board for assists and steals, too.
Instead of creating for himself or his teammates off the dribble, Fredette often elects to take ill-advised 30-foot-plus threes.
Besides Jackson Emery and occasionally Brandon Davies, Fredette didn’t have to acknowledge his teammates on the offensive end. A “loose cannon” would be his best description.
Again, BYU’s matchup against Florida in the NCAA tournament showcased just how bad Jimmer Fredette’s defense really is.
Fredette didn’t have the lateral quickness to cover either Erving Walker or Kenny Boynton. Granted, both of Florida’s guards are lightning fast, but Fredette often struggled to cover his own conference’s point guards.
He only averaged 1.3 steals per game in 2011, but aside from his reflexes, Fredette lacks the toughness on the defensive end.
In the NBA, most point guards will torch Fredette off the dribble, because aside from Andre Miller and maybe Luke Ridnour, they are faster.
Without a doubt, Jimmer Fredette’s performances in the NCAA tournament hurt his draft stock.
Adam Morrison managed to play well enough that he was picked third by the Bobcats in 2006, but the fact that there’s already skepticism for Fredette is not a good sign.
When Fredette doesn’t consistently score, there’s a brighter light shined on his weaknesses.
To his credit, BYU asked him to do too much on offense, but it’s not the coach’s fault that Fredette played so poorly in the tournament.
With only 60 picks in the NBA Draft, Fredette should hope that a team like New York (no set offense) or Miami (no sure point guard) drafts him.
On just about every NBA team, there’s a designated man who will come off the bench and provide instant offense.
Since Jimmer Fredette seems to be a guy who’s sole purpose is to score, and he’s a rookie, he might never find a place in the NBA because of his size.
The fact that Fredette is a point guard actually makes things worse for him, because he can’t function as a wing player who creates without the ball to find an open shot.
There’s James Jones for the Heat, JJ Redick for the Magic and even James Harden for the Thunder—but all three of these guys play solid defense, too. They’ve found a niche on their teams.
Kyrie Irving of Duke is the expected first pick in the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft. He’s a point guard.
Jimmer Fredette is a fine young man with the heart to play basketball, but NBA coaches might not be willing to wait for him to change his offensive habits.
Several people get the feeling that Fredette’s defensive and point guard skills are so off-par that he might be a lost cause at the position in the NBA.
Unlike Major League Baseball or a quarterback in the NFL, an NBA rookie usually gets immense playing time and often starts immediately.
Irving and Brandon Knight of Kentucky, his fellow lottery-hopeful point guards, have proven their worth. Both of these kids have unmatched speed and show unselfishness, something Fredette doesn’t possess.
Aside from maybe the Raptors, Blazers, Wolves, Heat and Lakers, each NBA team has a young, budding point guard.
Most of these guards are lightning fast to the basket (Rose, Paul, Westbrook, Lawson, Rondo) and can defend with the best of them.
Currently, the point guard position in the NBA is probably the most talented, which means Jimmer Fredette won’t have an easy time adjusting.
Fredette also lacks great ability to finish at the basket.
If Fredette lasts two or three years into the NBA and is still being eaten alive by the NBA’s best point guards, his NBA career will be cut short. He’s too small to play shooting guard, so that’s out of the question, too.
There isn’t much room for error, and because Fredette lacks everywhere besides shooting, his development process will be much longer.
Adam Morrison was shut down by the league’s best defensive forwards, his fortune of automatic shooting quickly ran out and he was pushed out of the NBA because of it.
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