This just in. Jimmer Fredette can score the basketball. Always has, and until he chooses not to, always will.
The Glens Falls native showed his scoring prowess once again yesterday, pouring in 75 points for the Shanghai Sharks in a 137-136 defeat to the Beikong Fly Dragons in a Chinese Basketball Association contest.
Jimmer went for 62 in the second half including an astonishing 40 points in the final period. He shot 24 of 34 from the floor including 7 of 10 from deep, and 20 of 21 from the free throw line. Fredette scored with :07 remaining on an acrobatic drive giving the Sharks the lead before the Dragons won it at the buzzer. Jimmer added eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals to round out the stat sheet.
Ten games into his third year in the CBA Fredette is averaging 38.3 points per game, shooting .531 from the floor, .495 from beyond the arc, and .964 from the line for the 7-3 Shark squad.
Really just more of the same for Jimmer who averaged 37.6 and 36.9 in his first two seasons in China leading to the question that begs to be asked, Why is the 6′ 2″ guard not playing in NBA arenas?
Drafted number 10 overall in 2012 by the Milwaukee Bucks and traded on draft night to the Sacramento Kings you could argue that Jimmer never was in a good situation over five years with four teams in the NBA.
In three seasons at Sacramento he played in 171 games, averaging 15 minutes per, scoring 7.0 points on .416 shooting from the floor, ,402 from deep and .853 from the stripe.
At the end of the 2014 season Jimmer played eight games with the Chicago Bulls then spent two years playing with the New Orleans Pelicans where in 54 games his playing time shrank to under 10 minutes nightly.
Fredette played in two games for the New York Knicks in 2016, spending the majority of the season playing in the NBA Developmental League where he was named the MVP in the league’s All-Star game.
To my mind there was never a good fit for Jimmer in any of his NBA stops.
Sacramento, a franchise that has struggled for decades fired head coach Paul Westphal just 10 games into Jimmer’s rookie season. Westphal, a scoring guard similar to Fredette, in his playing days, seemed to appreciate and understand Jimmer’s game but was shown the door and in turn the door slowing started to close on Jimmer.
Eight games with Chicago and a defensive minded coach in Tom Thibodeau, two seasons in New Orleans coming off the bench where he had to be seemingly perfect or sit back down, and a two game publicity stint with the Knicks where Jimmer played five total minutes, never seemed to give Fredette’s skill set a real chance.
The NBA being such a scoring league now with the analytics screaming to shoot the deep ball, and rule changes favoring more points nightly, it seems there should be a spot on an NBA roster for the former BYU great.
The weak arguments used about Jimmer not being able to guard while he was in the league, seem moot, and by the way compared to the NBA in general he isn’t that poor of a defender. The Association is all about getting buckets and there’s no disputing the fact that Fredette can flat out score certainly from long range, but with an ability to get into the paint and finish or draw contact, where he’s automatic from the free throw line.
Some would question the level of competition in China, which actually is quite good, but a 62 point half and a 40 point quarter against opponents who are paid to stop you is hard to comprehend. Also this season Jimmer was on the floor against the NBA’s Houston Rockets in a preseason run where he bottomed 41 points.
Watching multiple NBA games weekly, there’s a good number of teams that would benefit from Jimmer coming off the bench 16 -18 minutes a night, given the freedom and encouragement to pull the trigger.
Will the 29-year old get that opportunity after fulfilling the third and final year of his contract with the Sharks? Hard to say.
Until then the “Lonely God”, as Chinese fans have nicknamed him, will in a far away country continue to knock down the majority of his looks, hoping to get one more, from the NBA.