Jimmer Fredette! The Name Says it All
Jimmer Fredette has been filling it up lately and has all but taken over sporting headlines. Fredette, a senior guard at BYU out of Glen Falls, NY has been all over ESPN and the other never-ending list of sports networks and radio shows over the past week or so as fans and media alike are finally starting to pay attention to the nation’s leading scorer (27.4 ppg). Jimmer cemented his name into the homes of the common sports fan after last night’s
nationally televised (it’s an absolute joke that this game was not available for the entire country to see) game between Fredette’s one-loss BYU Cougars and the undefeated #4 San Diego State University Aztecs. All of this coverage on Fredette has brought many so-called “experts” to compare Jimmer to anyone and everyone from Stephen Curry and Scott Skiles to Mark Price and even “Pistol” Pete Maravich. But this extended coverage has also brought those same “experts” to question some of Fredette’s abilities on the court and bring up some of his presumed weaknesses that will eventually hinder his NBA draft stock. I’ve listed some of those weaknesses below, the biggest of which is Fredette’s presumed inability to defend his position, especially in the NBA. His strengths are also listed below.
Jimmer Fredette’s Strengths and Weaknesses
– Pure scorer – Defense
– Create his own shot – Size
– Ball handling – Court vision
– “in the gym” range – Finishing at the rim
– Quick release
– Free-throw shooting
– Strong frame
As you can see from the list above, Fredette possesses all of the critical offensive tools needed to succeed at the next level, such as his ability to create his own shot as well as his unlimited range. Anybody who has watched, read, or heard anything about Jimmer knows he can straight fill it up, so lets look at what his critics say is Fredette’s biggest hurdle at the NBA level, his inability to defend due to his lack of size (he’s listed at 6 ft 2 in).
First, let me say that since when has individual defensive success been a major requirement in the NBA (seriously, college players to a man play much better defense than guys in the NBA, just flip back and forth between a college basketball game and an NBA game, the defensive disparity is overwhelming). Obviously the best defensive TEAMS win championships, but seldom do those teams have individual lock-down defenders, for example the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, etc (you can make the argument that Bruce Bowen and Ron Artest are “star defensive players,” if you want to say that holding Kobe Bryant to 28 points instead of 40 points is a job well done). So, in my opinion individual defensive standouts are a bit overrated.
Second, I refute the presumption that Fredette can not defend his position because although he lacks ideal size in terms of height (see the list of NBA players below), he does possess a strong, sturdy, muscular base or frame (6 ft 2 in, 195 lbs) which will allow him to hold his position while defending both taller and quicker players. Here are some other players of similar size and stature to Jimmer and how their supposed inability to defend has not hindered their NBA careers one bit.
Tony Parker (PG, Spurs, 6 ft 2 in, 180 lbs) – Defensive liability? Yes, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading the Spurs to 3 NBA Championships since becoming their starting PG.
Steve Nash (PG, Suns, 6 ft 3 in, 178 lbs) – Defensive liability? Yes, but that hasn’t prevented him from racking up 2 consecutive NBA MVP Awards.
Deron Williams (PG, Jazz, 6 ft 3 in, 207 lbs) – Defensive liability? No. Why? Not because he’s the fastest guy on the floor, but because he has a solid frame and he knows how to use his body to his advantage.
Raymond Felton (PG, Knicks, 6 ft 1 in, 198 lbs) – Defensive liability? No. Why? Much like Deron Williams, Felton possesses a strong frame. He can guard quicker players as well as bang with taller 2-guards without being pushed around.
All in all, I believe Fredette will have a solid career in the NBA. Do I think he’ll be a star? No. Do I think he’ll be a bust? No. I think Fredette will be a solid sixth man or third scoring option on either an up-tempo team such as the Knicks (and yes, as a Knicks fan I would love to see Jimmer playing 41 games at MSG, he would be a perfect fit in their system) or for a team with a legitimate low post threat like the Magic or Lakers. In the latter scenario, Fredette would provide the ability to create off the dribble as well as stretch the defense from the 3-point line. Nobody knows for sure what Fredette’s NBA future has in store for him, but one thing is certain. Jimmer Fredette will continue to be the story of the year in college hoops and his BYU Cougars will be a fun team to watch come tournament time.