As I patiently await the tip of tonight’s Sweet 16 tilt between BYU and Florida, I again find myself being force-fed an overflowing cup of “The Jimmer Kool-Aid.” And I’ll say this: I ain’t drinking.
First, let me be very clear. I’m referring exclusively to his transition to the NBA, and how his game translates at the next level. Obviously, the guy’s an elite college player. There’s no reason to debate that.
But I have serious concerns about Fredette’s ability to become a stand out NBA player. Of course, this is all purely speculation -isn’t that what blogging basically boils down to? If I could actually predict the future, I wouldn’t be flapping my gums about college roundball.
In college, Jimmer emphatically proved he can fill it up. He bangs from deep, and he’s in range the moment he laces ’em up. Sure, that aspect of his game – his shooting touch – won’t change at the next level. But the NBA is where one-dimensional players go to die.
“But Jimmer’s not one dimensional! He can take it to the hole, man!”
That’s what you’re saying, yes? And you’re right. At BYU, Fredette’s been a full service scorer. He attacks the rack, displays tremendous body control, can finish with either hand, and cashes in at the charity stripe. But I just do not see him having that type of success – off the dribble – in the NBA.
He’s 6’1″, and he isn’t all that athletic. At his size, there’s only one spot on the floor for him: point guard. And he doesn’t have NBA point guard quickness, or handle.
To be 6’1″, and really fill it up against the best players in the world, you have to have Chris Paul-type game. Jimmer does not. He also doesn’t have Steve Nash-type game, because he’s not a natural distributor. And he doesn’t have J.J. Reddick-type game (to refer to a similar college-level scorer), as he’s several inches smaller, and doesn’t “D” up. (ed. note: Reddick also wasn’t much of a defensive force coming out of Duke. To his credit, he’s worked really hard on that aspect of his game. But it’s taken him several seasons, and still, he’s only a mid-level, supporting cast member.) Now, there’s no reason to say Jimmer won’t improve his defense, but I don’t care how tireless your work ethic is, you generally can’t practice becoming taller.
The fact of the matter is, the players are bigger, better, and stronger in “The League,” and I just do not envision Fredette putting it on the floor, and driving the lane against the Northwest, the way he’s done it against the Mountain West. Sure, the MWC is a fine conference. But it ain’t the ACC or the Big East. And it sure as heck ain’t the Southeast. There are no Dwight Howard’s at San Diego State. There are no Blake Griffin’s at Utah. And there are no Amar’e Stoudemire’s at TCU.
My point being, he’s not quick enough to carve up NBA backcourts, nor is he strong enough to body his way to the rim against the league’s formidable front lines. As such, he’ll be reduced to merely a “shooter,” not a “scorer,” and good defenses will supplant themselves in his shorts, refusing to give him open looks.
Sure, he may hit his fair share of contested jumpers. And there’s no reason to think he can’t exist in the NBA. But he’ll be a role player, and it will take just the right fit for him to truly excel.
Bottom line? The curtain comes down on The Jimmer Show, the moment his Cougar career comes to a close.