A year ago at this time, Jimmer Fredette was the biggest story in the world of college basketball and among the biggest stories in sports period in 2011.
That was then, this is now.
Even last year there were plenty of skeptics on how Jimmer’s game would progress at the next level, and he has not done much with the Sacramento Kings so far to diffuse such criticism.
After again being a DNP-CD in the Kings loss at Miami last night, frustration boiled over on Twitter from Jimmer’s older brother TJ Fredette, who unleashed this volley directed at Kings interim HC Keith Smart.
TJ immediately got feedback, mostly from BYU fans carrying a hash-tag of #freejimmer. One even went as far as to say that the @JLin7 story should be the Jimmer story right now.
Jimmer’s brother than continued with 20+ more tweets in the next hour, with replacement Jimmer’s replacement Isaiah Thomas being one of his targets, noting that the Kings usually lose when ‘Isaiah’s played well’…
Well, the Kings did lose to the Miami Heat, which was likely going to happen no matter who was in the lineup, but here was Isaiah Thomas’ stat-line:
36 minutes, 7-14 from the field, 5-8 on 3-pointers, 24 points.
For one night at least, the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft produced. And if you’ve forgotten about the other Isaiah Thomas, here he is burying the winning three-pointer in overtime to win the Pac-10 Tourney title for Washington last year (COLD BLOODED!!!!!)…
And Keith Smart (born three days before yours truly), well, he also has a little experience in making the clutch shot on the big stage (25th anniversary forthcoming)…
Should Jimmer Fredette Be Playing More?
Here is a fact: Jimmer is shooting a mere 37% on the season.
Granted, Isaiah Thomas going into last night was only at 40% for the season, so the two are similar rookie players right now.
I’m not going to judge whether Keith Smart will be a good NBA coach or not, but the Kings are 14th in the Western Conference and not going anywhere post-season. I say at the very least he deserves the opportunity to look at his entire roster over the course of the season.
And don’t even start with Jeremy Lin jealousy. Yes, he’s been hyped off the charts and some are already sick of hearing about him, but here are Lin’s February stats:
49% from the field, 8.5 assists, 2.2 steals, 22.5 points per game, and his team won seven in a row after being inserted as a starter.
At the very worst right now, Lin is a nice point guard who scores and can plays some D and helps his team win.
At the very best right now, Jimmer is a three-point specialist who is in a shooting slump.
Yes, Lin got the opportunity and has become a rock star, like Jimmer was a rock star last year.
And it isn’t like Fredette has been rotting at the end of the bench all year. He got the first crack, and he was averaging 25 minutes a night early on.
Smart did address Jimmer’s play and ‘education’ recently, noting that he was hurt by missing time with the team during the NBA lockout. Smart noted that Jimmer will be learning more about the point guard position during the summer, and also critiqued Fredette by saying that he actually needs to be ‘selfish’ more.
If you read my posts at this time last year, you know I root for Jimmer as much as anyone. But I also know Jimmer’s not in Provo anymore. He has graduated from beating up on the Mountain West Conference. Jimmer is in the NBA, and the Association is a harsh place, even harsher than the prison inmates Jimmer used to ball against. The NBA is the best of the best, and only the strongest survive – and there are only 400+ players who get to live out this dream at a given time.
Maybe Jimmer develops, maybe he just bounces around the league as a 3-point specialist for the next several years, which is still not bad work if he can find it. And he still has his mark forever etched as a collegiate legend.
I’m not going to rag on TJ Fredette too much. He obviously supports his brother, and apparently overcame some serious health issues some years back, and he also seemed surprised that his tweet towards Smart got so noticed.
But before tweeting TJ, face the facts. The NBA, like virtually any other profession, is performance-driven: prove yourself, help your team win, and you’ll see the court – simple as that.
And it may take Jimmer Fredette, his family, and his fans, some patience before he achieves that at the pro level.