For those who follow college basketball, we all remember the 2010-2011 season. “Jimmermania” they called it in Provo, Utah on the campus at BYU. Whenever Jimmer Fredette scored a high number of points versus opponents, Cougars fans would often chant “you got Jimmered!” The chant first broke out on the night of Jan. 26, 2011 after a 43-point performance, leading his squad to an upset against No. 4 San Diego State, handing the Aztecs their first loss of that season. That night, even Kevin Durant, arguably one of the NBA’s best scorers, took notice of the Aztecs getting “Jimmered”
Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 27, 2011
After a senior year averaging 28.6 points and 4.3 assists per game and keeping the BYU ranked in the top 10 AP poll to end the season, Jimmer finished the season as the nation’s leading scorer. It wasn’t to anyone’s surprise he won the 2011 Naismith College Player of the Year award, an award with pretty high honors — beating UConn national champion Kemba Walker for it — one that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Bill Walton had won during their college years.
When NBA Draft day came, all but one team was seriously sold on whether Jimmer could bring “Jimmermania” to the next level. For those who followed the NBA Draft, we all remember the Sacramento Kings being so sold on him that they even worked out a three-team trade during the draft, demanding for the Milwaukee Bucks to select him for them with the 10th overall pick. What happened next? Merchandise sales shot up more than 540 percent, immediately selling out of No. 7 jerseys in the Sacramento area.
For a top 10 NBA Draft pick and a college national player of the year, no one really expected “Jimmermania” to continue in the NBA. In his first two seasons in Sacramento, he averaged 7.4 points per game in an average of playing just 16:32 minutes per game. At the beginning of this season, the Kings declined to pick up his fourth year team option making him an unrestricted free agent after this season. Jimmer may consider himself a point guard, but is behind in the Kings rotation behind starting point guard Isaiah Thomas who the Kings had drafted the same year with the last overall pick, and is even playing behind rookie shooting guard Ben Mclemore this season. Currently in his third year, Jimmer is averaging a career low 5.7 ppg playing in just 11.7 mpg. With Isaiah Thomas’s career stats rising, it became an easy decision for the Kings to decline Jimmer’s fourth year player option in his rookie contract.
So where does Jimmer go from here? Obviously his game doesn’t seem to be translating with the big boys. The days of getting “Jimmered” are long history, and if Sacramento doesn’t trade him this season, Jimmer will have to find a new specialty, a way to become a threat to teams from scoring the ball consistently to improving his speed, ballhandling, and passing ability.
He needs to slowly work his way back into a rotation with the goal of becoming an NBA starter. He could certainly take some notes from NBA vet J.J Redick on how to prolong an NBA career, but the clock is ticking. His time as a King is coming to a dead end.
If not traded before the end of this season, which team will give Jimmer his next shot? For him to succeed at this level, here are five potential NBA teams where he may find success.
1. Orlando Magic
Yes, we all remember which college player has a similarity… who started their career here and eventually proved he belonged. If Orlando can groom J.J Redick to become a scorer off the bench to becoming an eventual NBA starter for the Magic, Jimmer can follow the footsteps of the former Duke Blue Devil, who was also the Naismith College Player of the Year in 2006. Back at BYU, Jimmer proved he could score and shoot from NBA range. When given an opportunity, he must prove he can be a spot-up shooter and consistently knock it down from long range. After two disappointing seasons, there will be little room for error. Jimmer will need to prove himself fast in Orlando if he wants to perhaps be their next J.J Redick.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
They are the worst team in the NBA right now, and perhaps will be for the next few seasons. If Jimmer were to be traded now, what better opportunity would there be to pad your stats than on a tanking team? Over the past two seasons, Bucks fans have seen Scott Skiles, who was one of their more successful coaches in recent years, disappear. They’ve seen the heart and soul of the team, and also former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut, get shipped away to success in Golden State. They’ve seen their dynamic backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis split for different teams before this season. Even for a backup point guard spot, it shouldn’t be too hard to outplay Nate Wolters, right?
3. Los Angeles Lakers
For those point guards looking to prove they belong, what better coach is there to have than Mike D’Antoni? As Jimmer sees himself as a point guard at this level, history shows us we’ve seen some point magic happen in D’Antoni’s offense, being the man behind Linsanity and Steve Nash‘s two MVPs. Since taking over the point guard spot in L.A, we’re seeing former lottery pick and D-Leaguer Kendall Marshall starting to play like he belongs. Marshall is averaging 12 assists per game over the last seven games since taking over as the Lakers point guard spot. Since Jimmer sees himself as a point guard, it would help for him to play in an offensive system that he can control. D’Antoni as his coach would be a great fit to showcase his talents.
4. Boston Celtics
Just like he played in college, Jimmer sees himself as a point guard at this level. If he wants to play the point, he could learn to establish a passing game from one of the best passers in the game today, Rajon Rondo. Every point guard needs to be able to run a team and distribute the ball. As of now, Jimmer backs up Isaiah Thomas in Sacramento, and is even playing behind rookie Ben McLemore at the two spot. Thomas, McLemore and rookie Ray McCallum are all young guards competing to keep their spot for an NBA future with the Kings. If traded to the Celtics, Jimmer could perhaps be the backup point guard, as Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless are much more comfortable at the two. Playing for a rookie coach looking to establish his name, Jimmer could probably earn playing time off the bench as long as he gave his full 110 percent effort each night.
5. Utah Jazz
Of course, this has to be a possible destination for Jimmer. There’s no place like home. The Utah Jazz decided to opt for Enes Kanter with the third overall pick in 2011 instead of keeping “Jimmermania” in the same state. However, there is no denying the fanbase for him in Utah. A ton of Jimmer fans come to Salt Lake City to support the kid who put BYU on the map during his college days. During Jimmer’s rookie year before the Kings’ first road game at Utah, Isaiah Thomas spoke about Jimmer’s return, saying, “It’s unreal, he’s like a God out there, he really is. I’ve seen people cry over him being next to him… that’s like some Michael Jackson stuff.” As the Jazz are looking to get their fanbase excited about basketball again, why not take a chance on the local college sensation?
Where can Jimmer salvage his career?
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