Stud by Dylan Murphy
He’s already got the one name moniker that has penetrated the furthest depths of the basketball universe. He’s got the killer crossover, the pull-up three. If there were ever anyone to personify Gus Johnson‘s famous “Rise and Fire,” it’s Jimmer. He’s got the on-court flare, the off-court humility and the swagger to carry a dreadful combination of poor rebounding and minimal outside shooting to the Sweet 16, and nearly the Elite Eight. So who’s to say he can’t be an NBA star as well?
I understand the naysayers. He’s shoot-first. He’s a tweener. He has J.J. Redick and Kyle Korver written all over him. At worst, I’d agree. But at best, we’re looking at another Stephen Curry. Their college career paths are remarkably similar, along with their styles of play. It wasn’t Curry’s athleticism or handle that facilitated his graceful slithering in and out of opposing defenses. It was an eclectic combination of head fakes, hesitations and superb court vision that allowed him to outmaneuver the overly aggressive and physical defenders that define college basketball. The NBA is full of the worst and best kind of this bunch: supremely athletic defenders obsessed with SportsCenter-type swats as opposed to staying in front of their man. This is what Jimmer is primed to take advantage of.
For those questioning his sometimes sub-par shot selection, fear not. Sitting in the middle of his team’s scoring pecking order will force Jimmer to temper his trigger-happy right hand. Don’t expect him, however, to completely overhaul his game. The NBA has often proved that college stars do not adjust well to a minimal NBA role (see Adam Morrison). That said, Jimmer will not become a chucker. He’ll pay his dues at first, providing an off-the-bench scoring explosion. Once he displays his potential, he’ll unleash the full power of his superior basketball intelligence.
Will he be a top NBA player? Probably not. But basketball IQ is an underrated facet of NBA scorers. A thunderous LeBron dunk may look more impressive, but a simple pump fake leading to a short jumper is just as effective. That’s how Jimmer will make his money.