Entering the NBA for the Sacramento Kings’ Jimmer Fredette must have been daunting.
He was greatly heralded in college (BYU) and had a huge following (“Jimmer-mania”) that it may have been ranked up there with “Beatle-mania.”
But his rookie season in the NBA was flat. It was not terrible but just up-and-down. But if anything, the shortened season may have been what Jimmer needed heading into his second season.
See, there was no NBA Summer League, a hastened training camp and was practically tossed into the proverbial fire of the NBA.
Averaging 7.6 points, and 1.8 assists in 61 games in 18.6 minutes, it is quite evident these numbers were a far cry from his averages in college.
In an interview with poststar.com, Fredette reflected on his rookie season and spoke on the biggest adjustment for him in the NBA and the Kings’ coaching change (from Westphal to Smart) lending to his adjustment.
“The toughest part was the change in role we all had from one coach to another,” Fredette wrote in an email interview. “Even the style of play changes and you have to find your new role.”
“I never sat out an entire game before,” Fredette told The Sacramento Bee on Feb. 5 after the two straight DNPs. “Not even in high school, unless I was hurt or something. But I’m just trying to be a good teammate. I’ll keep working and finding ways to get better.”
The key for Jimmer is patience. Again, it was a truncated season and he did not get to have an extended training camp heading into his first season. With a full season on the way, play in the Summer League, and a full training camp, Jimmer is sure to see a spike in his contribution to the Kings in his second season.
Moreover, he definitely needs to work on his game.
For someone known to be a dead-eye shooter heading into the NBA, Jimmer shot 39 percent from the field, and 36 percent from the three-point line for Sacramento. Also, he needs to develop the ability to score in the paint such as a floater a la Tony Parker. In the paint he shot a paltry 24 percent (16-66). But even Fredette knows his game needs much work in the offseason.
“I need to work on pick and roll situations both offensively and defensively, and making sure to keep my dribble alive,” Fredette wrote.
With patience and keeping confidence high despite the numbers he averaged in his rookie season, I am sure the Kings will still feel good about a possible resurgence of “Jimmer-mania.”