Back in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz ended up with 2 first round picks. They owned pick number 3 and pick number 12. At number 3, there really wasn’t much suspense as the Jazz selected Enes Kanter. Kanter didn’t get to play at the University of Kentucky due to eligibility reasons, but the Jazz took him and he has shown in most moments that he was a solid choice.
The Jazz had to wait a bit to see who was going to be left on the board when they were up at number 12. One of the players in the draft who was projected to go right around 12, was BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. Most Jazz fans, if not all Jazz fans, were hoping that the Jazz were going to have Jimmer fall right into their laps and take the hometown hero.
The Sacramento Kings ended up taking Jimmer with the 10th pick in the draft. The Jazz went on to select Alec Burks out of Colorado with the 12th pick. However, according to Brad Rock of the Deseret News, it wouldn’t have mattered if Jimmer was available at 12 or not.
Some say the trouble lies with the King’s coaches and front office. Maybe. But they aren’t alone in their assessment of Fredette as a role player. He was the 10th pick in a shallow 2011 draft. A source close to the Jazz says they wouldn’t have picked him even if he had been available with the 12th pick.
There is a scenario in my head that I wonder about on why they wouldn’t have drafted him. I think about Trey Burke being picked 9th overall in last seasons draft. The Detroit Pistons had the 8th pick and decided to pass on the Michigan product for Caldwell-Pope instead. Jimmer and Burke were both Player of the Year in college. Both had an opportunity to be drafted by an NBA team that played less than an hour from where they played college ball. The fact is that it’s a real risk to teams selecting a hometown player. There are a lot of expectations to live up to, and if it fails and doesn’t work, management has a headache on their hands.
Jimmer will end up being a unrestricted free agent this summer after the Kings decided to decline the option on his contract. Jimmer will be able to sign anywhere he wants to, and he is going to have interest from teams because he does have scoring ability, mainly off the bench. However, I won’t be surprised if the interest isn’t coming from the Jazz. Could they use Jimmer? Absolutely! However, if the Jazz wouldn’t have drafted him at the time, I don’t see them having much interest in him when he’s a free agent. Would he sell tickets? Absolutely! But the Jazz have stated they are building towards a championship, they’re not worried about selling tickets.
If Jimmer could get back to his college days and really become a scorer off the bench, I would see no reason why the Jazz wouldn’t be interested. However, he’s not going to get to that in Sacramento, and because of that, I don’t expect to see him in a Jazz uniform anytime soon.