Apr 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette (32) warms up before the game against the Orlando Magic at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Why now might be the best time to bring in Jimmer Fredette

With the Utah Jazz’s off season here and thoughts have shifted from the season to the NBA Draft and NBA Free Agency, it’s time that we start taking a look at some possible free agents that might be a good fit with the Jazz. Why not start out with the player that the majority of Jazz nation would love to see in a Jazz uniform?

Jimmer Fredette will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after he wrapped up his short stint with the Chicago Bulls, after they were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. Fredette was signed by the Bulls midway through this season after he was bought out of his contract with the Sacramento Kings, the team that drafted him back in 2011.

Fredette has had quite a rocky road in the NBA since getting drafted. The former national college player of the year out of Brigham Young University hasn’t really gotten the chance to show what he can do in the NBA. This season, Fredette only averaged 5.6 points per game, 1.1 rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game.

The Jazz are in rebuild mode after they spent this past season in the bottom of the Western Conference and look to draft high in the upcoming NBA Draft. Something that the Jazz will have next season will be a pretty solid starting five. The young core of Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter played very well together when they got the minutes. However, the minutes that they got on the court together didn’t really come until late in the season.

Depending on how things go in the upcoming NBA Draft, those five could quite possibly be the starting unit next year for the Jazz. If that is the case, the Jazz are going to be in some serious need of some bench help. The main thing that every NBA team needs off the bench is scoring. That is something that all Jazz fans know Fredette can provide.

If given the chance, Fredette has proven that he can score the basketball. If you look at Fredette’s per 36 minutes this past season, he averaged 18.9 points and 4.4 assists per game. Those numbers are a little bit above what he could actually provide off the bench, but if given a solid 25 minutes per game backing up Trey and Alec, he could possibly give you 10-12 points per game.

The downside of Fredette’s numbers that were ran for per 36 minutes was the turnovers. Per 36 minutes last season, Fredette averaged over three turnovers a game which is something you don’t really want your point guard doing, whether starting or coming off the bench. Another reason that Fredette had a tough time seeing the court over the course of his career is because he is not a great defender. He struggles moving his feet and his opponents blow past him to the hoop on a consistent basis.

Jazz general manager, Dennis Lindsey, is all about defense and turning the Jazz into an elite defensive team. If that is what he is focused on when he is adding free agents this off season, then Fredette will have a hard time getting a phone call from the Jazz’s front office. However, something that needs to be kept in mind is while the Jazz do need defenders, the also need guys who can score the ball, especially off the bench. As all Jazz fans know, Jimmer can do just that.

Jimmer doesn’t need to come in to play point guard necessarily. If the Jazz draft a guy like Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, or Andrew Wiggins, Alec could possibly be coming off the bench. Alec has proven that he can run the point for the Jazz. If he were to do that, the Jazz could put Jimmer at the shooting guard position. With Alec’s ability to create a lot of attention driving to the basket, adding a guy like Jimmer to float around the perimeter waiting for Alec to dish the ball back out for wide open shots could be a deadly weapon for the Jazz to add. Hypothetically, adding Jimmer, the Jazz’s rotation could be looking like this next season:

PG: Trey Burke, Raul Neto/Diante Garrett, Alec Burks

SG: Dante Exum/Gordon Hayward, Jimmer Fredette

SF: Gordon Hayward/Jabari Parker/Andrew Wiggins, Marvin Williams

PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans

C: Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert

Keep in mind that this is hypothetical and the Jazz will be adding free agents to the mix that will more than likely change this rotation dramatically.

I know the majority of Jazz fans have been begging for Jazz management to make a play for Jimmer. I also know that the majority of Jazz website’s, including ours, have written a lot of articles begging for the same thing. I just think that with the Jazz rebuilding and looking to add pieces that can help them win and grow with the core they already have, Jimmer needs to be in Utah. Also, if the Jazz hire a new head coach that really has a focus on defense and developing players to be better defenders, it could be beneficial for Jimmer as well. I won’t get my hopes up, but with Jimmer being an unrestricted free agent this summer, and you could more than likely get him for a pretty reasonable rate, there really isn’t a better time than now to bring Jimmer back to the state of Utah.

Tags: Jimmer Fredette Utah Jazz

  • polljc

    Jimmer would be a great strategic chess piece during the rebuilding process. Why, you ask? Despite his rep for marginal defense, he brings an element of excitement and fun the Jazz will need to put butts in the stands; he can be used in strategic situations to stretch the defense and spread the floor since none of our guys are proving to be close to Jimmer in shooting, despite some promise. Jimmer would be a piece that could prove a long term asset beyond rebuild or he may be a marketable trade piece after he plays a couple years and really establishes himself as a niche player. Seem stupid to for a team like us in rebuild to pass up on him and his weapons. I don’t know what his salary looks like so cap space is important but I think he’d bring much to the table. Color blind fans will be glad on the red guys will get used to it.

    • polljc

      P.S. Let’s not forget about the defensive play/energy (or lack thereof), of AD during the Layden build. AD was an amazing scorer with little defensive energy. He was what the Jazz needed during that build. Layden was a smart man.

  • wyocard

    I’ve never been too keen on Jimmer with the Jazz because of the garbage he would have to endure from some of the fans there. But, strictly from a basketball standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. His much maligned defense has improved measurably, even since he joined the Bulls. He is a scorer in search of a team that needs a scorer and the Jazz are definitely that. And, he definitely has a loyal fan base in Utah, even if U of U fans can’t forgive and forget. Jimmer is going to have a breakout year. It might as well be in Utah.

    • DrewNusser

      The sick thing is that those U fans would probably boo him just as much as they always have, even after becoming their ally. That’s just based on the assumption that the same fans that booed a 6 year old and made him cry just for wearing a Fredette jersey would still be going.

  • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Maynard K

    Actually there is “a better time than now” to bring him in: Never. And yes, I am begging for that outcome.

    Because the yahoos in the stands would be chanting to bring this NBA stiff into games he has no place being in. Nice kid, can shoot lights out sometimes, but no rotational place on a contending team.

    PS: No, Alec has “not proven he can run the point” – not well at least. That would give you an out of position converted point and a slow of foot no-D flinger at the two guard. Just what the team needs. To sell a few season tickets before the season starts at least….

    • DrewNusser

      The slow of foot myth has to die. He has blown by plenty of guys, and had faster combine times (sprint and cone drill) than Lillard, CP3, D-Will, and multiple other “athletic” guards. His D isn’t elite by any means, but it’s not nearly as bad as most people say. He had average stats for Kings guards, yet nobody is saying they can’t play defense.

      His biggest, and only real issue, is his turnovers. To be a PG, you need to do better than a 1.4 or 1.5 assist/TO ratio. However, judging by his improvement every year, I don’t see any reason that this problem won’t be fixed, especially with a team that runs an offense (unlike the Kings).

      • polljc

        Larry Bird: Slow of foot. ;) No great athleticism. Not suggesting he’s “Bird-esque”.

  • Truth928

    Y’a ll are sleeping on Fredette. He is a Much better ball player than most people think….MUCH better.
    AND he only improves. Every year he becomes a better ball player . The sub par defense rag is over . He is an avg defender as of now and will become a plus defender soon. He has a Genius basketball IQ, is a Team first guy, Great attitude, is a Great passer and if my life were on the line he is the one guy on the planet I want shooting the ball to save it. He is a rare breed that has an uncanny knack to get shots off and make them in any situation..Any GM or coach that gives him a real shot will be greatly rewarded with a packed house and a winning team.

  • heatdust

    I’m sorry, but the perfect time for Jimmer to come to Utah was the beginning of this past season. With a very inexperienced roster, an injured Trey Burke at the beginning of the season, and a Kings team that didn’t even want him, the perfect time has come and gone.

  • markstoddard

    Have any whiners about Jimmer’s defense ever watched Harden play… excuse me… stand aside for defense? He’s awful. But scores.

  • mcastleton928

    It all depends on what the Jazz do in the draft and if/when they re-sign Gordon Hayward. Arguably, their 23rd and 34th picks are just as important as their lottery pick. Let’s say the Jazz get lucky and land one of the top 2 picks, making they get Parker or Wiggins. Who would then they look to take at 23? I would lie them to take someone like Cleanthony Early from Wichita State as a back up SF, making that they don’t re-sign Marvin Williams. Then, with the 34th pick, I would like them to take Nick Johnson from Arizona to compete for the back up PG spot behind Trey Burke. The Jazz then re-sign Gordon Hayward and bring over Raul Neto. They then go with this depth chart:

    PG: Trey Burke, Nick Johnson/Raul Neto
    SG: Gordon Hayward/Andrew Wiggins, Alec Burks
    SF:Jabari Parker/Gordon Hayward, Cleanthony Early
    PF: Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans
    C: Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert

    In that depth chart, is the any room for Jimmer? I don’t think so.

    • polljc

      I don’t think they have a chance for Jabari without a miracle and some horse-trades.

  • manskullsoup

    Jimmer is a bust. Watched him play for Three years in Sacramento. His lack of passing the ball, turnovers and Frankenstein legs were very frustrating to watch. Defense will key on him and blow by as he stands flatfooted. Four NBA coaches have tried this guy and he just doesn’t have it.

    • polljc

      I really don’t think anyone can say they watched him play in sac because he really didn’t. Putting him in as a 4th or 5th option isn’t “playing” a guy .

  • polljc

    What did “The Gunslinger” John Drew for the upstart Jazz during the Layden era? He didn’t come of the bench to play defense. He was Mr. Instant Offense. It forced the opposing team to shift and disrupted their flow. It gave the Jazz continued or new momentum while the starter rested without a DROP-OFF. He didn’t become a defensive liability because he wasn’t the starter and was inserted in the lineup at key times. Maybe Jimmer isn’t ever going to be a respected defender or maybe he will improve, but does he really need to be for this upstart Jazz team during the next coaching era? I think not.