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.