Jimmer to the Jazz: The Pros and Cons

July 23rd, 2013 | by Denim Millward

jimmer

 

When it comes to hypothetical situations, none tears Jazz nation asunder more quickly than mentioning “Jimmer Fredette” and “Utah Jazz” in the same sentence.  Normally put aside in favor of a shared Jazz fandom, either side of the BYU/Utah “Holy War” froths at the mouth either for or against Utah making a play to add the former BYU wunderkind and adopted son of Provo.

Because I’ve had a brother attend and graduate from each of the Holy War participants, I’ve come to consider myself as something of a Switzerland regarding the Ute/Cougar rivalry.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit a slight leaning towards BYU, as that was the first school a sibling attended, thus garnering my interest for a longer period of time.  Nonetheless, I hereby declare myself an impartial observer of the situation, and have committed myself to looking at the move purely from a basketball standpoint.

The Pros:

While some of the luster has certainly faded, Jimmer maintains cult hero status in the Beehive State, making him the best investment-per-dollar the Jazz could make from purely a marketing standpoint.  With what appears to be a rocky season ahead, bringing the Jimmy Chitwood of Provo back to Utah would certainly generate buzz and inject some excitement into a potentially otherwise lackluster year.

From his rookie year to last season, Jimmer’s field goal and three-point field goal percentages both increased.  Though still only shooting 42% from the floor, his 41.7% from three was more than respectable.  Jimmer would likely see an increased number of open looks from deep playing within Utah’s flex offense, which is more conducive to his playing style than the unique sets run by the Kings, which appeared to center around DeMarcus Cousins getting angry and Marcus Thornton chucking it at will.  Also bolstering the hypothesis that a move to the Jazz would improve Jimmer’s statistics is the fact that thus far in his career, his playing time has been less reliable than a recently rear-ended 1973 Ford Pinto.

Dennis Lindsey’s desire to utilize the remaining cap space to acquire additional assets via taking on an unwanted contract could be a way to get Fredette without giving up anything other than the cap space Lindsey was planning on giving up anyway.  Though my fellow SCH blogger Dan Clayton believed the Kings were not high on the list of likely teams wanting to pay to dump salary, the Kings may be willing to part with Jimmer if it also means jettisoning an undesirable player/contract, such as Travis Outlaw.

Have you seen the Jazz’s bench lately?  To say it could use some additional depth is an understatement.

 

The Cons:

Jimmer’s fame/infamy in Utah, while bringing in additional interest, could prove to be too potent, to the point where warring factions of fans booing or cheering when Fredette checks in could put a damper on or completely overshadow other more important aspects of the game, such as the development of the key Jazz players.  Would Lindsey & Co. really want to bring in such a polarizing player that would usurp the spotlight from Favors, Hayward, Burke, Kanter and Burks, esq.?

Yes, the current Jazz bench is shallow, but where exactly would Jimmer fit in?  It certainly wouldn’t be in place of Alec Burks, whose prominence figures to rise the most significantly next year.  Would Utah play Jimmer over new acquisition Brandon Rush, who boasts a very similar three-point percentage while providing better defense and athleticism?  This also seems unlikely, leaving only the possibility of Fredette playing a backup point guard role.  Fredette’s pedestrian 3.4 assists per 36 minutes raises questions about how effective he can be as a floor general/facilitator in the NBA, especially considering he was a pure scorer in college.  While Jimmer probably has a little more upside than newly-inked Jazzman John Lucas III, Lucas is a better pure fit at the reserve point guard slot.

The Verdict

Acquiring Jimmer Fredette would be a reasonable roll of the dice for the Utah Jazz.  In the ever-evolving NBA game, you can never have too many 41% three-point shooters.  As no other three point specialists are available for that price, nor do they have the instant buzz generating capabilities and name recognition that Fredette garners in Utah.  As Sacramento is also under the cap, the asking price may end up being too high, depending on how desperate the Kings are to shed salary, either to get further under the cap or to take on another player via trade.

Yes, bringing Jimmer to play in the half-friendly confines of Energy Solutions Arena has some Tebow-ish potential to command an undue amount of notice. I would anticipate the hullabaloo to die down in a relatively short amount of time, making the move a solid, yet unspectacular one in terms of basketball impact.

Denim Millward

Denim Millward

Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
Denim Millward

11 Comments

  1. Clint Johnson says:

    Interesting take. I’m also on fairly neutral ground: raised by a BYU family, married to a U of U student who may do her grad work at BYU. I think Fredette’s value as a player is higher than his perceived value across the league. To shoot those percentages in so few minutes (15 a game) is really impressive. So I like the idea of nearly any team snatching him up at this time given his current cost.

    Except the Jazz. At his best, Fredette is a more consistent Randy Foye, which would be enough anywhere but here. I’m not as convinced as you that the fervor about him would die down quickly, if at all. I suspect he would remain a love/hate player his entire career. That would make this an exceptionally difficult place for him to play, where half the fans believe he should play more, no matter what, and others believe he is getting unfair favoritism, no matter what. Given the response of other, more important players, the pressure on media to highlight him, and the stress of having to play about his ability to justify all the furor, I’m afraid it would set him up for failure. I’m I’m the Jazz, I think it is is both Fredette’s and the franchise’s interest to make sure never the twain shall meet.

  2. Roy Smith says:

    Jimmer fan(atic)s would outweigh any potential pros he might bring to the team, IMO.

    Fredette has great shooting potential, and he’s sure to sell tickets, but his pros stop right there. No defense, not a pass first PG, volume shooter, doesn’t set up teammates well, and shouldn’t play ahead of Burke/Burks.

    I’m with Clint on this. Hope he gets a chance. Hope he does well. Hope it happens anywhere but here. I can’t stand to listen to my father—a diehard BYU fan—go on about how Jimmer is the best player in the NBA, but he’s on the wrong team, and in the wrong system, and doesn’t get enough minutes to prove himself, etc. And I hear it from so many people from different directions, it makes my head spin. Jimmer fans seem to be full of unwavering support and unending excuses. I can’t imagine watching or maturely discussing the Utah Jazz with that type of individual.

    Please god, no to Jimmer Fredette.

    • EM GEE says:

      Your Father is right.:)

      For 2 yrs Keith “smart”abused Fredette and did all he could to mess with him mentally.
      AT one point in mid-season Jimmer Fredette was #1 in the NBA in scoring per minute for PGs…You think he might have earned a start or 30 minutes of playing
      time on the worst team in the league….”smart” hit him with some dnps
      Fredette scored more points per 48 minutes than Kemba Walker, Chris
      Paul, Kobe Bryant , Dwayne Wade and Damian Lilliard. More than Carlos Boozer , Chris Bosch and David Lee. …

      Fredette was tied with Monta Ellis. That marks hin as an elite scorer in the league. Only 5 other PG’s scored more points per 48 minutes…

      Fredette shot the 3 better than Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Ryan Anderson,
      Carmelo Anthony, Jj Reddick, Kevin Love, Manu Ginobli, Monta Ellis and Lebron James..

      he was 6th in the league in freethrow shooting for PG’s He is the 12th best in the NBA FT shooter overall.

      The interesting thing is Fredette is ALWAYS improving…Always working on improving and refining his game…Do the math and you
      have a Star just waiting for his chance…

      The “no defense” thing is a joke ….repeated by idiots who dont even watch him play..and those who hate him… he’s a great athlete that already plays decent defense.
      In fact look up Fredette’s highlights against the Cavaliers and watch Kyrie Irving try to shake Fredette. Irving gave him his best moves and could not get by Fredette.
      Fredette ended up blocking his shot..

  3. LarryMillersGhost says:

    Ive said it before: Jimmer may be able to hit a 3 from the Celestial Kingdom but could do very little else to save his eternal salvation. I say no.

  4. Alex says:

    Fredette would be a Tim Tebow on the Jazz: A distraction above all else. Tons of buzz and half the fans chanting his name whenever the starter is having an off night. The other half of the fans would boo the second he checked in. On top of that, he would bring nothing more than a below average NBA game that is not worth putting up with the nonsense.

  5. Brad says:

    Jimmer would be amazing in Utah. Give us the spacing we need and be a great pg. dude can assist well. Last year he was playing mostly the two so don’t let the numbers fool you. Dude isn’t going anywhere though. His new coach loved him in workouts and the trade chatter immediately died. We would be so lucky to get a player like Jimmer, but it ain’t gonna happen. Jimmer is a real Steph Curry like player.

    • Drew says:

      Where did you hear that Malone likes him? I’m just curious, as I haven’t heard anything about his workouts this summer. I agree that he’ll be Curry-esque when he actually gets the chance. They were identical in college, have similar bodies, and Jimmer actually showed more athleticism and strength in his combine results.

  6. justin swapp says:

    I’m not a BYU fan per se (I actually graduated from the U), but I’d definitely be interested in bringing in Jimmer to fill one of the Jazz’s traditional 3 guard spots.

    I acknowledge the concerns that surround him. Lack of defense, height/athleticism etc., but by the same token we all know he can play, at least on one side of the ball. That side of the ball is a big question mark for the Jazz this season. Least we not forget that when Big Al wasn’t in the game last year, there were certainly stretches where Utah couldn’t FIND someone willing to shoot, and sometimes just couldn’t score. It was strange.

    I don’t know that Jimmer was given a fair shake with the Kings. He was clearly at odds with the coach, lost playing time, and somehow became 3rd string. The offense isn’t one that suits his style, or frees him up to be effective, leveraging what he’s actually good at.

    Utah’s flex-style offense really creates multiple options at any given time, which would open Jimmer up. Plus, with Kanter and Favors surely drawing all kinds of attention down low, that should really open things up for shooters.

    So, assuming Jimmer has grown from his challenging circumstances (had to figure out how to play in an offense not configured for him at all, do more in fewer minutes), I think we should take a chance on him.

    I mean, this is going to be a bit of a throw away season anyway, right? It will be painful (as in growing pains). Why not take a chance on him. I have a feeling it would pay off. It would breathe new life into him as a player, given that he has so much support here. He would instantly be in a better place. Also, he might give Trey Burke someone to truly compete against, and motive to become the player he can be.

    Oh, and Jimmer mania. You have to admit it would add another interesting dimension to this soon-to-be-funky year.

    I’d go for it.

    P.S. – If they did sign Jimmer, it would be all the more reason to go out and get Stockton to come back as a temporary coach like Malone, and spend some time with the guards.

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