Selecting Jimmer Fredette in the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft later this month makes absolutely zero sense for the New York Knicks. On the other hand, it would make a lot of sense for the New Jersey Nets.
Let's look at the scenarios for both teams, and why I believe Fredette fits or does not fit.
Jimmer Fredette and the New York Knicks
Fredette, the Glens Falls, N.Y. native and former BYU star, is the headline attraction at pre-draft player workouts the Knicks are currently holding. Other players at the workout reportedly include James Madison's Denzel Bowles, Marshon Brooks of Providence, Pitt's Gary McGhee, Michigan's Darius Morris and Washington State's Klay Thompson.
So, why should the Knicks use their first-round pick, 17th overall, on someone other than Fredette, the nation's leading collegiate scorer in 2010-2011 with an average of 28.9 points per game? Really, it is for precisely that reason -- Fredette is a score first play no defense guard who needs the basketball in his hands constantly to be effective.
The Knicks, of course, already have two All-Star score first and do everything else later players in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Both of those guys need the basketball, and the Knicks don't need a point guard dominating the ball and taking shots away from their to best players.
What the Knicks really need, as SB Nation New York's Joe Caporoso pointed out on Wednesday, is an interior defender. Caporoso wrote:
Fredette would be a popular pick considering his background and name recognition. Yet, this team isn't going to be much more than first round fodder if they don't focus on becoming more physical and defensive minded. Where are Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason when you need them?
I don't know if Dwight Howard will ever become a reality for the Knicks but at least for this off-season, they must concentrate on upgrading positions that were manned by players like Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams, and Jared Jeffries last year.
Fredette, just a shade over 6-foot, is considered a point guard right now. I'm not sure I see that. Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Steve Nash -- those are NBA point guards. Pass-first distributors who create opportunities for their teammates -- not a shoot first player like Fredette who creates opportunities for himself and passes when he has to.
The Knicks need to pass on Fredette. They have scoring with Anthony and Stoudemire, they still have Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas, and they have a promising young wing player in Landry Fields. They need to find toughness, shot-blocking and interior defense. Fredette, obviously, can't give them those things.
Jimmer Fredette and the New Jersey Nets
If Fredette were to slide all the way to New Jersey at No. 27 in the first round, or if the Nets were able to move up a few slots, Fredette is a guy I believe fits perfectly with what the Nets need.
But, you say, Fredette is a point guard and the Nets already have a star point guard in Deron Williams. To which I say I just don't see Fredette as a real NBA point guard. See what I said above about true NBA points like Williams and Nash. I see Fredette as J.J. Redick 2.0, an upgrade over the former Duke superstar making an adequate career with the Orlando Magic as a spot-up sharpshooter. Fredette is nearly four inches shorter than Redick, but he has the ball-handling skills and physicality to create his own shot at the NBA level, something Redick has never been able to do.
Beyond the Redick comparison, let's look at the Nets. They have Williams at the point, and they desperately need to add the right pieces to convince him to stay after the 2011-2012 season. They have a quality young post player in Brook Lopez, even if Lopez isn't sure what the word 'rebound' means. They have a tough, young power forward in Kris
Kardashian Humphries. What they do not have is reliable perimeter scoring, scorers to whom Williams can drive and kick the ball out.
Anthony Morrow averaged a career-high 13.2 points per game in 2010-2011, and in all honesty he would be a terrific weapon off the bench -- not playing 32 minutes per game. Sasha Vujacic, Sundiata Gaines and whoever else the Nets have on the roster as a two-guard just are not going to cut it as every-hight scoring options.
Fredette, I believe, can. He won't average 28 points per game at the NBA level, of course. He has tremendous range, though, the ability to knock down contested shots and is physical and resourceful enough to create his own shots despite his size. For the Nets, he is a perfect complementary piece to what they already have in place.
- Jimmer Fredette interview
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