Jimmer Fredette remains much more a cultural sensation than one on the NBA court. He’s still the pride of Glens Falls, N.Y., where he was a high school star. He is still revered like few others in Utah, a positive public model for many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as the Mormons).
But on the court for the Sacramento Kings last year, he looked like a rookie who has work to do to get his game to fit in. He shot 36 percent from three (where he took nearly half his shots) but he struggled in a ball handler’s role. And on defense.
Fredette thinks his sophomore campaign will show his game does fit in the NBA. He told the Deseret News that a large part of it is mental — he got married this summer and he thinks that support system will help him.
“Mentally, I’m more prepared.”
He said he’s worked extensively on his offense and defense, worked to create space and get his shot off quicker and worked on the pick-and-roll — a play he must master at that level.
“I’m working on making floaters and other things that have to be a part of my game. I’m better than a year ago, my skills are better and I’m excited about the season and being part of it.”
We’ll see. Isaiah Thomas has emerged as the starting point guard in Sacramento and Tyreke Evans will get time with the ball as this is the season where we see if and where fits in (probably, for his sake it better be).
But there are minutes there, minutes to be grabbed. But Fredette is going to have to earn them. If he really is better mentally prepared, that is a big start down that road.
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.
Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.
And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.
Three thoughts here.
1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.
2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.
3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.