Tag: Jimmer Fredette

Monty Williams, Austin Rivers

Pelicans’ Austin Rivers: “This is my year”


Last season Austin Rivers took a step forward in every aspect of the game, all the way up to “almost serviceable backup guard.” That may sound a little harsh, but watching Rivers play his rookie year two seasons ago was harsh. Last season his finishing at the rim got better (but still needs work), he became good at catch-and-shoot threes, his defense improved (but needs work), even his free throw shooting got better (although, shockingly, it still needs work). He got thrust into more minutes when Jrue Holiday got hurt and Rivers by the end of the season became a guy you could play against the other team’s reserve guards and usually hold your own.

Now entering his third season, Rivers says he’s ready to make another leap.

Rivers has been healthy all off-season and said all the right things about taking the next step, speaking to John Reid at the Times Picayune.

”I was constantly working the entire summer,” Rivers said. ”I gained 10 pounds and I’ve got stronger in my upper body. This is my year….

”I’ve strictly worked on mid-range and getting my body stronger this summer,” Rivers said earlier this week. ”I’ve got both of those things and I’m ready to prove and show people that this year.’’

The midrange game is something that needed work, it’s a key reason Rivers had a well below league average true shooting percentage of .482 last season (missed free throws hurt here too). Rivers has a good first step to go with great handles, so he gets into space or to the rim well. His problem was he’d pull up for midrange shots and clank them, or he’d get to the rim and draw contact but wouldn’t finish (53 percent shooting inside 3 feet) or hit his free throws (63 percent). Getting stronger to absorb some contact would help, and he’s got to knock down the freebees.

Rivers needs to improve just to fight for his minutes. Holiday is back and healthy and he will be the starting point guard. Behind him it will be Rivers and Russ Smith battling for minutes, with Jimmer Fredette in the mix too. Last season Rivers got minutes at the two (about 21 percent of his playing time) but if Eric Gordon and veteran journeyman John Salmons stay healthy those minutes will dry up.

The bottom line is the Pelicans with Anthony Davis are poised to make a leap this season into playoff contention in the West (I think they can make it if any of the teams above them in the deep West slip a little). This is a team on the rise and if Rivers wants to be there for the ride the former No. 10 pick has to prove it now.

Rivers needs to establish himself as the backup point guard on this team because the Pelicans have decisions to make about what to do with him long term. In a couple years he could hit the market as a restricted free agent and if he wants a little security and bigger pay checks his game has got to take some more steps forward.

Report: Pelicans reach one-year deal with Jimmer Fredette

Orlando Magic v Chicago Bulls

Jimmer Fredette couldn’t win over a series of coaches — Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Mike Malone and Tom Thibodeau —to give him big minutes in Sacramento or, late last season, Chicago.

He’s going to get one more chance.

The New Orleans Pelicans need a shooter to replace Anthony Morrow and they are going to give Fredette a chance with a one year deal, something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN. This would be for the league minimum.

Without a doubt, Fredette can shoot the rock, he’s a career 40 percent from three. The problem is at the other end of the court — the second he steps on the court other teams go at his defense. That is what glues him to the bench. The Bulls desperately needed shooting last season but Thibodeau wouldn’t trust him enough to put him out there for extended stretches.

Fredette has gotten another chance. The Pelicans are a good team and one in need of a marksman. We’ll see if the rest of Fredette’s game has improved to the point he can show off that shooting skill set.

Report: Greek team Panathinaikos to make run at Jimmer Fredette

Orlando Magic v Chicago Bulls

Is it time for Jimmer Fredette to consider picking up a bigger paycheck in Europe?

A number of readers just screamed “NNNOOOOO!” There are a lot of fans out there convinced the former BYU star is just not getting a chance, the man is holding him down. They pick their spots and point to specific games — hey, on April 14 Fredette had 17 points to lead the Bulls bench against the Magic, he deserves more of a chance.

But don’t you think the fact four coaches — Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Mike Malone and Tom Thibodeau — will not put him on the court much when the game matters says a lot about Fredette’s game? The question isn’t if Fredette can shoot, he can, but it’s the other end — the second he steps on the court other teams go at his defense. He’s not good on that end. To put it kindly. That is what glues him to the bench.

Fredette is a free agent and likely will take a minimum (or close to it) deal to latch on with a team and try to get his chance. But he has other options, as Sportando notes.

Fredette’s game may fit better overseas.

I don’t think he lets his NBA dream go just yet. He can shoot — career 40 percent from three — and that skill will get you chances. Maybe he can improve his defense enough to get off the bench. But if things don’t change, Fredette may eventually need to consider a payday overseas, where he would be a highly-valued, higher-priced player.