Can Jimmer Fredette make it in the NBA?

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Know this: Jimmer Fredette can shoot the rock.

Don’t believe me? See what NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant (who has had workouts with Fredette) tweeted:

Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!

Everyone loves BYU’s Jimmer the day after he dropped 43 on previously unbeaten San Diego State.

But can he make it in the NBA?

He’s going to get his chance, but he’s got a lot of work to do.

DraftExpress.com has him going 13th overall, in the late lottery. (This is very early in the draft scouting process, how players perform in the high-pressure end-of-year conference and NCAA tournaments, individual workouts and more will shuffle that deck considerably.) Here is part of their scouting report:

A controversial prospect, Fredette has one of the most impressive offensive packages in college basketball, but may lack the athleticism needed to translate his skill-set seamlessly to the next level.

Or this is what DraftExpress’s head honcho Jonathan Givony was tweeting during the big game:

Many question marks about Jimmer Fredette’s defense and whether he can play the same type of role in NBA, but when you can score like that…

Talking to people there seem to be three paths here, three prolific college scorers without the ridiculous athleticism seen at the NBA level who represent how Fredette could fare in the NBA: J.J. Redick, Adam Morrison and Stephen Curry.

Morrison’s NBA saga is well documented, but do not forget what a great college player he was. Morrison struggled to score with the same efficiency at the NBA level, and his lack of athleticism hurt him on the defensive end, which spiraled into him getting less and less court time. Up to the very end Lakers players would say how well Morrison shot in practice, but when thrown out into game situations it was everything else that held him back.

Redick worked ridiculously hard to turn his game into something that works at the NBA level. Redick put on muscle and worked tirelessly to become a better defender — and now he is a plus defender. The Magic aren’t trying to hide him on that end of the floor. The Magic system — with Dwight Howard in the paint and Jameer Nelson’s penetration — is a great complement to Redick’s catch-and-shoot skills. It took time but he has made it and got a payday out of it.

Then there is Curry — a player whose ridiculous ability to score makes him valuable despite the Warriors having to hide him on defense. Well, they would have to hide him on defense if Golden State cared about that end of the floor.

Fit matters, as Givony also tweeted:

If Fredette goes to a team like Golden State, I could see him being an unbelievable player. But on Orlando, Boston, Spurs, he’d never play.

This much we know — he’s going to get a chance somewhere. What he does with it will be interesting to watch.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.

PBT Extra: LeBron, Cavaliers even series but Celtics far from dead

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If you want to make the case that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the driver’s seat of the Eastern Conference Finals after sweeping two games at home, you’re in a good space. It’s a best-of-three and Cleveland has the best player on the planet on their side.

However, I still like the Celtics to hold on and win in seven.

I get into it in this PBT Extra, but the Celtics looked like a team that figured things out in the final three quarters of Game 4 (they just couldn’t make up for a disastrous first quarter), and they still have two games at home.

Either way, this feels like a series going the distance.

Did the Warriors deal Rockets a knockout blow in Western Conference finals?

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The Warriors beat the Rockets by 41 (!) in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.

Biggest playoff win in Golden State franchise history.

Biggest playoff loss in Houston franchise history.

Biggest playoff loss ever handed to any team as good as the 65-17 Rockets.

“At the end of the day, it’s one win,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “It doesn’t matter if you win by 40 or if you win by one.”

Maybe it matters more than Green is letting on.

Golden State was the 17th team to -win a playoff game by more than 40 points. Of the previous 16, 15 – including the last 14 – won the series:

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The only exception came in my favorite playoff series of all-time, the best-of-three 1956 Western Division semifinals:

  • Game 1: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
  • Game 2: Minneapolis Lakers 133, St. Louis Hawks 75
  • Game 3: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115

So, teams to win a playoff game by more than 40 are 15-0 in best-of-seven or best-of-five series. Will the Rockets buck the trend?

They can make adjustments. Maybe Houston’s strong regular season – better than any above blown-out team’s – indicates a rare capability to recover from this. Andre Iguodala‘s injury hurts Golden State. Teams sometimes make historic comebacks from blowouts, including against the Warriors.

But that Golden State ran toppled the Rockets so decisively in Game 3 suggests the Warriors are hitting a gear Houston won’t keep up with.

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell receive, Jayson Tatum one vote shy of, unanimous All-Rookie first-team selections

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The 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma were locks for the All-Rookie first team.

The final seemingly up-for-grabs spot? It went to the Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen, and it wasn’t close.

Here’s the full voting for All-Rookie teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, total voting points):

First team

  • Donovan Mitchell, UTA (100-0-200)
  • Ben Simmons, PHI (100-0-200)
  • Jayson Tatum, BOS (99-1-199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, LAL (93-7-193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, CHI (76-21-173)

Second team

Others receiving votes:

The first team matches our choices.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson are the only selections I’d quibble with. Those two were just so destructive with shooting efficiency and defense. To be fair, they were pressed into larger roles than they were ready for on bad teams. But if the goal is picking the rookies who had the best seasons (what I aim to do), Smith and Jackson didn’t cut it.

However, some voters give more credence to long-term potential, and Smith and Jackson both have plenty of that. Other voters are drawn by bigger per-game numbers, which Smith and Jackson produced in their larger roles. So, it’s minimally surprising they made it.

That one first-team vote for Jackson, though? That’s odd – and it was enough to get him on the second team by one voting point over Heat center Bam Adebayo.