Jimmer Fredette couldn’t crack the rotation in New Orleans last season, playing just more than 500 minutes all season long for the team on the rise in the West. When he did get in he wasn’t very good — the one thing he’s known for is shooting, but he hit just 18.8 percent from three (well below his career 38 percent mark). It made you wonder if his time in the NBA was over.
Then the Spurs called.
Fredette has a partially guaranteed deal going into Spurs camp and the chance to make the roster as their latest shooting guard reclamation project. And because it’s the Spurs it comes with a little respect and the feeling “maybe they are seeing something nobody else is.” Fredette admitted to the Deseret News that he was surprised the call came, but he thinks he can make it work.
“It’s an awesome opportunity. When I got the phone call, I wasn’t expecting this opportunity at all. It is something I’m grateful they offered me and it showed they want me on the team. They don’t offer people for no reason. They see a type of guy they want and they go after (him) and I’m glad I’m their type of guy….
“I’m coming in with the expectation that I’m going to have to work as hard as I can to get playing time and work my way in the rotation. One thing I do know, if I’m on the team, they do give guys rests. So, I will have the opportunity to play and I think it is my type of basketball. I think I fit in the system really well, and I love the guys. They are really competitive, but they want to help you help them win games. I’m excited to be part of that kind of culture. I couldn’t ask for a better situation and I hope I can continue to work hard and play well.”
Fredette is going to have to play better and stay within the system to make this work. No doubt Fredette can shoot the rock, that was never the question, it was everything else that has held him back. He’s not the point guard/playmaker at the NBA level he thinks he can be. More importantly, his defense simply has to improve if he’s going to make the Spurs roster. In New Orleans, the second he stepped on the court the opponent started running plays right at him. If you can’t defend within the team system, you don’t play for Popovich.
But Fredette has the best chance he’s ever going to get in the NBA, the Spurs see something. We’ll see what he does with it.