Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Jimmer Fredette is once again tearing it up in China, averaging 38 points a game (fifth best in the league), shooting 51.2 percent overall and 46.7 percent from three. He is a former Chinese Basketball Association International MVP and a two-time All-Star.
And once again, he hopes this will turn into a chance in the NBA. From Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoopshype.
I want to have another opportunity in the NBA because there is some unfinished business for me there. After this [Chinese] season is over, I want another NBA chance. This time, I’ll succeed. I feel really good about how I am playing. I know that if I get a chance, I will take advantage of it and be successful and help a team win… I know what it takes to win and I’ve helped lead teams to winning cultures. I want to be a part of a winning culture. I’m going to help the young guys get better. I can be a great fit on the locker room and on the floor at a high level. There are certain times when I was younger, I was occasionally more passive. This time, when I get that chance, if I get it, they’ll know that I will do whatever I can to help my team win.
Fredette has a fan base here in the states, but I am weary of these stories. This is the journalist equivalent of a two-inch gimme putt — put the mic in front of Fredette and ask him if he wants to be an NBA player. But people are talking about it, so let’s address it head-on.
Fredette’s window is very likely closed, in part because he’ll turn 30 before he can sign the next contract and that late in the season teams looking to add a bench guy/shooter are more likely to sign a young player they can develop (and control the contract of for longer).
Fredette had his chances. He spent five seasons in the NBA after being drafted No. 10 out of BYU, but could not stick. There were multiple reasons for that. On the court, Fredette struggled on defense, plus he was not an NBA-level playmaker. Teams’ larger concern was that Fredette was not willing to accept a role — at BYU he was the guy with the ball in his hands making all the plays, he was not that in the NBA and didn’t adapt well to the change. Maybe a more mature Fredette now would accept that role, but teams are not likely to pay to find out.
In China, Fredette has the ball in his hands again, and the CBA is a terrible defensive league, so he tears it up. .
Has Fredette’s game and mindset evolved, and has the NBA game changed enough that this time it could work? Maybe. But don’t expect a team to pay to find out.