As the NCAA men's basketball season comes to a close in the next few weeks, and it is increasingly more apparent that the Jazz will not make the playoffs, here are some thoughts on what they should do in the upcoming NBA draft.
Obviously it is early in the process and we need to wait to find out how the ping pong balls bounce. With the Nets pick that the Jazz got through the Deron Williams trade projected to be higher, the Jazz may have some flexibility at their own pick which should be around 12 or 13.
With no clear cut number one player like there has been in previous drafts, and the Jazz having a logjam in the front court, it is unlikely that they would trade both lottery picks to move up. While they will get a good player with the Nets pick, why not take a chance with the later pick. Sure, they could trade it away, but where is the fun in that?
That is where BYU's Jimmer Fredette comes in. Here is the tale of the tape on Jimmer.
You be the judge, and tell me what you think.
If you have watched him play, then you have a pretty good idea of these. Not only did he lead BYU to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 30 years, he led the nation in scoring with a 28.5 point per game average.
Here are some other things to think about:
Work Ethic: After his Junior year, Jimmer participated in an evaluation in the NBA draft process. He was told he would be a late first round pick at best. He worked hard his senior season and is now a potential lottery pick. He is willing to work hard and get better at any aspect of his game.
Long Range Shooting: Jimmer can hit shots from just about anywhere. He consistently hits from beyond the NBA three point line. Can you imagine his outside shooting opening up the floor for big men Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors?
Scoring: There is not a place on the floor that Jimmer can't score from. Long range, drives, pullups, pick and roll, and fadaways are all part of his game.
After he dropped 43 points on then 4th ranked San Diego State, NBA superstar Kevin Durant tweeted out
"Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!"
He later explained, "I had a chance to play against him this summer at my basketball camp, and he’s as good as advertised, especially against some of the top guys in the country," Durant said of Fredette. "He also played with us in USA Basketball and held his own. I’m a big fan." Not bad from the guy leading the NBA in scoring for the second straight year.
Fans may not have noticed many of these, but the NBA scouts do. While he is not scoring, what about these deficiencies in his overall game?
Defense: The biggest knock on Fredette is his lack of defensive ability. Everyone knows that in the NBA defense wins championships. Would Jazz fans see the return of the Carlos Boozer matador defense? This is the biggest factor in his not being a projected top 5 pick.
One NBA personnel director said of Jimmer's defense, "I think he's almost invisible defensively...I watched Jackson Emery (Fredette's backcourt mate at BYU) out there and he's guarding like one and a half guys. I don't think I've ever seen (Fredette) bend his knees at the defensive end."
Intangibles: While his basketball IQ is high, he is not much of a distributer and is a decent ball handler at best. If he plays the point, he will have a hard time matching up with the quickness of NBA point gaurds like Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Deron Williams. If he plays the shooting guard he will have to defend much bigger players.
Why should the Jazz draft him?
The answer here is simple. Why not? Really, what do they have to lose?
It is not like the Jazz are historically good at finding or keeping talent in the first round. (They do better in the second round, i.e. Millsap, Miles, Shandon Anderson) Since 1999 when Andrei Kirilenko was drafted, the Jazz have struck out overall in the first round. Sure they picked up some good players such as Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, and Eric Maynor, but they have all since been traded away. Only Kirilenko and last years lottery pick, Gordon Heyward, are still with the team.
Here are some not-so-notable Jazz picks over the last few years:
DeShawn Stevenson- He has had a decent career as a backup player, but in his best season he averaged 11.4 points per game. He was traded for Gordan Giricek who was in turn traded for fan favorite Kyle Korver.
Raul Lopez- The Jazz picked him with Tony Parker still on the board. I think his knee still hurts.
Curtis Borchard- He had two players traded for him on draft night. He hung around for four seasons, but struggled with foot injuries. He does have a career high of 12 points.
Kris Humphries- Kris is currently a member of the New Jersey Nets. He was drafted after only one college season but should have stayed in school. He was traded to the Raptors for Rafael Araujo. His biggest claim to fame is that he dating Kim Kardashian.
Kirk Snyder- The Jazz used a lottery pick on him and he only played in 68 games. He averaged more fights per game with Jerry Sloan than he did points.
Morris Almond- Amazing in the D-league, not much in the NBA. He does get a pass because he didn't get much of a chance to play in Jerry Sloan's system.
Kosta Koufos- Another guy that should have stayed in school. Koufos played in a few games, but always looked lost.
And to go back a little further,
Luther Wright- Unfortunately for him, off court issues got the better of him during his rookie season. He played in only 15 games, but is still getting a paycheck from the Jazz.
Martin Muursepp- Who? He was traded to the Heat after the draft for a pick that turned out to be Deshawn Stevenson.
Jose Ortiz- He played only about a seaon and a half. He was the PAC-10 player of the year in 1987, beating out Reggie Miller for the award.
Jimmer is a better player than each of these guys, and drafting him would do wonders for a franchise that lost a Hall of Fame Coach, traded away an All-Star mid season, and does not have a marquee player. I don't think that Jimmer would fill that role, but he would bring with him many fans in Utah that have already bought into Jimmermania. Why sell out a few games a season when he comes to town, when you can sell out all of the games with Jimmermaniacs.
He would have an immediate impact on the interest shown and business side of the franchise. His jersey would be the hottest selling item in Utah, and fans could continue to learn how to Jimmer. Besides, if it didn't work out, they can just trade him away like they have with most of their other first round picks, and we can add him to the list above.
Also to keep in mind is that nobody knows what will happen. Remember that John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assist and steals leader was also undersized and fell to the 16th overall pick. Jazz fans booed the selection but he turned out to be a pretty good player.
By no means should they use the higher pick on Jimmer, but why not take a chance with the other. It makes sense.
My vote is to draft him.
What do you think?
Should the Jazz take a chance and draft Jimmer Fredette? Who should they draft? What should they do with their picks?
How will Jimmer do in the NBA?
Leave comments and let me know.
Should the Utah Jazz draft BYU's Jimmer Fredette?
Yes (68 votes)
No (43 votes)
111 total votes