Scouting Report: Jimmer Fredette


Photo: Justin M. Bowen

With #9 BYU upending #4 (and undefeated) San Diego State last night, 71-58, I thought I’d take the opportunity to focus on BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette (43 points, 14-for-24 from the field) and look at him through an NBA lens. Everyone wonders what kind of professional player he’ll turn out to be, so read on to hear my take.

OFFENSE

On this end of the court, Fredette is clearly one of the most explosive scorers in the country. And it’s important to note, he’s a scorer, not just a shooter. He’s averaging 27.4 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. He shoots 48.2% from the field (which is outstanding for a guard who shoots so many threes) and 42.1% from long range. He shot 44.0% from 3PT last season, so these numbers are no fluke. He’s also outstanding from the free throw line, hitting 90.1% of his attempts this season. He was an 89.2% shooter last year.

He can score from all areas on the floor. He already has NBA range, and doesn’t need to have his feet set to get a good shot at the basket. His pull up jumper is accurate and he can hit it fading away as well. His upper body and core are strong which makes it easy for him to get his shoulders square even if his feet aren’t. He likes to use a wicked crossover going right to left and you’ll see a great example in the highlight package below. His strength also allows him to have a very quick release.

He has a good handle, but is sloppy with the ball at times even though he does a great job of splitting the double team on the pick-and-roll. With his upper body strength, he’s able to finish well at the hoop and is able to finish with either hand in a variety of ways. He also has an effective runner/floater which will be important at the next level where the defenders are going to be taller and more athletic. I’d definitely describe him as a “crafty” scorer.

He is a good passer in transition and made all the right choices on the break against SDSU. However, he is not much of an assist man in the half court. When he drives, he is typically looking to score, which makes sense given the makeup of the BYU team. In the NBA he will have to get used to setting other people up in the half court — right now, it’s a weakness. (He had zero assists against SDSU, but had a couple of “secondary” assists that led to buckets.) He has a tendency to get caught in the air and bail on his shot when a defender is in his face. At this level it usually doesn’t cost him, but in the NBA it will.

DEFENSE

He showed good awareness defensively against SDSU, so he’s not easily screened. He works hard when his man is coming off of screens, but has a tendency to relax and stand up straight when his man is not moving which makes him slow to react to help or closing out on a shooter. He is a willing help defender, but his defense is not his strong suit.

His on the ball defense is adequate at the collegiate level, but will be a problem in the NBA. He is likely have a problem staying in front of quicker point guards, but that’s true of most NBA defenders.

He is not much of a factor on the defensive glass though he’s willing to give up his body if the rebound is in his area. He does not go out of his way to clear the defensive glass and seems content to let his bigs do that job.

INTANGIBLES

Fredette is a fiery competitor and obviously loves the game of basketball. This typically leads to improvement over the course of an NBA career as many of his peers won’t work as hard on their weaknesses. He has room for improvement in the halfcourt as a playmaker, but it’s not a certainty that he will improve in that area. Court vision is a gift, and Fredette probably has it given his ability to hit the right guy on the break. It will require a change in mentality, however. At BYU, as he drives to the hole, he’s probably going up with a shot nine out of ten times. But if he’s playing point in the NBA, that will need to drop to 50/50-ish split, a la Steve Nash. He may never have the court vision that Nash has, but he can still have a productive NBA career.

NBADraft.net currently has Fredette slated to go #23 to Orlando. DraftExpress is more optimistic, and has him going #13 to the Suns. I believe Fredette’s floor is as a rotation player. He can certainly match up with the combo guards that are currently coming off the bench in the NBA. Given his age (21), his upside probably isn’t as great as his peers, but he has a head start on most of his draft class and should be able to contribute immediately to a playoff caliber team. If he’s able to become a better playmaker in the halfcourt and can figure out a way to stay in front of most professional point guards, he certainly could become a solid starter in the NBA. He’d likely thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system where he’s freewheeling, aggressive offense is far more important than his problems on defense.

In the right system, I think he’s a lottery pick. He actually reminds me another Sun; he’s sort of a right-handed Goran Dragic. Jimmer is a better shooter, but not quite the athlete that Dragic is.

Here’s a look at his 43-point game against SDSU:

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