This past season was all about The Jimmer. I'll admit I caught the fever, heading out west on two separate occasions to get a firsthand look at the BYU star who had become the face of college basketball.
He was fun to watch with his unlimited range, uncanny array of moves around the basket and stone-cold smile.
But I'm worried about the Jimmer. I mean, legitimately concerned.
|Without a huge advantage on offense, Jimmer Fredette's defensive deficiencies will be harder to ignore. (Getty Images)|
But getting past New Mexico's Dairese Gary, arguably the top perimeter defender in the Mountain West, just isn't quite the same as having to try and circumvent Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook or Rajon Rondo.
I mean, The Jimmer struggled against Florida's Kenny Boynton -- a future overseas player -- in the NCAA tournament.
According to nearly everyone I spoke to in attendance in Las Vegas last July, Fredette was eaten up a year ago when he was part of a select group of college players chosen to help prepare the NBA guys for the world championships.
The NBA is a long way from Provo and the Mountain West.
I'm not sure there's truly a guy in the NBA that Fredette can guard, but obviously that won't be why he gets on the court. However, if he's a complete liability -- as he was on that end of the court in college -- he won't get playing time.
In college, his offensive skills were clearly superior to nearly all of his opposition. At the next level, there won't be much of a gap -- if there's any at all.
The Jimmer supporters will attempt to point to his porous defense as a result of remaining out of foul trouble or trying to conserve energy.
The kid averaged a little more than one foul per game (1.3, to be exact), so you can toss that one out the Marriott Center window -- and as far as trying to save his wind, just watch the end of any close game and Jimmer's hands still don't raise above his waist.
I know it sounds like I'm a Jimmer Hater, but I'm not. I would love nothing more than to be wrong on my assessment and for Fredette to be a star at the next level.
I loved him back from the days I saw him play AAU ball in the spring and summer with the Albany City Rocks. He's a great kid who was terrific for college basketball this past year, saving what was a subpar regular season void of high-powered teams and players.
|NBA Draft 2011|
I believe Jimmer Fredette will be a better-than-most-believe professional. Read >>
The ESPN highlights were scintillating because he always had three or four jaw-dropping shots. But what about the rest of the game, when guys were blowing by him and BYU coach Dave Rose had no other option but to go to a zone defense?
That was virtually ignored by ESPN.
Since the day that put him on the national map, way back on Jan. 26 against San Diego State out on the West Coast, Fredette made more than half of his shots just once in a game. In his final 15 contests, he had more turnovers than assists.
Those numbers aren't worthy of a future NBA point guard, but that's what he has to be at the next level -- because he's un-athletic (at least by NBA standards) and stands 6-feet-2.
Just imagine Rondo or Westbrook -- or even worse, someone with the length and athleticism of LeBron James or Tony Allen -- given the assignment of checking The Jimmer.
Fredette might wind up being a lottery pick, largely due to this year's lackluster draft depth. However, in an ordinary year, he would be fortunate to go in the first round.
He'll be a competent reserve guard, maybe a rotation guy.
But for those such as my colleague Gary Parrish ready to pencil him in as a worthy lottery selection, I have a few words of advice:
You're gonna get Jimmer'd.