Named MVP in China, Jimmer Fredette reportedly eyeing NBA return in March

Former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette was named International MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association on Tuesday, and now he’s looking to get back into the NBA, per The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Fredette played four games for the New Orleans Pelicans and two games for the New York Knicks last season after starring in the NBA D-League and then signed with the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA. 

Fredette has averaged 37.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals for the Sharks, shooting 47.7 percent and 40.4 percent from 3-point range. No one came close to him in International MVP voting. Shanghai is in the first round of the playoffs, and Fredette could sign with an NBA team once it is eliminated. The question is how much his awesome season in China has changed his reputation in the States.

It has always been clear that Fredette can score, especially in the D-League, summer league and overseas. He is a gifted shooter with almost unlimited range, and he is at his best when he is being extremely aggressive. The problem is that, at the NBA level, teams have been reluctant to give him free rein to shoot whenever he wants. It’s difficult for him to create separation against the best defenders in the world, and it’s tough for him to score over length on the inside. All of this is before we even get to the biggest problem: defense. 

Fredette might get another shot in the league, and maybe he’ll be able to duplicate the kind of production he gave the Sacramento Kings in 2013-14, when he played 41 games and had a true shooting percentage of 58.4 percent. The Kings bought out his contract in February of that season, though, and he hasn’t been able to carve out a consistent role for himself in the NBA since then. 

One team that could use him as a floor spacer off the bench: Pelicans, who are short on shooters to support DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Fredette didn’t exactly have great experiences playing in New Orleans or playing with Cousins in Sacramento, though, so it might not be the best possible destination for him.  

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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