Jimmer Fredette has done nothing but destroy opposing defenses for the past three seasons, yet all he hears is how his defense and athleticism are “below average” for the next level.
While that’s the natural thought of any white scoring guard at the college level, the truth is he measures up extremely well to the competition, as he displayed very good athleticism at the NBA Draft combine drills, showing great agility, strength, and lateral quickness.
His solid showings in individual team practices on both ends of the court are only helping his stock, as well. Once thought to be merely an offensive asset, Fredette is quickly convincing NBA GM’s that he has the balance and versatility to be a solid starter at the next level.
NBA Position: PG/SG
What Fredette lacks in elite size and athleticism, he makes up for with an unflappable jump-shot and endless range. His natural scoring ability is unmatched by anyone in college basketball right now, and is arguably one of the best scorers the game has seen in some time. His 52-point barage against New Mexico this year is evidence of that.
While his athleticism is not on an elite level, he can still compete on a high level and score with ease against supposedly superior defenders. He’s excellent at creating space, getting his shot off, and understanding proper shot selection (in accordance to his range).
Fredette’s main strength is his jumper, but his game doesn’t stop there. He possesses an above-average handle and an ability to penetrate and get to the rim, and almost as important, get to the free throw line and convert at a regular rate.
Despite having an excellent three-point shot, he doesn’t fall too much in love with shooting from outside, as he’s grown very comfortable with handling the ball, shooting an array of inside shots, and can even post up smaller guards.
Because of his less than ideal height, Fredette has been forced to switch to the point guard position, and has seen tremendous progress as a true passer and play-maker.
If he’s not penetrating and scoring himself, he’s creating for others. He’s a fairly versatile and truly all-around balanced player, as he rebounds the ball very well for a point guard, and has averaged over four assists per game over the course of his four-year college career.
Fredette also has solid bulk and a good frame, making him stronger than many opposing point guards, giving him the ability to handle the banging of penetrating into defenses. While not a freak athlete, Fredette has exhibited decent explosiveness with an ability to dunk the ball and get by his defender with a tremendous switching of gears.
From an offensive stand-point, Fredette is nearly perfect, and is even further ahead of many players because of his superior conditioning and stamina.
Fredette is an elite scorer with an NBA jumper, and has the ability to play both guard spots. However, scouts fear that his size and “average” athleticism will cause him to struggle against elite NBA guards.
The funny part about this is that it is still a fear/belief, despite it already being proven wrong. Fredette’s measurements and athletic drills compared extremely well to the other top point guard prospects, with no evidence of a major gap in ability in any major area.
Even beyond his athletic “limitations”, Fredette still powers his driving game and one-one-one offense behind his great strength and awareness. He uses his body and dribble better than most offensive players in this draft, giving him a solid advantage of most people who defend him.
Overall, his numbers aren’t of a guy who can’t handle his own, athletically. However, he does not appear to possess natural explosiveness. While he can get to the rim and create for others, this is still a skill that needs refinement.
The only true knock on Fredette is the natural thought that he won’t be able to consistently beat point guards off the dribble and play elite defense at the next level.
Regardless of any issues with Fredette’s athleticism or level of competition, there is no ignoring his uncanny ability to put up points, while keeping his teammates involved and winning games.
NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry
Draft Projection: Lottery Pick