Mar 02, 2014 3:18 PM EST
With the Sacramento Kings buying out Jimmer Fredette’s contract, the Chicago Bulls took a flyer on the third-year guard out of BYU. After a disappointing start to his professional career, it’s still premature to write him off from becoming a productive NBA player. This change of scenery was needed and Fredette now has a chance to prove that he belongs in the NBA.
Fredette was an absolute scoring machine coming out of BYU. In his senior season, he was a consensus National Player of the Year after he averaged 28.9 points per game on 45 percent shooting and led BYU to a 32-5 record along with a Sweet 16 appearance. He broke the Mountain West record for points in a career and currently ranks 34th on the Division I all-time career scoring list.
As the 10th overall pick in 2011 ahead of Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Iman Shumpert, the 6-foot-2 guard faced some lofty expectations in his rookie season. He struggled early on since his knock-down jumper that was in range after crossing half-court in college was no longer consistent. Fredette shot only 36 percent from three and averaged 7.6 points per game in 18.6 minutes of action. His following year was better, as he averaged 7.2 points in 14 minutes on 42 percent shooting from deep, but he didn’t seem to be in Sacramento’s long-term plans.
The Kings drafted guards Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum earlier this season and Fredette was limited to 11.3 minutes per game. In his limited time, however, Fredette has shown glimpses of becoming the type of player some had expected.
Fredette is averaging 5.9 points per game in his reduced action while shooting 48 percent from the field and 49 percent from three. His 16.8 Player Efficiency Rating ranks 20th among point guards this season, while his 56.6 percent effective field goal percentage ranks fifth.
Although this could be a very good move for both sides, Fredette should not be expected to suddenly begin to justify his lottery standing. He isn’t a good defender and struggles keeping quicker point guards in front. In addition, it’s still unknown whether he can play the point guard position or if he may only be successful off the ball. But with Tom Thibodeau running the show, Fredette’s offensive game gives him potential as a key bench player at either guard spot.
“The more shooting you have, the more it opens up the floor,” Thibodeau told Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. “We want to open things up to attack off the dribble, with our cuts, things of that nature. We feel that is an area of need.”
Chicago is scoring just 101.3 points per 100 possession (28th in NBA) and shooting 34 percent from three as a team. But with the second best scoring defense in the NBA, Chicago is fourth in the Eastern Conference standings and is on track to have homecourt advantage in the first round.
“I’ve seen that he’s got talent,” Taj Gibson told Marc Stein of ESPN. “It’s just that the team he was on, he never really got a chance to do much because they’ve got the characters on that team where they don’t seem too serious, you know what I’m saying? Playing on strict, good teams kind of brings the best out of a player.”
As Fredette dons a new uniform, it will be interesting to see if Thibodeau and the Bulls can find a way to utilize him within their system. Talent is only visible through opportunity; and Fredette could seize his opportunity very soon.
Feb 22, 2014 1:25 PM EST
Thursday at the NBA trade deadline, we saw a total of 26 players, seven second round draft picks, and zero blockbuster trades. On Friday, we covered how the 10 players that ended up on West teams will shape the playoff race, and now we are looking at the 16 that were sent to the D-League…whoops, I meant the Eastern Conference.
While the Western teams made a few smart, calculated trades to improve depth (Steve Blake to the Warriors) and cut costs (possible buyout for Jason Terry from the Kings), the East had the biggest deals of the deadline. The East deals included the only two All-Stars dealt (Antawn Jamison and Danny Granger), the two best players (Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes), and the smartest player (Professor Andre Miller, PhD).
The Brooklyn Nets traded their disappointing – but playoff tested – guard, Jason Terry, for the Sacramento Kings' disappointing – and never played in a playoff game – guard, Marcus Thorton. Thorton, who once averaged 21.3 points per game, is a solid sixth man and capable of scoring in bunches when needed though he has struggled badly this season. He will likely provide relief for Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson down the stretch of the season. However, adding his extra $730,000 in salary means paying a ridiculous $3.3 million in tax, bringing their total to over $88 million on taxes alone…for a team that won’t get out of the first round.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for 76ers' center, Spencer Hawes. He will likely anchor their team right to where they were destined to be before they traded for him…the lottery. Hawes is a talented 7-footer who leads all centers in three-pointers made and percentage, is an elite passer for his position, a good scorer and rebounder, and a capable body on defense when he cares. Forced to play on a hapless Philadelphia team, Hawes had no reason to try over the past few months, but as he heads into free agency this offseason, expect his production to go back up for the Cavs. Despite the addition of Hawes and recently acquired Luol Deng, this team is unfortunately still coached by Mike Brown, suggesting they are likely doomed to miss the playoffs and then ultimately lose Hawes and Deng to free agency for nothing.
Professor Andre Miller, PhD left his classroom for winter break on December 30th and has been M.I.A. ever since. However, after being traded to the Washington Wizards, you can rest assured Professor Miller will be making a teaching once again. Miller, who was restless under indecisive rookie head coach Brian Shaw will be a capable backup behind John Wall, likely helping lead this Wizards team to homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Charlotte Bobcats made a good deal at the trade deadline. Say it with me: “The Bobcats did something right.” They traded valuable but redundant point guard, Ramon Sessions to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Jeff Adrian for Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal. Ridnour is a terrific backup point guard who can play behind or with Kemba Walker, while Neal is an outstanding shooter who won an NBA Finals game last season by scoring 24 points in 25 minutes!
In the only move that might affect the NBA Finals this season, the Pacers trading former All-Star forward, Danny Granger to the 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Turner is a do-it-all forward who has fallen out of favor league-wide because he has failed to live up to the hype of a second overall pick. Turner should play with the first unit as well as anchor the second for the Pacers. His ball handling will allow George Hill, Paul George and CJ Watson to get free and take uncontested shots while giving them insurance –albeit expensive at an $8.7 million qualifying offer or whatever long-term offer he receives – in case Lance Stephenson leaves in free agency. Additionally, Allen started in the playoffs only two seasons ago and is a capable big man off the bench. Most importantly, Larry “The Legend” Bird signed off on this trade, thus, it must be great.
The last set of trades involved the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks. Each team gave up players that weren’t part of their future and received cash, second round draft picks, and laundry service for a year in exchange for helping another team out. The Heat traded Roger Mason Jr. and cash for a pick they will likely never see in order to open a roster spot for Caron Butler (Tuff Juice wants to go home!). The 76ers, who were involved in a league-high four deals during the trade deadline ended up with five second round draft picks and five players that won’t be buying property in Philadelphia. Finally, the Hawks acquired Antawn Jamison from the Clippers and enough cash to take him out to a nice dinner before buying out his contract.
Compared to the four West teams that made a deadline deal, eight of the top ten Eastern franchises made a deal with only Chicago and Detroit remaining inactive. Whether this reflects the fragility of the Eastern Conference standings (5th place through 11th is separated by just 5.5 games), or the strength of the mighty teams in the West (3rd place in the East would be 10th in the West) is anyone’s guess. With that said, all these moves outside of Indiana and Miami are moot because none of them are making the Eastern Conference Finals.
Indiana Pacers Vs. Miami Heat, Round III starts May 20th – Get ready, America!
Dec 14, 2013 2:42 PM EST
- “Fix It” is a series that shows how each NBA team has the potential to improve, focusing on how team success can be built over the long-term instead of simply year over year. The ultimate goal is to create a team capable of winning consistently for a decade.
#thereturn didn’t turn out exactly how Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls envisioned it, and they’re facing another season without their former MVP. Coached by one of the best defensive minds in the NBA, Tom Thibodeau, this Bulls team has to reestablish the dominant defensive presence that led them to the second round of the playoffs last season without Rose. This roster is full of veterans. Even without their star, they are still capable of making the playoffs, and possibly even getting out of the first round again.
The Good: The Bulls have the best defensive coach in the NBA, elite defenders at four positions, and a defensive system that always puts them at the top of the table in terms of points per possession. The Bulls have also collected a number of useable assets. They own Charlotte’s first round draft pick this season (top-10 protected); one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference in Joakim Noah; two fringe All-Stars on expiring contracts, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer; and Jimmy Butler i.e. the next Kwahi Leonard. With these assets, the Bulls control their own destiny. They can push toward the playoffs by trading for a starting point guard while waiting for Rose to return, they can trade some older assets for draft picks and young guys with potential, or they can decide they no longer want to build around Rose and hit the reset button by trading everyone but Noah and Butler. While these are not the best options, the Bulls should feel lucky they have so many.
The Bad: Who scores on this team? Without Rose to penetrate and kick, this team has no one who can create his own shot off the dribble. This team is going to need Butler to become much more assertive on offense, something that does not come naturally to him. While I do think Butler has potential to be a solid scorer in the NBA, asking him to be your third scoring option behind Boozer and Deng is a tall task. They still have weapons and a chance to be very good, but without someone to penetrate, the most likely scenario for this team is a first round exit out of the playoffs, a far cry from the championship aspirations they had only a few weeks ago.
The Fix: In order for this team to have success, they’re going to need to find someone who is capable of penetrating in the lane and creating his own shot. Internal candidates, Marquis Teague and Kirk Hinrich do not appear to be the solution. Teague is very inexperienced, and Hinrich is over-experienced (old). Instead of going after Nate Robinson (last year’s Rose-Replacement), who is unlikely to be traded this early in his contract; this team would be smart to shop Deng and his expiring contract to Phoenix in exchange for the multi-year contracts of Goran Dragic and Channing Frye. Dragic would be the ball handler they so desperately need and Frye could come off the bench with Taj Gibson to form a devastating bench duo.
Oct 29, 2013
The following 30 questions are the biggest issues facing each NBA front office as the 13-14 regular season begins.
Oct 08, 2013
Under Impact trainer Joe Abunassar, Dexter Pittman participated in workouts to increase his stamina, elevate his conditioning, and heard perspectives from the NBA veterans who would work out inside the facility.
Aug 16, 2013
Great drafts for the Rockets, 76ers, Nets, Warriors, Hawks and Grizzlies headline this complete rundown of the 2013 offseason.
Jul 01, 2013
With the 2013 NBA offseason underway, here is a primer on what all 30 teams are facing.
Jun 28, 2013
Breaking down all 30 teams by category of how they fared in the often surprising, never disappointing 2013 NBA Draft.
May 20, 2013
One fun component of the Amnesty rule is that we know exactly which players are eligible for it and that number can only decrease over time since the players had to have been under contract with the same team before the new CBA.
Apr 21, 2013
The Bulls and Nets finished the regular season ranked as two of the slowest paced teams in the league, preferring to operate in halfcourt sets. As much as anything the series appears to be shaping up to be defined by health and interior scoring.
Apr 19, 2013
The Bulls finished the season 5-5 over their final 10 games. While the record is disappointing, they know they're much better than they've played. Leaving the regular season behind, the Bulls are looking forward to getting the playoffs started and reminding everyone what they're capable of when healthy and focused.
Apr 10, 2013
Tom Thibodeau has found a balance between minimizing Nate Robinsonís erratic play while maintaining his infectious high-energy play.
Feb 21, 2013
The Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Thunder and Cavaliers have been the most active teams at the deadline over the past decade, while the Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Lakers and Pacers have made the fewest deals.
Feb 04, 2013
Gaining the trust of Tom Thibodeau has been a process for Jimmy Butler, and last year he concentrated on showing the coach that heís always ready. Butler got off to a slow start this season, admittedly passing up shots and playing tense. Nevertheless, his minutes gradually increased, and his confidence followed.
Dec 28, 2012
For a brief moment last offseason, coming back to the Bulls looked like a realistic possibility for Keith Bogans. Ultimately, Bogans believed re-signing with the Nets fit him best.
Nov 25, 2012
Brandon Jennings set a serious tone from the tip and played an excellent game Saturday, going for 23 points, seven assists and five steals, carrying the offense with Monta Ellis missing 10-of-17 shots and Ersan Ilyasova again disappearing.
Nov 10, 2012
The Bulls remain strong defensively as expected, but scoring points without Rose will determine if the Bulls bounce around .500 this year or contend in the upper half of the Eastern Conference.
Nov 01, 2012
While the drop-off from the Heat to the rest of the Eastern Conference is severe, the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder have quick company in the second and third tiers.
Nov 01, 2012
Mark Bartelstein hoped for the Bulls to meet somewhere in the middle of the two sidesí offers, and once he got a respectable proposal to take back to Taj Gibson, both player and agent discussed terms of the deal in a tense, cramped Bullsí locker room.
Oct 03, 2012
Thomasí NBA aspirations are still upbeat, but itís unmistakable that he is excited about the opportunity to play overseas. This will provide another challenge for him to meet, and heíll have immense support.
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