Photo by Ron Nabity
Originally published on SacramentoPress.com Nov. 8, 2012
Second-year guard Jimmer Fredette is making the most of the limited playing time that remains ambiguous he’s getting due to a deep Sacramento Kings bench.
Fredette has seen his minutes cut down with the acquisition of point guard Aaron Brooks, who is now backing up Isaiah Thomas, a position Fredette assisted with last season. Fredette has appeared in three of the Kings five games, averaging just 8.3 minutes per game after averaging 18.6 minutes per game last season.
Head coach Keith Smart understands the challenge ahead of him in trying to keep the guys pleased with their playing time.
“It’s going to be a hard group to make sure everyone gets an equal time, and it’s not going to happen,” Smart said. “We’ve got too many good players that want to play. Some guys will play some nights, some guys don’t. The bottom line is we’re all in it together for one thing and that’s for our basketball team, the Sacramento Kings.”
Fan-favorite Fredette came in against Detroit to a loud ovation on Wednesday night and finished with 12 points in 15 minutes in the Kings 105-103 win over the Pistons. With the coach emphasizing being prepared at all times, Fredette has taken advantage of his appointed minutes by averaging 7.7 points in his 8.3 minutes per game this season thus far.
Fredette attributes his improved play and raised comfort level on the court this season to a productive offseason.
“I’m a lot more comfortable. I had a really good offseason: worked very hard, did some great things, just worked on my game and didn’t worry about anything else besides just trying to get better,” Fredette said. “I think I feel a lot more comfortable and it shows and I feel a lot better out there and I’m ready to continue to improve.”
The young guard didn’t enter the game Wednesday night until the second quarter and dropped five points on two jump shots in the first minute. Smart stuck with his second-year guard in crunch time in the fourth quarter as Fredette was able to take advantage of the minutes by hitting a big three-point field goal and two clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds to secure the Kings victory.
“You just have to be ready, you never know when you’re going to play and have that opportunity,” Fredette said. “But when you do have that opportunity you have to take advantage of it as much as you can. You can’t go out there and play lackadaisical and not be ready to play or else you’re not going to get back on the floor. You’ve got to be ready to play and earn your minutes, hopefully i’ve been doing that.”
Fredette has improved his shooting average this season as he is shooting 57 percent from the field this season as opposed to just 38.6 percent last season. While he has been more selective in his shot choices, he has also been able to knock down the open shot - an ability that the Kings could use as they’re shooting just 41 percent from the field.
Guard Tyreke Evans has been pleased with the energy that Fredette, in addition to Brooks, has provided the team.
“Jimmer and Aaron Brooks came in and did a great job off the bench and I think that’s what has been the spark for us so far,” Evans said.
Smart knows that energy guys with a strong work ethic like Fredette are what help build a team.
“The guy stays ready all the time,” Smart stated about Fredette. “He plays a game; he doesn’t play a game. I’m trying to find the right situation for him to get in the game. I thought he kept his mind right, he was at practice early working out prior to practice. He stayed with the right spirit on the floor and was able to make some big plays for us. That’s the kind of guys you got to have as your team is growing.”