by Drew Corrigan
Now, before I begin typing I just want everyone to know that the only team I endorse Jimmer going to is the Philadelphia 76ers. But, no one would listen to me if I wrote an article on that, so I’ll remain realistic here.
Jimmermania seems like it happened ten years ago, but we are just four years removed from shots like these. Most of the NBA landscape has forgotten about Jimmer and how lethal he can be. Let me remind you, he can still do things like this. While dunkers lose athleticism over the course of their careers (sigh, Jason Richardson and Vince Carter), shooters can always shoot. Jimmer was the victim of the dysfunctional franchise that is the Sacramento Kings, pegging a whopping average of 15.0 minutes per game in his two and a half seasons with them. His minutes dropped every season, reaching a career-low 11 minutes per game this season.
You know the funny thing about all of this? Jimmer’s shooting percentages went up from the field, from three and the free-throw line every season with the Kings. Jimmer only connected on 36 percent of his shots from deep during his rookie season, which is still impressive considering that is right around the league average. Of course, his shots are down — but that just means he’s taking advantage of every opportunity that came in Sacramento. Not to mention, it’s hard to find shots on a team that is constructed with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Boogie Cousins and Rudy Gay.
This season, Jimmer is shooting 48 percent from the field and 49 (!) percent from down town. Uh, who wouldn’t want that? Essentially, Jimmer is a low-risk, high-reward type of project at this point. Per David Aldridge and Sam Amick, Fredette has “strong interest” in the Chicago Bulls. With the way the Bulls offense has looked this season, this sounds like a match made in heaven. Basketball heaven that is.
Does Jimmer Fit?
The Bulls currently hold the fourth spot in the East at 31-26 and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. However, they could easily fall from fourth seed to eighth in the blink of an eye in the East. The Hawks held the third seed in the East for the first quarter of the season, but now are barely in playoff contention as the eighth seed. It appeared the Bulls were packing it in after shipping Luol Deng to Cleveland, but the two franchise have gone in complete opposite directions after the trade.
Does Jimmer to the Bulls make sense? You better believe it.
The Bulls proudly own the worst offense in basketball, scoring a whopping 92.9 points per game. Couple this with the 28th-ranked pace (90.6 possessions) and you have a basketball team that is capable of lulling any baby to sleep. Who needs warm milk when you can just watch D.J. Augustin play 30 minutes per game? The Bulls offense is lethargic, torpid, lifeless, and any other synonym you can imagine.
Chicago is 27th in three-point percentage this season, converting on 34 percent of their attempts from there as a team. Of course, Jimmer makes sense in Chicago. It’s been evident since the second that Derrick Rose went down once again that this team lacked the scoring punch that would be necessary to salvage their season. There was no Nate Robinson to be found this time. The bulk of the scoring load has been predicated through a balanced attack by Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and D.J. Augustin. However, none of these guys can really knock a consistent shot down from long range. Mike Dunleavy was brought in to do that, but he’s shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep.
The Bulls defense is the least of my concerns with a Jimmer Fredette signing — the second-best defense in the NBA will be just fine giving minutes to Jimmer. His shooting will add tremendous value to a team that looks about as painful as a root canal in their half-court offense. The Bull’s roster doesn’t consist of anyone that can really play the two guard role, especially as a spot-up shooter. With a team that has so many bruisers inside, the addition of Fredette would give them all more space to roam in the paint. Just throw the ball to Noah and then wait for him to kick it out to Jimmer for a trey ball. BANG. If the Bulls sign Jimmer, expect this to become common.
Chicago needs scoring desperately and Jimmer can provide this at a highly efficient rate. He’s not the savior, he may not even turn out to help Chicago at all if he signs with them. However, the Bulls are running out of options with only a few months left in the season. It’s too late to pull the plug on this season, so the Bulls have to push forward for the playoffs. The worst-case scenario is that Jimmer becomes a role player who comes in and hits a couple three’s every game. I might be in the minority here, but I still strongly believe that Jimmer Fredette can have a successful and meaningful career in the NBA. I’m not talking about the Hall of Fame or anything, but someone who’s hitting close to 50 percent of his shots from deep HAS to catch on somewhere. He’s never received the appropriate minutes his whole career. Jimmer deserves at least one REAL shot in the NBA before we declare him a bust. Chicago has the minutes to allocate to Fredette, so let’s hope this happens.
Plus, having Jimmer in Chicago would actually make me want to watch the Bulls in the first-round. Who knows, maybe Jimmer Fredette can recreate the magic that Nate Robinson found in a Chicago Bulls uniform last year?