Jimmer Fredette is Tim Tebow. Both are ripped, good looking white dudes with illustrious college credentials. They both appear to have the same girlfriend, too. That's so weird both guys went for hot blondes; what are the chances?
(That's Jimmer on the left; Tebow below right)
Yet because they're white we are all pretty sure they're going to suck as pros. Or because they're white we can say with some certainty, "Not very athletic. Makes the most of limited athletic ability. A coach on the floor" or any number of the standard cliches tossed around to describe the white athlete on the high level.
The Broncos rolled the dice on Tebow as a first rounder, and it may yet hit. I had zero idea on Tebow, but leaned against not because he's white with a weird throwing motion but rather because the statistics say most quarterbacks aren't that good. But he can be a pro. Same as Jimmer. It just depends on your expectations of what type of pro.
"So much of it is system oriented. Personnel oriented. Coaching oriented. It's like that for everybody," TCU men's basketball coach Jim Christian told me today when I called him for Jimmer talk. Christian's team did a decent job of defending The Jimmer this season. "There are very few guys who can have their same college role in the NBA. It comes down to - who takes them and what is expected?"
Some NBA team is going to Tebow tonight's NBA draft and take Jimmer in the lottery, thereby creating unrealistic expectations. Lottery guys are expected to be "great". Jimmer will be a pro.
I saw him play twice in person. My thought was, "Great college player. Loved that he stayed. Insane range. Will be able to eventually learn how to create his own shot. Can't guard a tree."
Jimmer is a two-guard listed at 6-2. That's not good in the NBA world. People keep comparing him to Orlando guard J.J. Redick. Why? They're both white, and all white guys must be compared to white guys. But Reddick appears a bit stronger, and he's 6-foot-4. That makes a difference. Drop the idea that Jimmer can be a point. By now, you're a point or you're not. Jimmer plays to score, not to distribute.
"The key is to keep him off the foul line. Once he gets there and starts to get into a rhythm he's really hard to stop," Christian said.
Where Jimmer is going to be killed is guarding opposing guards. The way the NBA is called these days, Jimmer does not have the lateral quickness to stay in front of these guys. Most guys don't.
"That is obviously the question for him, and he'll understand that's going to be his ticket," Christian said. "If he can prove he can do that he'll stick. He's going to have to re-invent himself, they all do. The NBA is a different game. Guys that score in college maybe don't defend every possession in college because they know they're going to play 40 minutes."
Jimmer is a scorer, and he will eventually be able to score some in the NBA. But as Don Nelson once said of all great college scorers in the NBA, "Can you win with them scoring for your team?"
Basically, is your team going to be any good if this guy is scoring your points?
"He's not going to be a primary scorer in the NBA. None of these guys are right away," Christian said. "His game is going to have to grow. He will have to adjust and show what he can do. The guys in the NBA, their games grow. One thing I will tell you is the numbers generally translate. If a guy is a shooter, great rebounder or passer in college he can do that in the NBA. The game doesn't lie."
Which will make The Jimmer a pro. Just not a great one.
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