Jimmer Fredette as a Phoenix Sun is intriguing but questionable

If Jimmer falls to the Phoenix Suns, is he the right pick?

Since ESPN’s Chad Ford released his first NBA mock draft (Insider) last week, there has been a quiet buzz on Planet Orange about who the Suns, a team not used to the lottery, might take.

As our friend Adam Green at ArizonaSports.com was quick to point out, Ford predicted the Suns will select Brigham Young point guard and college basketball sensation Jimmer Fredette.

First, we’ll acknowledge the fact that it’s still pretty early to make predictions so deep in the draft with about a month and a half until David Stern steps to the podium.

In fact, the draft order hasn’t even been determined yet (the Suns have a microscopic 0.6 percent chance at the No. 1 pick), so these kinds of things must be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, the suggestion that Fredette could end up in Phoenix undoubtedly makes for an interesting conversation at the least.

It creates a handful of questions worth discussing in an offseason that will provide considerably less to talk about than the last (excluding the whole lockout thing…). So let’s talk Jimmer.

Does Jimmer fit the Suns’ style of play?

In the context of college basketball, BYU played a high-scoring game somewhat similar to the Suns’. As Ford noted, though, it is Fredette’s skills that make him a fit for the Suns’ system, regardless of the style he played in college.

Fredette is a shooter, and the Suns’ style clearly values shooters. He has the long-range shot that has often dictated the Suns’ fate the last few seasons. He can also play an up-tempo game and score in bunches (at least in college — more on that soon).

The fits-for-the-wrong-reason argument is one certain to make Suns fans roll their eyes: defense. As in, Fredette doesn’t really play it or can’t. No, Steve Nash does not play defense either, but Nash is a proven star on the other end in the NBA. Fredette is not, which leads to the next question…

Will Fredette be a good NBA player?

No way to say for sure at this point, but there are a few past examples to consider. The two names that typically come to mind are J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison (in the “white guys who shot the three well in college” category). Redick had a slow start but has become a legitimate contributor. Morrison? Not so much.

There are plenty of other examples of college stars who couldn’t make it as a pro. Take former Sun Dee Brown, who led the University of Illinois to the NCAA National Championship Game alongside Deron Williams. Brown was a good college player, but spent little time in the NBA. Former Texas A&M point guard Acie Law is another good example. Since being taken 11th overall in 2007, Law has bounced around the league, largely as a deep bench player.

The conversion rate of college players to the NBA is so unknown that it’s hard to even guess. But given the right system, good college players with questionable pro ability can succeed (such as Tyler Hansbrough or Stephen Curry).

Adding to the intrigue in Fredette’s case is the legend that surrounds him. Rabid Jimmer fans have created a culture around him that his ability may not justify. However, it’s safe (safe?) to say the Suns won’t simply buy into hype (though picking a player like Fredette would certainly sell tickets, a la Tim Tebow with the Denver Broncos).

What would the Suns’ plans be for Fredette?

The Suns have insisted over and over that Steve Nash is not going anywhere this offseason. That may be true, but he will be gone eventually. Could Fredette be the next point guard in waiting on Planet Orange?

There’s no better point guard to learn under than Nash, and such a situation could make an NBA career more plausible for Fredette. The Suns’ front office brain trust undid all the work put into grooming Goran Dragic when they dealt him for Aaron Brooks last season.

What the Suns do with Brooks could affect how they draft, and the point guard situation is a whole other discussion on its own.

If nothing else, Fredette would sell some tickets and jerseys and get the fans talking. Right now, though, the Suns need much more than that. And besides, would the Jazz (predicted to draft before the Suns) really pass on Utah’s golden boy?

Tags: Brigham Young Jimmer Fredette Nba Draft Phoenix Suns

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  • Dan

    I’d like to see Jimmer as a Sun, but it says here that Utah won’t give us the chance.

    Something to ponder ….. was Nash really a pass first PG in college? Could Jimmer evolve into a playmaker with under Nash’s tuteledge?

  • Wierzbi

    Let the Suns collect fancy first names: first Zabian, next Jimmer, then… ??? ;)

  • Mark Becker

    No way the JAZZ will pass on this kid. So, draft an athletic in the paint, big 6’9″ or taller, REBOUNDER who can run, something the Suns have lacked forever. Draft a big, 6’7″, European 3 point shooter who can run. Why European? By the time these guys are ready for the NBA they ARE shooters if nothing else. Then, find from a second or third rate school a penetrating guard who has a good I.Q. and knows how to dish off when D’s collapse on him. Make sure this guy is not a prima donna, wherever he comes from or whatever his background is. I.E. THIS IS Nash Jr., in case you can’t match the description to the real thing. Why wait to draft him? Stars are not draftable by the SUNS at this point, AND I think having a mentor like Nash might work better than having the next self styled star come to town to show us his street/college moves. Also, NO MORE ex stars like this last one, what a waste of money.

  • Tony

    No way Utah passes on Jimmer. Furthermore, besides Dragic, whom the Suns then ridiculously traded away, their draft picks have been pretty atrocious in recent years. I don’t expect much difference this coming draft pick.

  • Kevin

    There is a good crop of SG in free agency this year that the Suns maybe able to sign given some salary flexibility and the right moves. Jamal Crawford could become the go to guy who can create shots the suns have been wanting and fits well in the Suns system. J-Rich is available but I don’t anticipate him coming back. Another interesting choice that I have posted earlier is Aaron Afflalo who is known as a good perimeter defender that could help Nash. That being said, I say we try to go for one of the Morris Twins from KU. Marcus Morris maybe that low post presence we’ve been looking for. There are no real good PFs on the market except maybe Nene and a proposed Milsap trade from last season (Lopez and Pietrus). Morris is also a defensive minded player and can act as potent pick and roll partner with Nash. He is also working on an outside shot as well. Any thoughts?

  • Steve

    If we want to work toward being competitive next season, we’re going to have to address the 2-spot through the draft, and we’re going to have to address the 4/5 spot through trade/FA, in my opinion. The problem is, there aren’t really any 2′s in the draft that I can see becoming NBA superstars, especially not any 2′s that are going to fall to our position (if we don’t win the lottery). And I don’t see many bigs who would be worth pursuing (Mohammed, Dalembert, Oden, Jordan, and David West are the only guys I would consider, and I know each of them come with their own question marks). In short, I think we’re screwed for next season. I don’t see a whole lot of hope that we’re going to be able to right the ship and get back into contention next year. We might be a fringe playoff team again, but I don’t think we’ve got any shot at being top-half in the West.

  • Soulo Traore

    I agree with mark and tony, he seems like the perfect compliment to the rebuilding jazz franchise and Gordan Hayward. But in my opion, phx needs slaher type players over young, inexperienced, streaky shooters who will most likely have an apaulling rookie season.

  • GOSuns

    I think Jimmer would be a great pick but we might need to address some other position issues like sg/sf. I say we also look into jordan hamilton (texas) since he can fit the mold of a 2 guard in the nba and can shoot. Alec Burks from colorado could be another. But, I say we look for a big man through FA we already have young big men to develop let’s go after a polished big man to give some veteran leadership and leave the draft towards either finding a back up for nash or 2/3 someone who can develop under duds and hill as a possible sixth man or role player this upcoming season

  • Kyle

    Being in UT, I got tired of hearing the Jimmer talk and all the craze that went around him being this amazing bball player. UNTIL I watched him. Incredible. Yes, he’s a shoot first player but there are several things that made me buy into the hype:
    – He has a pure shot, from just about anywhere
    – His FT % is unreal. The guy cares about making a high %, rather than just putting up 30 shots and hoping 1/2 fall in.

    – The guy has his head on straight and isn’t all about his ego.
    – Notice that in games where his shot wasn’t falling and he was being pressured more, his assists went up. He’s a shoot first guy that knows when to start passing.

    Watching BYU all season, there just wasn’t much to pass to. In Phx, there’s no shortage. If he gels with the team he has the ability to make big shots, be the 3 pt threat we need, and step into the role that VC didn’t fully take over at SG.

    BUT, I still don’t think Utah will pass up on him. They have 2 lottery picks and can risk taking him early on to help sell tickets.

    Is SG the first position we should draft at? No, probably PF. But at our low pick there probably won’t be any PFs that can step in as quickly as Jimmer could at SG (in a backup role, though). Jimmer was making 3s from well beyond the NBA three point line and so he won’t have problems adapting to it.

    I’m not trying to sound biased, but I think people are seeing him as just a role player. If he’s in the right system he can develop correctly and really be averaging 20+ a night. Just watch him and you’ll agree.

  • Nick

    Suns need to draft Kenneth Faried. PF who led NCAA in rebounds, can block, has a 7-7 wingspan. ESpn mock draft has him going to NY I believe. Obviously mock drafts don’t really mean much right now for later picks, but if he is projected going after our pick, Suns should take him. Within 1-2 years we will have the best overall front court in the league, with two guys who can easily average 2+ bpg and 11+ rpg.

    Here’s faried’s stats http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=37289

    Oh I guess I missed that, he can steal the ball too. I don’t know what the suns’ draft philosophy will be. If it centers around someone w/tremendous potential that will need 1-3 years to develop into a great player this is our guy–draft him, trade for Milsap, in last year of Milsap’s contract Faried should be ready, trade Milsap, profit.

  • Nick

    Memphis has shown you can get by w/a mediocre PG if you have a solid front court.

  • Kyle

    I like it Nick, even though I’m still a Jimmer fan.

  • Jabari

    Um, everyone here (except for Nick) is on some kind of bender or something, yes?

    Jimmer is going to be (barkley voice) TURRIBLE. His “offensive efficiency” might be slightly high, but that’s no good if his “defensive efficiency” is 200!

    Nick’s right – get Faried if he’s there, no question. Just what the Suns need.

  • Jabari

    Grr – you guys really need an “edit” button.

    As far as comparing Jimmer’s (lack of) D vs Nash’s (lack of) D – position matters, folks. It’s way, way more important for your SG to play D than your PG, and at least Nash TRIES on D. Jimmer just doesn’t (seem to) care about it at all.

    Aside: There is no “adam morrison” potential with Faried. He may not be a “superstar”, but he has the skillset to certainly be a contributor. Jimmer? Who knows.

  • David

    I really hope we don’t fall for the hype and draft Jimmer. Do Suns fans really not remember the nightmare that was Marbury, another shoot-first point guard. Marbury was a great scorer in his day, but that’s not the job of a point. This team is best and most fun to watch when it is completely unselfish, like it was in 2009-2010. The last thing we need is another Vince Carter-type player, and at the point of all places!

    Kevin, there is no way we could possibly get Affalo. He’s a restricted free agent, and Denver loves him. He’s also already said he wants to re-sign with them. Add that to the fact that so many other teams love him, like the Bulls who are infinitely more attractive to go to than us, and it absolutely isn’t going to happen. As for Crawford, he will likely get a HUGE payday, as he is one of the only good unrestricted free agents on the market. The Suns can’t afford him, nor should they. He wouldn’t get us over any hump, and he only has a few more years in his prime. We need someone much younger.

  • Steve

    @David- You’re right about the PG thing in some respects, but I think it’s workin gout pretty well for Chicago and OKC right about now. That said, I don’t think Jimmer is capable of reaching that level.

    As far as Afflalo, I really don’t think you’re right on this. If Chicago is “more attractive” because they’re better, I think that’s a weak argument. Greatness comes and goes very quickly in the NBA, and I still think there are a good portion of guys in the NBA who would rather be part of making something great than part of maintaining something great. Not only that, but the NBA is a winter league. Who would want to live in Chicago over Phoenix in the winter months? Plus, the Bulls really don’t have a need for him. The Bulls have great balance right now because virtually everyone that sees significant minutes doesn’t need someone else to create their shot for them. I don’t think Afflalo is a Deng type of player. I see him more as a Thabo Sefolosha or Tony Allen. He can make some things happen, but he’s never going to be your #2 or even #3 on offense.

    Those are just a few reasons I think Afflalo could come here. The prime thing is debatable. A lot of stoppers actually see their better years well into their 30s. Look at Battier and Bowen (even though Bowen used every cheap trick in the book to stay on top).

    Do I want Afflalo? No. I loved Afflalo coming out of college. I thought he was going to be a truly efficient scorer with elite defensive skills. Turns out he’s just a pretty inefficient player overall. He’s never had a PER that even comes close to 15.

  • auggie5000

    Suns need to trade up in this draft and get Derrick Williams. He is our answer at the 2. Find a 4 in free agency/trade and we will have a solid team next year.

  • Dan

    I think we should draft the less talented of the Morris twins. After all, we do have a pattern to keep up, what with Taylor Griffin, Robin Lopez, and hey, we even got both Van Arsdales back in the day.


    As a UNM alum and an avid college basketball fan that has become an NBA fan if the Suns have a chance to take Jimmer and don’t they will feel that pain for many years! I saw Jimmer play 12 times in person and many more times on the MTN. He is the real deal and it will be a sad day for us Suns fans if the Suns pass on him. However, with that said he will likely go to Utah! :(