Jimmer Fredette: Production vs. potential

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Jimmer Fredette’s college dominance and seemingly moderate NBA ceiling raises the question as to what holds more stock, college production or pro potential?

Ideally, there’s a happy medium. But with Fredette, it’s tough to project how his nation-leading 28.9 points per game, yet lack of lateral quickness and NBA speed will project at the pro level.

On one hand, Fredette’s ridiculous range alone makes him worthy of any roster spot. He’s also proven he can fill it up inside of the arc, while hitting spot-up shooters.

Then add in that Fredette is the definition of a gamer, as well as a leader on the floor and it’s tough to find a bad thing about the former BYU star. But then the questions of potential and athleticism kick in.

Will he ever be more than a three-point specialist? Does he have good enough point guard skills to put together a long and successful career as a floor general? Can he defend bigger and quicker NBA guards?

Based on potential alone, Fredette isn’t a lottery pick. There isn’t much room to grow and with his size (6-foot-2) and athletic ability it’s hard to imagine him turning into an All-Star point guard.

But at the same time, it’s impossible to ignore what he did in college. He took NCAA basketball by storm with his deep triples and good-guy image. Fredette brought a swagger to BYU (which is hard to do) while cementing his name as one of college basketball’s greats.

His work ethic, pedigree and current skill-set say he’ll have a long, successful NBA career. As Lance Blanks said, Fredette “checks all the positive boxes as an NBA point guard.”

But his moderate ceiling suggest the growth will stop there, which begs the question: Is he worth the 13th pick in the NBA Draft? Blanks said it himself, if Jimmer’s available, it’s going to be tough to pass him up.

With Steve Nash nearing the end of his career and Aaron Brooks nowhere near capable of point guard of the future status, Jimmer undoubtedly has to be considered.

He’d quickly become a fan favorite, while continuing Phoenix’s nice-guy image it’s held since Nash took the driver’s seat. Jimmer would certainly fit in the Suns’ offense as well with his three-point stroke and passing ability. Director of player personnel John Treloar even thinks Fredette can play defense at the next level.

“The quickness and the strength he has allow him to stay in front of guys for the short spaces,” Treloar said. “The biggest challenge will be the full-speed, 94-foot guys. But in the half-court, I think he’s going to be able to guard people.”

So why not draft Jimmer? With the draft everything’s circumstantial based on who’s available. But for Phoenix, Fredette’s defensive deficiencies couples with his suggested low ceiling make him a questionable pick at 13.

The Suns want to become more defensive-minded, while landing a potential superstar or go-to guy they could possibly build a franchise around down the road.

With his legendary shooting ability and popularity Fredette would be a draw and potentially a very nice NBA point guard down the road. But he doesn’t have the upside that a team that’s on the verge of rebuilding should be looking for.

Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.

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