Jimmer’s NBA Debut

[Disclosure: I’m a BYU alumnus.]

The rookie from BYU made his NBA debut last night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

What I liked:

  • Jimmer’s 1st half shot selection. The Lakers were wary of Fredette along the arc and tended to run him off it it. Rather than force up very long shots, or shoot contested 3s, Jimmer either kept the ball moving, or dribbled into mid range scoring opportunities, giving Jimmer 6 points in 8 minutes.
  • Jimmer passed. 3 assists in 25:34 minutes. That’s nothing to write home about, but it is definitely respectable.
  • Jimmer’s solid defensive effort. With 35.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Fredette funneled his man, Derek Fisher, straight into Chuck Hayes, who was waiting to take the charge right outside the circle under the rim. There was no silly reaching, no hero ball, just solid team defense as Fredette took the right angle and kept his hands high where the refs could see them and where he could obstruct Fisher’s vision from possible passes. The Kings also sent a defender from the weak side to help funnel Fisher into Hayes. Then as Hayes got up from the floor he yelled, “Jimmer!” then proceeded to praise the rookie for his solid team defense.
    Speaking of Hayes, after the game Kings coach, Paul Westphal, said,”Chuck Hayes is the glue of this team. We knew he would be the glue when we signed him and he shows it everyday.”And speaking of defense, the Sacramento Kings aren’t known around the League for their defense, but in their home opener against the Lakers they came up with defensive play after defensive play at key moments to preserve their lead, and Jimmer was on board.
  • Jimmer’s speed. I was surprised how fast Jimmer was on the floor compared to NBA players. Fredette was no Marcus Thornton, but he certainly make Derek Fisher seem very old.
  • Jimmer’s confidence. Fredette did not have a particularly good game, especially in the 2nd half, but he still looked better than Lakers veteran guard Steve Blake.Likewise, Jimmer Fredette definitely outshined the Lakers’ rookie guard, Andrew Goudelock. Goudelock, who is the same height as Fredette and is supposed to be the Lakers new sharp-shooting 3-point specialist. Yet in just 7 minutes Goudelock put up 4 shots, including 2 3-point attempts, and missed them all.

What I didn’t like:

  • Crying over imaginary fouls. Jimmer, this is the age of affordable 70 and 80 inch HD televisions. With HD DVRs we can create our own slow motion replays, and Jimmer, you are embarrassing yourself in front of the world when you whine about imaginary fouls. Shoot your short runners with more arc and they’ll clear the rim and go in.
  • Three turnovers. Jimmer turned the ball over an average of 1 time every 9 or so minutes. Don’t just share the ball, care for it too.
  • The longer Jimmer played, the worse he got. Fredette missed all 4 of his shot attempts in the second half, and committed 2 of his 3 turnovers in the 2nd half as well.

Observations about the game:

  • The Kings have some very athletic young players. If they will be coachable, they might surprise some people.
  • For all the talk about possibly acquiring Dwight Howard, the Lakers are in SERIOUS need of some decent guards. Steve Blake and Andrew Goudelock combined to shoot 0 of 8 from the field, including 0 of 3 from the arc. Heck, at 50 years old I could play that badly, and I would do it for half the money. And Derek Fisher wasn’t much better (3 of 10 and 0 of 3 from the arc). It makes you wonder why Lakers coach Mike Brown didn’t play Jason Kapono at all. They could have used his size on the floor (6’8″), and he is a career 44% 3-point shooter… the Lakers shot 6.2% from the arc that game.
  • Kobe’s wrist gets the publicity, but his legs don’t seem to have the explosiveness of younger years. In fact, the entire Lakers roster looks really slow.
  • Pau Gasol looked terrible in the first half. The Lakers all-star center / forward was 0 of 4 to start the game and didn’t score until there was just 2:03 minutes remaining in the first half. He had more fouls than points that half.
  • The Lakers are 0-2, and could well lose to the Utah Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City. The Lakers will be playing their 3rd game in 3 days. The Jazz have had a longer training camp to get their act together in that tonight is their first game of the season. The Jazz are big and athletic, which is what gave the Lakers trouble against the Kings, forcing Gasol to the bench with 4 fouls.But even if the Lakers start the season 0-3, it shouldn’t be surprising. They lost Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom and most importantly Phil Jackson from last season.Ever since he graduated from high school, Kobe Bryant has pretty much been playing for the same coach and the same system. Now he’s learning something new — as are all the Lakers.And they are learning it with almost no training camp.The NBA lockout prevented teams from practicing together, so if you think the compressed season will be a problem for some teams, the abbreviated training camp is a veritable nightmare for the Lakers.
  • Considering Gasol’s vanishing act last year in the playoffs, and the way he is playing to begin this season, he might well be trade bait again. In fact, Lakers might be sorry they gave up the rights to Pau’s kid brother, Marc, again.In all, Gasol, Blake, Goudelock, and Fisher look awfully expendable.

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