New York native Jimmer Fredette may want to play every NBA game at Madison Square Garden. Fredette popped off in an offensive burst, scoring a career high 24 points against the New York Knicks. It took five extra minutes of overtime, but the Sacramento Kings held on for the 106-101 win. Sacramento is now 16-4 when scoring 105 points or more, but this game was truly about Jimmer’s play and why the trade talk needs to end now.
Clearly, Fredette found his shot tonight, hitting 6-of-8 in the first half. Averaging just five points a game, Fredette’s 13 points off the bench gave the Kings a much-needed shot in the arm. Sacramento looked lethargic defensively and took turns basking in awe of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks on Wednesday.
Sacramento was already down DeMarcus Cousins, who limped off with an injury; with the Kings in desperate need of extra production, Fredette eased into the role admirably, handing the Kings a winning note heading into the break.
This game alone proves Jimmer’s worth in Sacramento. Sacramento shouldn’t throw in the towel on Fredette, but they just might. This is the same front office that sent Greivis Vasquez away even though he was supposed to be the Kings’ answer for a pure point guard.
To his credit, Jimmer has been a consummate pro regarding this up-in-the-air trade status. Also, the uber-conservative Mormon has never been a distraction or actual detriment to the team. But will it be enough for Fredette to stay in Sacramento?
I say yes, even as I suggested earlier this week that Jimmer and Marcus Thornton could be trade fodder as we approach the trade deadline. Surely the Kings would love to get their hands on a proven defender to improve the Kings’ myriad of problems on that end, but they also aren’t going to accept a low-ball deal. Teams covet Fredette for his 3-point shooting, something that is in high demand for a team contending for a playoff spot.
When it’s all said and done, the Kings could move Fredette for a defender or even trade Rudy Gay away. That sounds like blasphemy seeing as he’s the best piece the Kings have had in a decade, but Gay holds a player option next year and could easily walk, leaving Sacramento with nothing.
On the list of candidates to trade, Jimmer is somewhere near the middle. Who the Kings move remains in the air, but its clear a defensive presence or proven scorer is needed.