The Sacramento Kings are currently in the process of buying out third-year guard Jimmer Fredette. This is an odd decision to make regarding such a young player; not buying him out isn’t going to cost them a lot of money, and it’s not as if he is cutting into a better prospects minutes. Nonetheless, there will be several suitors for the young sharpshooter.
The Memphis Grizzlies would be a landing spot that makes a ton of sense, and there have already been reports of the Grizzlies’ interest in Fredette. Mike Conley is the starter in Memphis, and he is being backed up by Nick Calathes, but after those two, the Grizzlies do not have another point guard on the roster. If one of those two were to get injured — and with the Grizzlies’ injury luck this season, that isn’t far-fetched — they do not have any other ball-handlers.
If Fredette was to join the Grizzlies, there would be plenty of nights when he would register DNP-CD’s (did not play – coaches decision) but there would also be games where the opposing team is packing the paint on Memphis’ bigs, and they need an outside shooter to give them space. The lack of minutes is something that hindered Calathes earlier this season when he had Jerryd Bayless in front of him, but Calathes is a rookie who was not used to not getting minutes; Fredette has been in the league for three season’s and has proven that he can score without getting big minutes.
Fredette’s NBA career up to this point is very similar to another college sharpshooter that had a hard time adjusting to the NBA, J.J. Redick. At the end of his third season, Redick was averaging 5.5 points per game, 1.3 rebounds per game, 0.9 assists per game, and was shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from three. As of right now, Fredette’s career averages are 7.0 points per game, 1.1 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game, and he is shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from three. Fredette does have a slight edge in minutes per game, with a 15 to 14.4 advantage. And even though Fredette is two inches shorter, he has a longer wingspan, and the same standing reach as Redick.
Getting Fredette at this point in his career is a low-risk/high-reward for any team. If you were to land Fredette, you could be landing one of the best three-point shooters in the league a few years from now, and if he doesn’t develop into that, then it only cost you 30 games of a minimum salary. The Grizzlies offer Fredette the opportunity to be in a playoff hunt and have a need for his services. The only Memphis players averaging more than one made three-pointer per game are Conley, Mike Miller and Courtney Lee, and none of them are close to touching the 49.3 percent that Fredette is hitting them at.
With the Dallas Mavericks, the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors continuing to win, the Grizzlies’ only hopes of getting in the playoffs are to improve their team. At this point in the season, there are few options out there that can have an impact on your roster. Fredette is one of those guys, and if the Grizzlies want to win, they will go get him. Fredette gives them the last piece they need — one more ball-handler that can shoot.