Every year there are a handful of players in the NBA who are bought out after the trade deadline. The best of these players tend to join teams that are championship contenders, and only one or two end up making a difference.
That is what makes the Chicago Bulls‘ signing of Jimmer Fredette so intriguing. Fredette, the former lottery pick for the Sacramento Kings, reportedly sought out the Bulls because of Tom Thibodeau‘s ability to get the most out of play-making guards. And while it’s not as if the signing of Fredette launches the Bulls into title contention this season, it could be a factor, both this year and in the future.
Fredette’s biggest strength is obvious; he can shoot the ball from deep with the best of them. Fredette’s 49.3 percent shooting from behind the arc leads all NBA players who have taken more than 20 three-pointers. While his 73 attempts are a small-sample size, he still has shot very well in limited playing time this season.
Fredette is also a better playmaker than most give him credit for being. He is averaging 4.7 assists per 36 minutes this season, an uptick from the 3.4 he averaged the past two seasons. He is confident with the ball and is willing to drive and dish when defenders close out hard on him.
Fredette’s offense is a welcome addition to a team that struggles to score. Obviously, the Bulls have struggled to shoot this season and are tied for 25th this year in three-point percentage. Fredette’s ability to space the floor and create for himself and others should give the Bulls some much-needed punch off the bench.
While Fredette is a welcome addition this season, it’s possible he could be a part of the team’s future as well. Fredette was wise to seek out a coach who can help him get the most of of his talent and improve/hide his defensive problems. If the Bulls can play quality team defense with D.J. Augustin or Nate Robinson on the floor, the team can do the same with Fredette.
If Fredette has some success with the Bulls this season, it’s not hard to see him re-signing with the team on a cheap contract. Getting role players on the cheap is a must in the new CBA, and Fredette could be a quality player off the bench if groomed properly. His shooting could be a valuable asset next to Derrick Rose next season and beyond.
Basically, taking a flyer on a young player with a surefire NBA skill was a no-brainer for the Bulls. Fredette was in a terrible situation in Sacramento with too many overlapping players. He comes to Chicago with a chance to have a defined role on a team that has gotten the most out of other team’s discards.
For Fredette, it was an easy choice as well. In Chicago, he’ll have the chance to revive his career and take the first step towards changing the “bust” label to “late-bloomer.”
Donnie Kolakowski is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @zenoknows.