By Alex Moss on July 19, 2014
Earlier this week, free agent guard Jimmer Fredette agreed to join the New Orleans Pelicans on a one-year, minimum-salary deal. Once a college phenom at Brigham Young, Fredette languished in the Sacramento Kings’ backcourt rotation for much of last season before finally being cut and later picked up by the Chicago Bulls. While Fredette may be getting a fresh start with the Pels, he is unlikely to succeed due to his poor fit with the team.
Fredette was the ultimate heat-check guy in college, and will be expected to provide long-range shooting at a high volume off of the bench in New Orleans, which the Pelicans needed to replace after the departure of Anthony Morrow. However, Fredette has not proven himself as capable of carrying the offensive load for bench units and tends to shy away from being a primary offensive option.
Fredette may not like being a primary offensive option, but he also isn’t great at getting his teammates involved. He has never averaged more than 4.4 assists per 36 minutes, an exceedingly low number for a point guard. Given Fredette’s sticky hands, the Pelicans' bench unit will have a difficult time executing offensive sets.
When he was a collegiate star, Fredette played best in a fast-paced, run-and-gun environment that allowed him to get his shot off quickly. Under Coach Monty Williams, however, the Pelicans prefer to play at a slow pace, ranking 22nd in pace last season. This slower pace favors post play and defense, neither of which suit Fredette. This slower pace will come at the expense of Fredette’s shooting and ability to run the floor.
Fredette has struggled in the NBA when he has received little playing time, and he may receive his lowest amount of minutes yet with the Pelicans. With Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon already locked into the backcourt, Fredette will struggle for playing time.
Williams is a defensively-minded coach set on building his squad into a defensive powerhouse led by Anthony Davis. Fredette has never proven himself to be a capable defender at the NBA level and clashes with Williams’ vision. In a Western Conference that features a myriad of elite point guards, strong defense at the point is a must, and Fredette’s glaring weakness could derail the whole Pelicans bench unit.
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