“You got Jimmered!”
That’s the line BYU supporters delivered to opposing fans time and again over the past year. Fans held up signs counting Fredette’s points. And plenty of points there were, as the 6-foot-2, 195-pound combo guard averaged 28.9 points per game. But what kind of pro will Fredette make?
First and foremost, Fredette is a shooter. He’s adept at shooting the ball from literally anywhere in the halfcourt offense. He’s comfortable shooting on the move, spinning into fadeaways and off the dribble. Considering how reliant the BYU offense was on Fredette’s ability to create a shot (33.4% usage) and the difficult nature of many of his resultant shots, its remarkable he was able to average an impressive 1.23 points per possession. His great range and solid 3-point shooting (39.6%, 44% as a junior) helped him greatly in that department.
Fredette has solid ball-handling and passing skills, giving him the ability to run the point, though his mentality is that of a two-guard. He shows good awareness in passing out of double teams. He has a solid first step, enabling him to easily get by defenders who often crowd him looking to contest jumpers.
Fredette’s scoring ability isn’t limited to his outstanding jumper. He possesses an array of creative finishing maneuvers in the paint, using scoops and floaters to finish. He also gets to the line at a very good clip (7.6 FTA), where he’s almost automatic (89.4%).
Finally, the team that drafts Fredette will have no need to worry about his character. He’s operated for the last four years under BYU’s now-infamous honor code and by all accounts is a respectable, confident young man.
Defense, defense, defense. Like so many great college scorers, Fredette is severely lacking on the defensive side of the ball. He appears uninterested or unwilling to chase players through screens. His quick first step with the ball doesn’t translate to the defensive side, as he’s unable to prevent quick ball-handlers from getting by him. NBA guards will likely have their way with him in isolation situations, and he will have to show a much stronger desire on that side of the floor if he’s going to play serious minutes in the league.
BYU often tried minimizing his deficiencies by running zone defense, but even there, Fredette’s limitations are evident. He appears to be simply waiting for the opponent to shoot so BYU can get the ball back one way or the other.
Another ramification of Fredette’s disinterest in defense is he gives up too many offensive rebounds. He often loses track of his man and gets caught ball-watching, enabling players to sneak underneath him for boards.
Also of concern is Fredette’s tendency to turn the ball over. His mediocre assist to turnover ratio (1.13) isn’t indicative of strong play-making ability. However, his team’s extreme reliance on his ability to create offense probably played a big part in this.
I already mentioned Fredette’s array of finishing maneuvers at the basket. As impressive as they are, the fact that Fredette relies on them when he gets into the paint shows another weakness: finishing at the rim. Fredette has unremarkable leaping ability, and though he can usually get into good position by beating perimeter defenders, he relies on these fancy scoop shots to try to beat interior defenders. At the NBA level, athletic and long 4s and 5s are likely going to punish these shots, as Derrick Williams did when BYU played Arizona. Also, though Fredette is capable of attacking the rim from either side, he’s far more comfortable finishing on the right.
Expecting Fredette to significantly improve any of these weaknesses is probably asking too much. He’s a 4-year college player, so the player we’ve seen is likely the player we’re going to get in the pros.
How he fits with the Cavs
Cleveland had one of the worst offenses in the league this year, ranking 29th in the league in FG% at 43.4% (only Toronto was worse). Additionally, they were 23rd in 3-point shooting at 34.2%. Fredette would certainly help elevate both of those numbers.
The question is, what position will Fredette play?
Most have projected Fredette at PG. It will likely take some time for him to adjust to the position in the NBA, and the Cavs already have two serviceable veteran points in Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions.
What about SG? Overall, he would probably be an upgrade over Anthony Parker, who started most of the season at SG. Parker shot just 40% from the field and is about to turn 36. However, if paired with Baron Davis (112 DRtng) in the backcourt, the Cavs would have one of the leakiest defensive guard pairs in the league.
Fredette projects as a source of bench offense in the NBA. Drafting him will improve the Cavs’ offense. However, it’s unlikely to be a significant step forward in the long run, and Cleveland should probably look elsewhere for a mid-to-late lottery pick.