The Chicago Bulls can now help Jimmer Fredette jumpstart his NBA career after escaping the basketball purgatory that is Sacramento. The former No. 10 overall pick never got a fair shake with the Kings, a disappointing tenure that lasted three seasons until coming to an end this week with Fredette reaching a buyout agreement with the team. Chicago quickly made a noble effort for his services and got a deal done quickly and easily, hopefully giving Fredette the opportunity he needs to kickstart his once-promising NBA career.
The Chicago Bulls are notably without superstar point guard Derrick Rose once again, as his knees just continue to slam the brakes on his career. Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin are solid, but both are very inefficient scorers. Each of them has shot below 40 percent from the field this season, as has starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler. Jimmer Fredette is shooting 49 percent from three-point range alone and represents a shot in the arm that this team could desperately use.
“He’s got a skill that’s as good as anyone,” said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to ESPN. “He can shoot the ball. We need shooting. He’s coming in late so we’ll see how it unfolds,” he added.
The Bulls are 30th in the league in scoring, but rank second in defense. Those numbers indicate that Fredette and the Bulls should be able to do a bit of good for one another. Chicago is a plodding team with a struggling offense sans All-Star Luol Deng after a surprising midseason trade and superstar Derrick Rose with his knee injury. On the other end of the spectrum, the main flaw in Fredette’s game has always been his defense. If Fredette can up his defensive impact, there is no reason he cannot be a superb player in this league. The Chicago Bulls can help Jimmer Fredette jumpstart his NBA career because of the coaching as well. There is no better coach to bring out the best in a player on the defensive end than Thibodeau, who has recently milked every ounce of basketball out of lesser-known guards such as Augustin, Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson. He has also played a crucial role in the development of Rose and Butler.
“I’m excited about it,” said Fredette to the Chicago Sun-Times in reference to playing for coach Thibodeau. “He’s obviously a very defensive-minded coach and I’m just trying to learn the schemes and all that stuff. Hopefully I can continue to work on that and get better on that end of the floor.”
Getting out of Sacramento is a breath of fresh air for Fredette. The franchise has a recent history with thwarting the careers of top draft picks. Aside from Fredette, guys like Tyreke Evans, Thomas Robinson and Spencer Hawes all wore out their welcome rather quickly despite extreme potential. Sacramento has also mishandled the volatile yet talented DeMarcus Cousins on a number of occasions. The best-case scenario was for Fredette to jump ship as soon as possible.
The Chicago Bulls can help Jimmer Fredette jumpstart an NBA career that never gained any traction in Sacramento. “Jimmermania” will hopefully return to our televisions at some point in the near future, but more than anything Fredette just needed a change of scenery. Hitting the reset button with the should prove to be just what the former BYU guard needed.
Commentary by Justin Hussong