Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Sacramento King Dilemma: Jimmer or Isaiah?
(Image from basketwallpapers.com)
The Sacramento Kings are one of the weakest teams in the NBA, but they are also one of the most talented. With young talents like Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins, and Tyreke Evans, the Kings are looking like a team that could be factor in the west in a couple of more seasons. Last season, they made a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks on draft day that got them the rights to BYU All-Star Point Guard/Shooting Guard Jimmer Fredette. Jimmer has been expected to come in and perhaps be the catalyst to get this team going. Later on in the draft, the Kings also added Forward Tyler Honeycutt of UCLA and Point Guard Isaiah Thomas of Washington University. Fredette was picked #10 and Thomas was picked #60 as the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.
(Photo is from bleacherreport.com)
Sometimes going undrafted is better than getting drafted at all, but luckily for Thomas, he went to a team that was able to allow him to play significant minutes. Over the past week, the Kings have seen Isaiah Thomas start to develop into a very nice point guard. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thomas had 23 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, and only 2 turnovers. Then the next game against the Miami Heat (last night), he had 24 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and two turnovers. Against the Pistons back on February 17, Thomas had 13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and only 3 turnovers.
(Image is from dailyfantasysports.org)
On the flip side, over Sacramento's last 3 games, Jimmer Fredette hasn't had the same level of success. He had 9 points, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers against the Detroit Pistons, and only 2 points and 1 rebound against the Cavaliers. Against the Miami Heat, Jimmer didn't even play as a coaches decision. In terms of how they've done recently, Isaiah Thomas has kicked Fredette's butt. But to be fair to Jimmer, he has had some good games this season. He's had a similar 4 game stretch of success like Thomas had. Against the Grizzlies, Blazers, Nuggets, and Jazz, Fredette had games where he scored 20 points and 5 assists, 13 points and 1 assist, 19 points and 3 assists, and 14 points and 1 assist. He has shown that he can put the basketball in the hole and be an effective scorer.
But let's all be real here for a second, the Kings brought Fredette in to be the point guard of this team. He is still somewhat expected to be the starting point guard of this team at some point, but if Isaiah Thomas continues to thrive, they're gonna have to pay him more money to keep him on the team. Not to mention the fact that a back court of Thornton, Evans, Fredette, and Thomas could get crowed. The Kings have said that they still have confidence in Jimmer Fredette, and that they expect him to be contributing to the team in big ways down the road. But if Isaiah Thomas continues to shine in the starting role at the point, the Kings may want to move Jimmer Fredette for another player that can more fully round out their roster.
The biggest reason that this is of concern is at this moment, all that Fredette has so far shown is he can score the ball. He has shown some capability to be a good point guard, but I still think at the end of the day he is the next J.J. Redick only with better point guard skills. Thomas on the other hand is showing that he is more of a true point guard, and if he can keep his scoring production up along with all the assists, there is no reason not take him ahead of Fredette.
I personally am a fan of both Thomas and Fredette, but I don't see them playing on the same team in 3 years if both of them start to get good. The Kings could be forced to make a difficult decision in a couple of years. Do you keep Fredette, the guy who you drafted so high, or do you keep Isaiah Thomas, the 60th and final pick of the 2011 draft who has been playing the point position better. Unless they want to have Jimmer come off the bench as a spark plug and not further develop other aspects of his game, I think it is very likely that Fredette's time in Sacramento will be short lived, and possibly for his own good. I still think he's going to be a very good NBA player, but I'm not sure I see it happening in Sacramento.