FRANCHUK: Jimmer at least got time to show off his pros and cons at ESA this time

2014-01-28T11:15:00Z 2014-02-25T12:15:18Z FRANCHUK: Jimmer at least got time to show off his pros and cons at ESA this timeJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
January 28, 2014 11:15 am  • 

It sure was better than the December visit, albeit this one resulted in mixed circumstances for Jimmer Fredette.

He saw 19 minutes, two off his season high, as the former BYU star had another Utah homecoming Monday. And another loss as part of the Sacramento Kings.

It seems like eons ago now that Fredette was a college star who went to his roots and played a game in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Fredette dribbled the ball off his foot on his very first possession that special December night of 2010, but then handled the rest of the unique occasion against Vermont with a quiet grace and a typical dominance that epitomized his senior year.


Well, he had eight points (four in each half) to go with two turnovers and two assists in his extended playing time brought about because starter Isaiah Thomas missed a large chunk of the second half because of a stomach bug.

"When Isaiah had to leave the game, some of our guys were like, ‘Oh boy. What are we going to do now?’" coach Mike Malone said. "Now we have Isaiah, Rudy (Gay) and DeMarcus (Cousins) all out (with injuries).’ It was like shell shock."

Fredette played a part in getting the outmanned Kings back in the game, but he even acknowledged afterward it was too little, too late. It wasn't the Marriott Center all of a sudden with him coming onto the floor.

It was at least better sometimes than never. Fredette never got off the bench Dec. 7 when he visited EnergySolutions Arena, a Kings win in overtime spurred in large part by the fourth-quarter heroics of Ben McLemore — a rookie gunner already in a position to keep Fredette on the bench.

Fredette has at least moved up to the No. 2 point guard role in recent weeks after Sacramento traded Greivis Vasquez.

Not that Fredette has totally taken advantage of the situation, especially in the Utah visit.

Malone has criticized Fredette — who nonetheless has three-year career highs in shooting percentage — for not taking care of the ball well enough.

“He’s played well lately, but the one thing that hurt him, and the whole team, is turnovers,” said Malone. “He has to value the ball at a high level.”

Late in the third quarter, 31-year-old Jazz reserve John Lucas III hounded Fredette in the backcourt into a clumsy turnover. Fredette dribbled the ball off his leg, then went diving by the Sacramento bench seeking atonement.

Not long after, Lucas stripped him again as Fredette sought a shot. Fredette yelled at a referee on the baseline for not giving him a couple of free throws.

Fredette did make a couple of nice fourth-quarter moves that showcased some good memories of his Cougar days.

He abused Lucas in a one-on-one move, using a couple of spins to set up a five-foot shot in the key.

He also drew a Jazz double-team and passed off at the last possible second, setting up a teammate's open jump shot – a rare time the Kings dared to care about swinging the ball around selflessly.

Fredette, like his college days, views himself as a point guard. But having a higher average of turnovers (1.8) than assists (1.4) isn't exactly helping the cause of the No. 10 pick of the 2011 NBA draft, who will be a free agent after this season.

But numbers can only be produced by playing, and at least Fredette is doing that these days.

Jason Franchuk covers BYU sports. Reach him at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com. Follow him on Twitter, @harkthefranchuk

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