It's been an interesting rookie campaign for Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette. While the 10th overall pick has experienced both the highs of being an emerging star, notching four straight double-digit scoring games, as well as the lows of being an unproven first-year player, getting a pair of DNP-CDs (did not play due to coach decision), he never lost confidence in his shot or playmaking ability.
Over the first 16 games of the season, the former Brigham Young University star, who led the NCAA with 28.9 points per game last year, averaged just 6.9 points on 33.1 percent shooting (28.6 from downtown) in 22 minutes of action.
“[I’m trying to] just continue to get more consistent, [so] I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said at the time. “Consistency is a challenge for rookies a lot of times, [and] that’s what I’m trying to work on.
“But when I get into the game, I just play as hard as [I] can – the shots will fall and I just go out there and [do] whatever it is that the coach wants me to do, and whatever it is that’s best to help the team win that night.”
Asked to be a more aggressive scorer by coach Keith Smart, the sharpshooting rookie filled in admirably for the Kings' leading scorer, Marcus Thornton, who was sidelined with a thigh injury. Fredette set NBA career highs in points (20), assists (6) and free throws (7) against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 21, and averaged 16.5 points on 45.7 percent shooting during a four-game hot streak, knocking down a league-best 14 out of 23 attempts from behind the arc (60.9 percent).
“I think [the NBA game] is starting to slow down a bit for me, for sure,” he said. "I'm starting to get used to everything – seeing the ball go in you gain confidence automatically.
"If you continue to try to play well, it will get easier as you play. I still have a lot of things to work on and that keeps me driven, but it's getting a little bit better."
Yet, on January 31, Fredette was in for only 19 minutes against the Golden State Warriors, scoring five points, and didn't play at all during the ensuing two games once Thornton returned to the starting lineup. After once again receiving limited playing time against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, the rookie appeared to be headed for another quiet night against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.