Jimmer Fredette is Steve Nash
Admittedly, that’s a little bit of hyperbole. Ok. That’s an absurd amount of hyperbole. But as we begin to examine the NBA prospects of the fightin’ Jimmer, I think a realistic comparison can be made with a certain Canadian point guard who plays in the desert.
Before anyone begins to accuse me of being over-zealous about the Glens Falls native, let me say – Jimmer isn’t going to dominate the NBA. The league just isn’t set up for a six foot guy with questionable hops and speed who can make it rain from anywhere on the court (and probably anywhere in the arena) to be the man-child he was in college – just ask J.J. Redick. Look at the league today. It’s all about guys like LeBron, Kobe, ‘Melo, Howard and other physical freaks of the ilk, and Jimmer is certainly more Redick than he is LeBron (that may be the most ridiculous understatement since ‘Houston, we have a problem’).
Though I don’t think Fredette is Redick. He’s got something the Duke graduate never had. Jimmer can drive. He’s able to get into the paint and throw up a shot over defenders. This is why I see a little bit of Steve Nash in him. Undersized, overmatched, but able to drive the lane and get shots up, and able to step back and hit a shot from the parking lot. To those questioning me right now, yes. I know. I know he’s driving the paint on Mountain West competition and those shots he’s throwing up in the paint are likely to be swatted down like Misty May-Treanor just set it up for Kerri Walsh – beach volleyball reference, WHO’S WITH ME?! These are all true and I’m not suggesting that Fredette will be as great a player as Nash, or anywhere close for that matter, but they’ve got similar skill sets. Both are undersized guys with a lights-out shot. Both are above-average ball handlers, and both have the uncanny ability to drive themselves into a corner, then get out of it with a great pass or a miraculous shot.
Nash, however, is faster and a far better passer – one of the best the pro game has ever seen. That’s why a lot of you think I’m crazy to even be making this comparison. But I think Jimmer’s got the tools and with some adjustment to his game, he could become a Nash-esq player. To a lot of guys, adjusting their game is an absurd thought, but Jimmer’s not a lot of guys. He’s not a big-ego guy. He’s a guy who, I think, would genuinely want to do what he could to help his team. In college Jimmer had to score, but that won’t be his role in the NBA.
Let me be clear, Fredette’s not Nash. He won’t be. He can’t be. Nash is a hall-of-famer, one of the best distributer’s the game has ever seen. But I think that Jimmer, like Nash, has a unique ability to get into the paint and create scoring situations. If he could learn to pass well, he could find a nice place in the NBA as a good – not great – point guard who can drive and dish, and step back and drop bombs.
I think this is a change Jimmer needs to make. If he’s unable to adjust his game and become a great distributor, not just a spot-up shooter, he won’t make an impact in the NBA. If he’s unable to develop into a drive and dish player he’ll be remembered with the likes of Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick. Phenomena’s in college, but little more than role players in the NBA.