(Ed. note: March Madness continues tonight with the Sweet 16. Of the four games being played, BYU and Florida tip off at 7:27 PM -- and if watching a future lottery pick in action isn't enticing enough, keep in mind the game will be called by Gus Johnson. Many thanks to DBB reader Shinons for the Jimmer Fredette scouting report, which I hereby dub tonight's official open thread. -- MW)
(Via Sports Illustrated)
Since all of you are capable of reading the fine work over at DraftExpress on Jimmer yourselves, I’m going to attempt to make my scouting report as much based on my own observations as possible. DX can fill your need for numbers and situational stats, as I’ll be referring to what I’ve seen in watching him. I’m currently a grad student at University of New Mexico so have gotten quite a few chances to see Jimmer in a healthy range of performances - and really, I enjoy watching the guy play so I try catching every BYU game I can watch.
Obviously, the first thing to talk about with the nation’s leading scorer in both the regular and post-season is his scoring. He really does score at every level; at the rim, mid range, and his oft mentioned deep range. However, it’s the long ball that opens everything else up for him. Nearly half of his shots this season come from outside the arc, where he’s able to stop on a dime, elevate, and put up a good shot with range extending well beyond the NBA three point line. Even shooting over much taller defenders, he is able to get enough elevation and his release is so late that his shots are rarely affected. Most of his shots from deep seem to come off the dibble - he is much less of a spot up shooter than you’d expect. He, and in turn BYU, tend to be very reliant on his outside shooting. UNM earned a blowout win at BYU despite 33 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 12-12 shooting from the free throw line, and 9-17 shooting inside the arc, due mostly to Jimmer’s poor day from behind the arc. There are several other examples of BYU being pushed by a lesser opponent on days when Jimmer doesn’t have the three ball falling.
When defenders overplay him on the perimeter Jimmer is able to use a quick-enough first step to get off a mid-range jumper or layup with effectiveness. He often changes speeds to attempt to get to the line (and he’s automatic once he gets there, 87% career), however with his ability to hit off balanced or incredibly difficult shots he’s usually looking to get the make rather than the free throws. He’s a very effective finisher, even in one-on-one situations where the defender has a nice angle for the block - as he is often able to throw off the defender’s timing to get an easy look at the basket.
Jimmer is unquestionably BYU’s point guard, bringing the ball up every possession, setting up the offense, and resetting the offense. However he often gets mistaken for a combo or 2 as he’s a shoot-first point guard looking to attack with his shot rather than his passing. Most of his assist situations come off of double teams or passing out of trouble. Some of these wind up being off balanced or floaters, which is where the majority of his turnovers seem to come from. The number of soft tosses he puts up at this level will certainly be something he’ll not be able to get away with in the pros. However he is a strong ballhandler, able to keep his handle even in a dense amount of traffic. In terms of positionality at the next level, I don’t really think this is much of a question - he’s a natural (although not prototypical) point guard and has played exclusively at that position his whole career at BYU.
Much has been made about Jimmer’s projected defensive deficiencies at the next level. These seem to be legit based on what I’ve seen. BYU operates out of a zone much of the time, however his lack of lateral quickness is readily apparent when opponents attempt to isolate against him. He does a nice job taking angles to cut off penetration, but he will be in trouble on an island against the premiere point guards at the next level like Ramon Sessions. He always seems to be in the right place and does an admirable job of avoiding fouls despite the amount he’s targeted by opposing teams, however this will certainly be a weakness in his game.
Physically, he has nice size in terms of height and thickness - think a more muscular Ben Gordon. I had heard an announcer say early on that he felt his physical conditioning was the biggest difference between this year and last, and this showed up on the court. Since the start of conference play Jimmer has averaged over 37 minutes per game and during the six games of tournament play he has sat only three minutes. Total.
Jimmer certainly is not a need for the Pistons and equally certainly not an ideal fit, so I haven’t been advocating us drafting him. However, despite his clear red flags in certain areas, I consider him one of the safer picks in the draft - you should have a pretty good idea what you’re getting with him.