When Jimmer Fredette inevitably gets bought out by the Kings, the Heat should try to sign him.
Before we go any further, that totally, absolutely is not Jimmer’s blown-up head on former Heat guard and fellow ultra-white guy Chris Quinn’s body. That would just be wrong. What wouldn’t be wrong and would be tantalizing is listening to the following words on the regular.
Who wouldn’t want to see LeBron darting skip passes in the corner to a wide-open Jimmer launching a barrage of threes?
Assuming Fredette passes waivers, Pat Riley should sign the position-less shooter out of BYU. The Miami Heat might as well be called the Mavericks because positions don’t exist on this team — not when you have LeBron James continuously morphing from point guard to center, from one through five.
Jimmer probably wouldn’t be close to the game-changer Chris Andersen was a year ago, but can he make an impact offensively if key role players (Shane Battier and Ray Allen) wear down as their combined age approaches a century? Potentially, yes. Why not? Fredette is no NBA star, and has yet to prove he can even become an effective role player. But the latter cannot be disproved by playing on the Kings — one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the NBA — for the last three seasons. On the Heat, misfits have a tendency of turning into competent pieces. Other teams’ garbage often become recycled treasure.
As many have outlined to ad nauseam, shooting is like food to Miami’s offense. They can survive without it for a while, but they become vulnerable and weak. Eventually they’ll need to eat to live. In the 30 regular season losses over the last two seasons combined, the Heat shot just 33 percent on 3-pointers. Obviously, teams tend to shoot worse when they lose than when they win, but it is especially true for the Heat. This is a team that shot 40 percent overall from three (2nd) last season, and 37 percent (11th) so far this year. The slight decline this season can be explained in part by Allen and Battier both having down shooting years in addition to some regression to the mean as a team.
Despite the Heat’s decline in efficiency from 3-point land, they’re having one of the most potent offensive seasons in modern NBA history, mainly because LeBron is a machine. Yet adding another dynamic shooter into the fray adds more insurance for an offense that ultimately will thirst for shooting in the playoffs, as the game slows and half-court offenses become more dependent on spreading the floor via the long ball.
For Jimmer’s 41-game career, he’s connected on 40 percent of his threes. Per 36 minutes this season, he’s averaging 18.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.4 turnovers, with an impressive 48-49-90 (FG-3FG-FT) shooting split. He can’t create much at this level, but he wouldn’t need to in Miami. They’ve got their creators.
Below is his shot chart this year. The green is the pretty.
Why do you think role players tend to excel as well as prolong their careers when playing alongside James, Wade, and Bosh? It’s no coincidence. Having the most talented threesome in basketball lifts up those around them. It’s no different than Tom Brady creating somebodies out of nobodies at receiver.
Having LeBron James facilitate the Miami offense alleviates pressure off his shooters, creating an extra half-second — which is huge — to catch, set, and shoot the basketball. Jimmer can shoot the basketball.
Defensively, he’s sludge and his awful Kings team was often better without him on the court, but he’s no more of a train wreck than Allen. On this team, with Miami’s speed on defense, warts can be hidden. That is when they choose to engage, of course.
Jimmer Fredette is not going to be playing in the NBA Finals. No chance. But there’s always room for another shooter with the vicissitudes of chucking it up from the outside, with the chance Battier and Allen veer more cold than hot. Many have forgotten we’re just three years removed from the likes of President Obama referring to Jimmer as “the best scorer in the country.” As coach Erik Spoelstra has shown, he no longer fears experimentation — especially during the regular season — and instead is willing to embrace it. Now is the time to embrace another low-risk, highish reward.
Also, Jimmer’s wife, Whitney, seems cool. Via the Deseret News:
“Haha we get that question all the time because both of us are so, so pale,” she said when asked if the couple was worried at all that their kids will be really, really white.” Definitely, our kids are going to be white. It doesn’t help that I’m about as fair as fair gets—blonde hair, blue eyes. Jimmer at least has dark hair, even if he’s still white as can be. Hopefully they’ll be able to go out in the sun.”
Not only is the person who asked that question wild, but that’s one of the greatest NBA wife quotes of all time. We have great news, Whitney. Although the sun is fierce down here in South Florida, we have plenty of sunscreen options — best you guys go with SPF 90, like myself. We’re also talking about possibly the first Mormon couple in Miami history. Get them a reality show!
Caron Butler is the sexy name floating around. He has history in Miami. But this isn’t the same Butler the Heat drafted — the gritty kid who could defend and fill up a stat sheet while playing his ass off. This is the 10-years-later version, the old Nintendo game cartridge you need to blow on, rattle, and pray for it to work. He’s battled nagging injuries and his shooting has always been spotty. As for recently signed Deandre Liggins out of the NBA Development League, that kid is the lettuce in your sandwich — filler.
The Heat don’t need to make any more moves. They’re a championship contender regardless, and the favorite to raise the trophy yet again. And excuse me for being another spoiled Heat watcher, always hyping up the next potential acquisition like a spoiled four-year old. I get it. But it’s fun and what else are we supposed to do during the regular season?
If Pat Riley and the Heat are going to make one more move, let it be to buy some entertaining insurance in James Taft “Jimmer” Fredette. Let the Kabooms roar.