Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette found out this off-season what being a free agent is like in today's NBA. The problem is, he is discovering the other side. In short, he's about to see what a lack of playing time will do to your career--because now he'll have to fight for minutes every night.
Jimmer signed a one-year, $980,000 deal at the veteran's minimum with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, July 17, officially marking his foray into uncharted territory--the kind that usually spells the end of players trying to stick in the big, bad NBA.
Jimmer will now have to work his way back into being a respected NBA player--because no team appears to be willing to shell out the kind of money that Jimmer got from the Sacramento Kings in his rookie deal three years ago, at three years and over $7 million.
If Greek club Olympiakos threw the kind of money at Jimmer that several news agencies reported during the off-season, it didn't matter to the former BYU star, who is clearly more interested in proving he can make it rain in the NBA before he even considers playing in Europe.
In New Orleans, a city that has known heartache and heartbreak in its history, Jimmer will reportedly replace Anthony Morrow, a shooting guard the Pelicans lost in NBA free agency. The dangerous part about this deal though, is that Jimmer will basically fill the same role he did with the Chicago Bulls--one in which he failed miserably.
According to the Times-Picayune, Jimmer will "supply three-point shooting off the bench," a role which Morrow himself parlayed into a three-year, $10 million deal this off-season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
To say Jimmer will fail to do in the Big Easy what Morrow did is not entirely true; Morrow averaged over eight points per game for the Pelicans and shot 45 percent from the field and from three-point land. By comparison, Jimmer averaged over six points per game for two teams, shooting 47 percent from the field and 48 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Based on those numbers, you see why the Pelicans risked about $1 million on Jimmer. The potential is there in New Orleans for Jimmer to put up numbers similar to or even better than Morrow's; it's just that Jimmer hasn't lived up to his potential during his four-year NBA career. If he does, teams will come calling for his services next off-season.
The kind of financial stability the Thunder gave to Morrow would be nice for Jimmer and his young family. But first, Jimmer actually has to live up to his potential as an NBA lottery draft pick and former consensus college player of the year--and do something, anything with his NBA career.