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The NBA regular season starts this week and many local sports fans are anxious to see what Jimmer Fredette can do in his second year in the league.
It shouldn't be hard for Fredette to top his numbers from last year, that is, if his sneakers see the court. Some labled the rookie season for BYU's all-time leading scorer a disappointment, which may have led to the Sacramento Kings signing free agent point guard Aaron Brooks during the off-season.
With Fredette, Brooks, and returning starter Isiah Thomas teamed with veterans Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thronton and John Salmons in the backcourt, fans of No. 7 are left wondering if he will see any playing time at all?
Fredette headlined the Kings' summer league roster along with Thomas and Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. There, Fredette gained some valuable playing time and even scored 30 points against the Houston Rockets on the floor of the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
That optimism didn't exactly carry over to preseason play, which didn't provide any strong indicators whether or not Fredette will get off the bench. In some games he played a lot and played well. In others he didn't get off the bench. Head coach Keith Smart led the Kings to a 5-2 preseason record, it's best in 10 years, and openly talked about experiementing with lineups. But, fans still have to wonder what are the plans for Fredette.
Jerry Renyolds, director of Player Personnel for the Kings, told The Kings Blog he envisions Fredette moving into a role position at the two.
“I personally see Jimmer as kind of a 2012 Steve Kerr or John Paxson — guys who were really, really good basketball players, who’d been primarily lead guards in college but made adjustments to where they were very comfortable off the ball,” Reynolds said. "It didn’t happen for them over night either. They went though some real adjustments in their careers, but good shooters and good competitors and smart people find a way — and I think Jimmer fits all of those categories.”
It was a busy off season for Fredette, who married his wife Whitney on June 1 in Denver, Colo. The couple celebrated with an out of this world reception and spent most of the summer months between Colorado and New York. Fredette thinks that marriage will help him become a better basketball player.
The Contract, a book detailing Fredette's journey to the pros written by Yahoo! Sports writer Pat Forde, hit shelves in September. Fredette promoted the book with a signing tour in New York and Utah.
But most importanly, the Sacramento Kings exercised the option in Fredette's contract to keep him on the team through the 2013-14 season. Although, that may be in Seattle or Oklahoma City. The Thunder may act on rumors swirling during the offseason that they were interested in Fredette. With James Harden's sudden departure, could the reigning Western Conference champs need another shooter?
All in all, Jimmer is back with more confidence and aggression than last season. With many unknowns about what will happen during the next 82 games, it is certain to be a determinng year for Fredette's NBA future.
The Kings open the season with three road games at Chicago, Minnesota, and Indiana this week before hosting Golden State in their home opener next Monday.
Andrew Devey is a BYU senior studying communications. You can follow him on Twitter @adevey or watch him curate Jimmer's second season at bit.ly/JimmerScoopit