SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two years after leading the nation in scoring, Jimmer Fredette is now the leading scorer in the NBA ... sort of.
Fredette is averaging 43 points per 48 minutes of play. That's better than Carmelo, Kobe and Lebron for tops in league.
On Sunday, Fredette scored 18 points in a 103-90 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in just 10 minutes of play. That performance followed a 12-point outing in 15 minutes against Detroit earlier in the week.
Kings head coach, Keith Smart, has taken notice of his efficient play as well.
“The young man has made a big leap,” Smart told Alex Kramer of The Kings Blog. “His efficiency rating is shooting up the charts, and that happens with young players (as they begin) to understand how the NBA works (and) how you have to work in the NBA."
Fredette's success has come with much pleasure to the supporters of the #freejimmer social media campaign. The hashtag has been attached to comments from Fredette advocates who want to see the former BYU all-American traded from Sacramento or freed from the shackles of the Kings bench.
Portland's Damian Lillard hasn't been shackled to anything since he came into to the league, but has considerably cooled off after his red-hot start.
Last night Lillard scored 12 points but made only 5 of 18 shots from the field in a 95-87 loss to the Atlanta Hawks and the Trailblazers extended their losing streak to four games.
"Few players, if any, in the NBA know how to manipulate their bodies in space as well or as frequently as (Chris) Paul does, particularly in the pick-and-roll. If Lillard can learn to stick his man on his hip in a CP3-like manner, he'll render himself that much tougher to guard as a scorer."
Lillard got an up-close look at Paul's game last week in a 103-90 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, but his play caught the eye of the Clippers' point guard who called him a "prized possession" while speaking to reporters after the game in this video.
Fredette and Lillard square off tonight as the Trailblazers visit Sacramento and both teams look to end losing streaks.
Kings coach Keith Smart has some advice for his players regarding Fredette's play heading into tonight's game.
"You want an assist?" Smart asks. "Make sure you know where he is first, and you'll get that assist."
Andrew Devey is a BYU senior studying communications. You can follow him on Twitter @adevey or watch him following Fredette and Lillard's NBA season at bit.ly/JimmerLillard