Fredette's first step a good one

Dec 19 2011 - 7:54pm

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(Ben Margot/The Associated Press)
Sacramento Kings' Jimmer Fredette looks to pass away from Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry during an NBA basketball preseason game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Oakland, Calif.
(Ben Margot/The Associated Press)
Sacramento Kings' Jimmer Fredette looks to pass away from Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry during an NBA basketball preseason game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Oakland, Calif.

Nervous? Of course he was.

Jimmer Fredette is nervous before every game.

Yes, even a preseason game.

Once the game started against the Golden State Warriors, the Kings' highly touted rookie looked comfortable in his unofficial NBA debut, scoring 21 points in a 107-96 loss in Oakland Saturday.

Skeptics said that Fredette's high-scoring ways would not translate to the NBA and that he wouldn't be able to defend well.

The Kings, however, were pleased with what they saw.

One person not surprised was Fredette. He's not the type to brag, but Fredette is confident he can play in the NBA, and nothing about his debut changed that.

"It's still basketball," Fredette said. "It's a little different. The guys are bigger, more athletic, and the guys can really shoot the ball and score. But it's pretty much what I thought."

Fredette made seven of 11 shots, including four of six from three-point range. He also had four assists and a steal.

The offensive production was expected to a certain degree.

"It's not shocking," said fellow Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas. "He hit shots -- that's what he does. He puts the ball in the basket at a good rate, so I feel like every shot he shoots is going in."

But Fredette's doubters say he's a defensive liability. He spent the summer working on his lateral quickness and defense.

Monta Ellis drove by Fredette early, but Ellis does that to most defenders.

The Warriors tried posting up Fredette, too.

"I thought (Fredette's) defense was everything you would hope for with a player who is coming into the league for his first game who is not known as a defensive player," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "He held his own just fine."

Fredette, 6-foot-2, will be asked to defend each of the three perimeter positions. So he could go from hounding a point guard to chasing a shooting guard to trying to deal with a small forward who is bigger and stronger.

The first time out, Fredette was pleased with his effort.

"I thought I did well," Fredette said. "Went out there and competed, got hands in shooters' faces and tried to force tough shots. I got a steal, and I thought I did pretty well."

Fredette is undergoing intense scrutiny. He's not keen on the attention.

"He's a great, humble kid," said Kings guard Marcus Thornton. "To me, it doesn't look like he gets into all the attention he gets. He's staying focused for the most part, and I like that about him."

Fredette also realizes he has a lot to learn. He expects to make shots, but he also expects to improve.

"It's just getting used to the game, getting used to the speed of the game," Fredette said. "The help defense and all that is all different. ... Everything is what I've got to work on."

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