A year ago, when Jimmer Fredette returned to Utah as a member of the Sacramento Kings, the entire event quickly turned into a media frenzy.
I mean a big, crazy, throw-a-tent-over-this-thing circus.
After a stellar career at BYU, a Wooden Award trophy and a catchy nickname, Utah's favorite adopted son went off to the NBA as a lottery pick. Many among his legion of fans here in Utah were openly hopeful he'd end up with the Jazz and for a time it appeared the might get their chance to draft him.
But the Milwaukee Bucks came along and made a draft-night deal with Sacramento, snatching The Jimmer from off the board (and some say graciously taking the Jazz off the hook).
So, when he arrived back in Utah for his first game, the area around the visitors locker room inside EnergySolutions Arena soon resembled the first five rows of a Justin Beiber concert (I'm guessing).
The kid was a rock star and a sizable portion of the local media -- myself included -- couldn't wait to hear he had to say.
Now, let's forward ahead to Monday morning, following the Kings' shootaround at ESA.
The Jazz had just wrapped up their walk-through session and had completed their media availability. A few colleagues and I were working in the press room when we got word from the Kings' PR people: Jimmer will speak to the media after shootaround and before the game as well.
Please, don't misunderstand. I'm not disparaging Jimmer in any way, or at least I don't mean to. I'm still a fan; I still believe he can play in the NBA. I just don't believe he can play for the smelly, six-week old leftover box of Chinese food sitting in the back of the refrigerator known as the Sacramento Kings.
Calling them a dumpster fire would, I fear, be insulting to dumpsters ... and fire.
The fact it took the Jazz an overtime period to beat them Monday night -- considering they were playing the final leg of a long six-game road trip -- reflects poorly on the Jazz's ability to put teams away.
The Kings are not so much a basketball team as they are a collection of parts. Oh, there's plenty of talent; tons of talent, actually. But without structure, leadership, discipline and a commitment to teamwork, they're just a bunch of guys going in different directions.
The apathy in the air was almost palpable following Monday's shootaround.
This time there was a relatively small group of reporters waiting to talk to Jimmer, and the guy averaging about 14 minutes and 7.5 points per game happily obliged.
As I walked up, I heard him talking about the Kings' recent struggles, which included losing eight of their last 10 games.
"The best way for us to get out of it is to play as a team, move the ball and play for each other," he said. "I think if do that we play well but at times we get away from it."
His words were measured but they spoke volumes. They also provided an apt description of the Kings' issues.
When players with great talent play for each other, they win championships. When they play for themselves because they have no commitment, they're a punchline.
Jimmer Fredette is playing for a punchline and he knows it. And while he's not the type to create a ruckus, he can't wait to get out of there.
He needs to get out of there.
If he were playing on a team like, say, the Spurs, the Heat or even the Jazz, and getting a regimented 15-18 minutes a night, his talent as a shooter would be evident across the league.
Contrast Jimmer's words to those of former Weber State star Damian Lillard spoke when he and the Portland Trail Blazers paid a visit last week.
"I don't think I could have been in a better position," he said. "Portland had a need for my position, I think they were looking for a style of point guard that I am. And I think the kind of guys that are on our team, I fit really well with them."
If you're keeping score -- and I know a few who are -- Lillard scored 26 points in 41 minutes. Jimmer went 0-for-5 from the field and scored two points in 13 minutes on Monday.
But let's not compare these two players. For one thing, Lillard is a better all-around player and always has been. Secondly, while the two are both remarkably talented and genuinely good guys, they're in two vastly different positions.
Lillard is in a place where he's wanted, needed and appreciated. He can flourish there.
And Jimmer? He plays for the Kings.