Fredette brings rock-star status to Kings

Jun 24 2011 - 2:14pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Kings took a detour through Milwaukee to get him, but hey, who wouldn't go a few extra miles for a rock star? For Jimmer Fredette? He tweets, he shoots, he scores.

He stars in a documentary.

He is a one-man, predraft publicity machine.

So now that he's here -- or almost here -- does he play bass or lead guitar? Is he part of the opening act or does he come off the bench? And what does he know about funding mechanisms and construction of new arenas? (Seriously, we would have asked these questions had Fredette's handlers made him available to the Sacramento media in a late-night, post-draft teleconference, as is the NBA norm. Now we'll just wait for the news conference that is tentatively scheduled for Saturday)."When (the Kings) made the trade to No. 10, I thought it was a possibility," Fredette was quoted by NBA media types back in New York. " ... They liked me out there, the Maloofs and coach (Paul Westphal) and (Geoff) Petrie. And now it's a reality."

Fredette's selection occurred after an unusually active draft day for Petrie. In a three-team deal in which the Kings moved down from the No. 7 to the No. 10 pick, the Kings also sent point guard Beno Udrih to Milwaukee for former Kings small forward John Salmons.

"We got a very high-quality small forward at a position we really struggled last year, and we felt we could get a really good player at 10," said Petrie.

The Kings hoped to address some of their big weaknesses perimeter shooting, starting small forward and playmaking but Salmons' return is curious.

Basketball is still played with five players and one ball. The Kings frightful death-by-dribbling offense might make a comeback given there isn't a facilitator among a projected starting unit of Salmons, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.

Someone? Anyone? OK, Cousins is an excellent passer, though he suffers from bouts of carelessness and sticky fingers.

Asked whether there were enough basketballs to go around, Petrie laughed. "You only can play with one," he joked.

Petrie quickly added that the club has retained its salary cap flexibility and anticipates being very aggressive in free agency. The plan is to re-sign Thornton, who is expected to form a three-guard rotation with Evans and Fredette. The hope, of course, is that Fredette comes to training camp and quickly establishes that he is more similar to Stephen Curry or Mark Price than Steve Kerr, J.J. Redick or (gulp) Adam Morrison.

"I think of him as a point guard," said coach Paul Westphal. " ... I don't think there's going to be a real difficult learning curve for him."

In his senior year at BYU, the 6-foot-2 Fredette led the nation in scoring (28.9 points per game) and captured most of the major player of the year awards, including Naismith, Wooden, Associated Press. He set school records in points, three-pointers and games played.

Fredette is regarded as an excellent deep shooter and characterized by some NBA types (among them Jerry West) as more of a shotmaker than shooter, as someone capable of creating for others as well as himself. The biggest concern with Fredette is lack of defense.

But that's nothing new with rookies. That's something that can be learned. It's his "fundamental" skills, as Westphal suggested, that most excites the Kings and their fans, as well as Fredette's legion of followers.

The documentary ended last night, though. "This is the last day of the 'Follow Jimmer' YouTube thing," Fredette told the media in New York. "It was a good thing. It shows what a college basketball player has to go through to get into the NBA."

So for starters, maybe Fredette should have a little chat with his handlers? Based on his comments in New York, he sounded pleased to be joining the Kings. "The style of play that I like, the up-tempo system, ball screens," said Fredette. "It plays right into my style. That's how I played by whole entire life." Next time? Set aside the camera. Make that call.

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