June 15, 2011
Last Friday, we informed you of BYU guard Jimmer Fredette's desire to have a pre-draft workout with point guards Brandon Knight of Kentucky and Kemba Walker of Connecticut. As a college star saddled with concerns about his athleticism and defense, Fredette wanted to prove that he can hang with the kinds of players that get branded as NBA prospects from the time they're 16 years old. It was a smart move by him, if also a risky one.
Fredette's dream workout never came to pass. However, earlier Wednesday, he got his chance to face Walker (and several other players) in a workout held by the Utah Jazz. It turns out Jimmer was pretty impressive. From the Twitter of Brian Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune (via PBT):
Jimmer wasn't outplayed by Walker. Definitely held his own, according to four other players involved in workout.
Now, maybe these thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt since players are unlikely to insult a fellow draft prospect. But these kind words about Jimmer's game are beginning to look like a trend -- he reportedly impressed in a workout with the Sacramento Kings (selecting seventh in next Thursday's draft) and has been doing quite well in other settings, too.
The concerns over his game won't go away completely after a few workouts; playing against college players in team-run workouts isn't close to the same thing as playing regular games against NBA veterans. Still, in a draft projected to be as poor as this one, you could do worse than Jimmer.
He seems to be solidifying his place as a late-lottery pick. The biggest question now is if he'll vault higher.