Last night's game was ugly. There is no doubt about it, no defending the effort, and you'd be hard pressed to find a silver lining. It is still only one game. We hope the team will rebound tonight against Toronto. We also hope the team will pass, score, and defend against Toronto tonight, but that's beside the point.
I think it is too early to jump to conclusions about the team or individual players based on last night's game. We can begin to come to some conclusions based on the season as a whole, but even that has to be considered in the context of what has happened this season. The Kings have a very young roster, with many new players, no preseason, a shortened training camp, and now a new coach with almost no practice time. It's going to be ugly.
Despite all that, there are certain things we can identify. We can conclude that our Small Forward rotation is playing terribly. We can conclude that this team could really use Chuck Hayes back as soon as possible. The masses seem to have concluded that we need a true point guard.
Personally, I think we need another gunner.
Jimmer Fredette is a rookie. The issues facing the team that I outlined above, specifically the lack of preseason and practices, are going to hit Jimmer harder than they will hit a veteran, and they obviously have. Jimmer is off to a slow start, and seems to be lacking any sort of confidence on the court.
I not terribly concerned about it. I think Jimmer will be just fine, he'll find his footing, and he'll get his confidence back. But it has been very difficult to watch Jimmer. His play reminds me of when I play pick-up games. I've got a tendency to hover around the three point line, never really mixing it up. When I get the ball it becomes obvious I'm overthinking what I should do next. I tend to pass when I should shoot, and shoot when I should pass (I'm not a great pick-up game player). I see a lot of this in Jimmer.
During the fourth quarter of last night's game, I noticed Jimmer hovering well behind the arc. He wasn't at the line where he could catch and pull up into a three. While this did a nice job of offering floor spacing, it struck me as very odd. It seems he's reluctant to even be a part of the offense. Part of this might be confidence. Part of it might be not wanting to be labeled as a gunner or a chucker. But this was the fourth quarter of a 30 point blowout.
If I was Coach Smart, I'd tell Jimmer to fire at will. Jimmer was drafted because he can score. Specifically, Jimmer can score from behind the arc. For all the jokes about this team being full of black holes who can score but can't pass, the Kings aren't scoring very much. Last night the Kings went 4-19 from 3. Jimmer was responsible for 2 of those 19 attempts. And he made one of them. I want Jimmer launching threes instead of swinging the ball to "0-6 from 3" John Salmons.
The biggest issue with Jimmer not taking threes is that far too often he is instead putting the ball on the floor and attempting to create a shot. I'm tired of watching Jimmer pass up an open three, dribble into the lane, and attempt a guarded mid-range shot.
Jimmer was drafted because he demonstrated an insane ability to score from deep, even when the shot looked impossible. I appreciate a young player attempting to be a good teammate and not become another black hole.
But come on, Jimmer. Fire at will.