For two games in a row, Jimmer Fredette has received zero minutes. The Kings have won both of these games, and Isaiah Thomas -- the rookie playing ahead of Jimmer -- has been playing with extreme energy and confidence of late (despite the fact that Fredette has been shooting well over the past week or so).
Because of the lack of minutes for Jimmer, folks who follow the Kings because they are fans of Jimmer are mad. Because of the wins and Isaiah's exciting play, folks who -- like the bulk of Sactown Royalty members -- are Kings fans first and foremost don't mind the DNP-CDs so much. After the coaches we've dealt with over the past six years, Keith Smart looks like Red Auerbach. Extensive criticism at this point is difficult to summon.
As a Kings fan, I'm not upset that Jimmer isn't playing. I'm disappointed that we're a below-average club that took a four-year college player in the lottery yet can't get production out of him a quarter of the way into his rookie season. (Brandon Knight was supposed to the project pick. He's playing 32 minutes a game and has 20 starts. Jimmer's at 23 minutes with six starts and two DNPs.)
But this isn't the end of the story for Jimmer. Heck, it's not the end of the first chapter. We're a few pages in. We're just sussing out the characters and the general scene. Keith Smart hasn't written off Jimmer, the franchise hasn't written off Jimmer so there is no reason for us to write off Jimmer. Likewise, there is no reason for Jimmer fans to write off Smart or the Kings. We're just getting started. Things are in a state of fugue. Things will change. Give it time.
I do want to mention one quote from Ailene Voisin's Jimmer piece in today's paper.
"I never sat out an entire game before," [Fredette] admitted, "not even in high school, unless I was hurt or something. But I'm just trying to be a good teammate. I'll keep working and finding ways to get better."
Well, of course he hadn't. Neither had Donte Greene, Francisco Garcia, Travis Outlaw, Tyler Honeycutt, Isaiah Thomas, J.J. Hickson or Jason Thompson before they got to the NBA. That's why this is the top league in the world: everyone who plays in it has been a star at lower levels. Jimmer is an exceptional talent when compared to other college players -- that's why he went No. 10 in the draft. But he is not an exceptional talent when compared to the rest of the NBA. That's what he and his fans need to come to grips with: he's the same big fish, but instead of feasting in a pond filled with guppies, he's in a lake with fish his size and bigger.
Don't worry, he'll be back on the court. But it's not owed to him just because of his name.