In arguably the worst mistake in franchise history, the Sacramento Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. This week, Jimmer was released by the San Antonio Spurs, the fourth, and likely last, team of Jimmer's 4-year NBA career. Jimmer Fredette will go down in NBA history as a bust. This status is sealed by Sacramento's mistake, taking Jimmer over the likes of Klay Thompson and, the guy many Kings fans wanted, Kawhi Leonard. Worse still, the Kings traded down from the 7th pick and gave up Beno Udrih to acquire John Salmons.
This mistake has been well-documented and discussed ad nauseum around here. But being cut by the Spurs puts a different twist on the fall of the Jimmer. The Kings obviously made a mistake with the 10th pick, and that's not even counting how the acquired it. But there's another question about Jimmer that I've always had, and that's the question of whether Jimmer could've been saved by a less dysfunctional franchise.
Jimmer's rookie season featured Paul Westphal being fired after seven games, and being replaced by Keith Smart. Marcus Thornton led the team in points per game. Terrence Williams averaged 20 minutes per game. DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans attempting to work together was still a thing. And there was this other distraction involving the team moving to Anaheim, and then "you've got Burkle?", and the Maloofs agreeing to and the reneging on a deal. To say Jimmer entered the league under less than ideal circumstances is an understatement.
So there was always the question: what if Jimmer had been drafted by a franchise that was good at player development? And the most common example was the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have a knack for reclamation projects and getting the most out of players. Danny Green played 20 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers before being waived after his rookie season. The Spurs picked him up and turned him into a key piece of a perennial title contender.
After leaving the Kings, Jimmer joined the Chicago Bulls. While former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau isn't known as the most nuturing coach, especially to rookies, it was an organization the has successfully developed players, such as Jimmy Butler. Jimmer played all of 56 minutes, over eight games.
Jimmer next landed with the New Orleans Pelicans. He abandoned his three point shot, averaging a career low 3.4 attempts per 36 minutes. The shot abandoned Jimmer as well, landing just .188 percent of the time. He was a far, far worse played than he was at any other stop, even during his time in the chaos of Sacramento.
And now the Spurs are cutting bait. The very model of franchise stability and player development has decided not to keep a player who, despite an awful shooting season in New Orleans, still has a career three point percentage over 38%.
We've known for a long time that Sacramento should have picked someone else with the 7th or 10th pick in the 2011 Draft. But now we at least know that there was probably nothing the Kings could have done to salvage Fredette's career.