Jimmer Fredette ranks among the greatest what-ifs in NBA history. The guard showed flashes of huge potential during his four-year stint at Brigham Young University. His senior-year performance was strong enough to win him unanimous National Player of the Year honors in 2011.
Despite his seemingly limitless potential, especially in terms of scoring, Fredette never managed to make a lasting career in the NBA. So what has he actually accomplished both in the NBA and overseas? And what does Fredette’s future in basketball look like?
Jimmer Fredette’s NBA career
The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Fredette with the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, only to trade him to the Kings as part of a three-team deal. Fredette spent a little over two seasons in Sacramento, mostly playing backup. Still, he showed the shooting ability that made him a college star, knocking down 41.7% of his three-pointers in the 2012-13 season.
Nonetheless, the shooting guard’s minutes dropped in each season with the Kings. In February 2014, the team bought out Fredette’s contract. and he bounced around the league for three seasons — a short stint with the Chicago Bulls followed by stops in New Orleans and with the Knicks.
Fredette didn’t see much playing time. The main knocks against him were his lack of versatility and mental toughness. He also struggled to transition from being his team’s first option to more of a role player.
Fredette’s CBA resume
After Fredette failed to sign with an NBA team for 2016-17, he chose to play overseas for the Shanghai Sharks, a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. Fredette excelled in his three seasons with the Sharks, even winning China MVP in the 2016-17 season.
The CBA suited Fredette’s skill set. Simply put, the league doesn’t put much of an emphasis on defense, letting shooters shoot at will instead. He averaged over 37 points per game in each of his three seasons, while also putting up respectable rebounding and assist numbers.
The chances of an NBA return
Despite his struggles in the NBA, teams have kept an eye on Fredette while he’s overseas. In March 2019, he signed a two-year deal with the struggling Phoenix Suns. Yet he only ended up playing a limited role in six games, failing to make an impression.
Then, Fredette signed a Summer League contract with the Golden State Warriors. Yet almost as soon as he agreed to play with the team’s summer squad, he backed out of the deal. Instead, Fredette chose to sign a two-year, $3.5 million contract with Panathinaikos, a Greek team.
Apparently the team’s owner, Dimitrios Giannakopoulos, had targeted Fredette for as many as five years. So far the athlete shows plenty of chops. After shooting a 66.1% in the Greek Basket League division, he moved up to the EuroLeague squad.
Fredette has proved himself equally adept in the more competitive EuroLeague. In 22.6 minutes per game, he’s put up 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and two assists while shooting a lights-out 43.5% from deep. If the 30-year-old can prove himself capable of numbers like that, another NBA return isn’t out of the question.
Still, the clock is ticking for Fredette. It seems safe to assume that if he can’t find an NBA role in the next few years, the window will likely be closed.