Find out how Fredette has earned increased playing time. Plus, Johnson works on his jump shot with one of the NBA’s all-time leading scorers and more.
After working on his all-round game throughout the offseason and training camp, Jimmer Fredette has demonstrated he’s a vastly improved and more productive player from his rookie campaign, ready to serve as an offensive catalyst each time he steps on the court.
“I think I’ve progressed a lot – (I) just worked really hard this offseason, continued to get better and just feel more comfortable,” said Fredette. “Going through Summer League (and) training camp, I just feel more comfortable the second time around. Knowing the system, the players, the coaches, the area – it all helps.”
Kings Assistant Coach Alex English, who served as co-head coach during Summer League, believes No. 7 has become a significantly better player following the five-game experience in Las Vegas.
“I think just being able to play up and down the floor with some NBA pros, that helped him a lot,” said English, adding the BYU product has also scored highly on the team’s defensive tests. “You can also see he’s put in a lot of work, effort and time into working on his game (during the) offseason.”
Fredette – who says he’s learned how to become a better defender while playing within Sacramento’s scheme – understands and accepts his role as a scorer and outside threat who can stretch the floor and create for himself or his teammates.
“(My mindset is) just be aggressive – that’s what (Coach Smart) wants me to do,” he said. “He wants me to be a scorer out there, be a playmaker (and) just provide a spark whenever I get a chance and opportunity, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
Despite limited playing time early in the season, No. 7’s confidence never wavered. In the three games he’s logged at least 10 minutes, the 6-foot-2 guard has averaged 12.0 points on 61.9 percent from the field, connecting on 5-of-9 from long range.
“I’ve always had confidence in my shot,” he said. “I feel like it’s going in every time (I) shoot it. You have to have that mentality, but you also have to have short-term memory loss if you miss it – if you miss it, you just go to the next one.”
Smart, impressed with the guard’s positive outlook and composure, commends Fredette’s strong work ethic and rapid development.
“The young man has made a big leap,” said Smart. “His efficiency rating is shooting up the charts, and that happens with young players (as they begin) to understand how the NBA works (and) how you have to work in the NBA.
“Obviously, the guy works hard – that’s always a halfway point of getting there,” continued Smart. “He studies, he pays attention, he’s very studious, and so now you can see the things he’s doing on the floor.”
Fredette has made the most of his court time this season, leading all qualified players in points (32.2) and field goals made (12.0) and ranking third in three-pointers (3.7) per 36 minutes.
“I just love the fact he doesn’t complain about anything,” said the Kings leader. “He just works and says, ‘When my time comes, I’ll be ready,’ and every time I’ve (put him in the game), he’s been ready.”
Smart disclosed he’s not only going to find ways to get the hot-shooting guard on the court, but also ensure No. 7’s teammates find him whenever he’s open.
“You want an assist?” asked the Kings leader. “Make sure you know where he is first, and you’ll get that assist.”
– Forward Thomas Robinson is looking forward to getting back on-court Tuesday night after serving an NBA-mandated two-game suspension.
“I’m excited just to play again – get another opportunity to go out there and do what I do for a living,” he said.
While Robinson has learned from his mistake, he says he’ll continue to play with his trademark motor and energy.
“I’m not going to stop being a tough player … that’s just who I am,” said No. 0. “I’m still going to continue to be aggressive, but I won’t be doing anything illegal.”
– Following practice, assistant coach English worked closely with James Johnson on his jump shot and mid-range game.
“He has a habit of bringing his shot down (too quickly) once he shoots it, and you notice with good shooters, they keep their follow-through up,” said English, who ranks 13th on the all-time NBA scoring list.
“What we want is more consistency in his jump shot, and to do that, you have to put in the time and the work and you have to develop a technique that’s the same every time.”
– Center DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday served the first of a two-game suspension, and while Smart has since had a discussion with No. 15, he declined to divulge details of the conversation, focusing instead on moving forward.
“(What he told me) is between my center and the coach of the Sacramento Kings,” said Smart.
“He’s disappointed because that happened, but he’s back on the floor, going through our defensive practice we had earlier and our offensive practice and our film session, just like he’s been the whole year.”