Excerpts from a media interview Thursday with Sacramento guard Jimmer Fredette.
Challenges he’s faced during his rookie season: It’s been very, very interesting. It’s definitely not the normal way to go about it. With the shortened training camp and then having the coaching change the first week of the season, it’s something that I’ve never gone through before. It’s definitely tough and it changes your perspective on things, knowing that you’re not always going to have the same coach all of the time. You just have to continue to play through it, continue to get better and stay together with your teammates and try to become as consistent as you possibly can.
Moving into starting lineup: The starting 2 man is injured right now, Marcus Thornton. I think that’s the main reason why. The coaching staff definitely has confidence in me to be able to make plays and be able to score the basketball and do everything that I can on the basketball court. It’s great that they have that type of confidence in me to start me, even rookie year. It’s been great. But mostly because of the injury, I think.
Becoming more comfortable last three games: Yeah, I think for sure I’m starting to feel a lot better the last week and a half. Playing a lot better, shooting the ball better and just getting more comfortable with the NBA game. That’s something I continue to work on every single day. I’ll continue to get more comfortable and better with the teammates and the coaching staff, and with what they are trying to do. I feel like I’m getting better and hopefully keep getting better as a team.
Working with Bobby Jackson and the coaching staff: They’ve been kind of a joint effort and Bobby’s done a great job of it. … It’s just all about the feel of the game. They’re trying to get me to work on the floater, especially when you get into the lane and try not to take it all the way to the basket all of the time - there’s a time and place for it. I’m just feeling out different situations. Knowing what to do on the screen-and-rolls and how to read defenses - what they’re trying to do and what their defensive scheme is trying to do and how you break it down.
DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans: DeMarcus is a good guy. He works hard and he sometimes gets a bad rap in the media and it’s kind of unfair. He works hard and he’s a beast out there on certain nights. As a team, we have to continue to get more consistent, and that comes with every single player on the team as well. But he’s a talented guy - a big, athletic guy. He could be a very, very good player if he puts his mind to it. The same thing with Tyreke. He’s a very talented player and goes out there and plays hard every single night and he’s a good guy on the court.
Comparing his rookie season to NBA draft hype: It’s a little more sane, for sure. Getting into the season, you get into a rhythm and you know exactly what you’re going to do on each and every single day. Obviously, the travel schedule is tough and it’s something that’s different from college and I realize that part. But it’s been going very, very well and I’m into more of a routine now that the season has started. During the draft, kind of a crazy, hectic schedule and you’re not playing any basketball games. So now I’m playing the game that I love. You go out there and you compete on a nightly basis and it’s definitely not as crazy because you know what’s coming.
How close the Jazz came to drafting him, and making his NBA debut in Salt Lake City: I’m not exactly sure how close they were to moving up. I heard rumors about it, but I never know exactly what’s going on on draft day. I’m not behind the scenes. I’m just waiting to hear my name called. I heard the possibility of that. Also, I’m really excited to play my debut in Salt Lake. It’ll be a lot of fun to play in front of those fans I played in front of for the last four years, and they’re still passionate and I appreciate all the support they’ve given me. I just hope to be able to have a good game and hopefully our team will be able to win.
Improvement since Memphis game: It just felt more comfortable. I got a little bit more playing time and I got out there and hit a couple shots. I was playing the point and just being aggressive. They were setting some ballscreens for me and I was trying to make plays off of it, whether it be for myself or my teammates. It just felt good. … I’ve got into a little bit of a groove since then.
Brian T. Smith