Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette makes another return to Utah on Monday night, when the Sacramento Kings play the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
While Fredette continues to seek a consistent role in coach Keith Smart’s regular rotation, Sacramento needs victories. The Kings have lost seven of their last eight games and bring a 17-32 record into their game against Utah.
“It’s been a tough road,” Fredette said after the Kings’ morning shoot-around. “Teams go through that during the season, and it’s our turn right now. The biggest thing — for us to get out of it — is to play as a team, move the ball and play for each other. If we do that, we play well. But at times we get away from it.”
Fredette averages 7.5 points in 14.1 minutes per game in his second NBA season. He has played more than 20 minutes just twice in the Kings’ last 16 games.
“I’m biding my time and trying to play the best I can when I get the opportunity,” he said. “I’m working hard every day in practice and in the games — doing what I can when I get on the floor [to] help the team.
“I feel like I’m confident and progressing as a player. But hopefully at some point we’ll continue to get more minutes and have more of a role.”
The Kings and Jazz have split two games this season, with Utah claiming a 104-102 win and the Kings scoring a 108-97 victory in Sacramento.
Asked about the physical aspect of recent Jazz-Kings games, Fredette said, “The last couple of years — since I’ve been involved — we’ve played well against them. They have always been close games, coming down to the wire. They’ve had some chippy moments. But that’s the fun in basketball. It’s competitive and, hopefully, we can come out with a win tonight.”