Unless the Sacramento Kings’ rotation changes overnight, Jimmer Fredette’s third professional visit to Utah isn’t likely to create the same buzz as the first two.
Fredette, the wildly popular former BYU star, returns to EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night when the Jazz battle the Kings.
Kings at JazzAt EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff » 7 p.m.
TV » ROOT
Radio » 1280 AM, 1600 AM and 97.5 FM
Records » Jazz 6-6; Kings 3-8
Season series » First game
Last meeting » Kings, 104-103 (March 30, 2012)
About the Jazz » The Jazz are 2-0 with a starting lineup including Randy Foye and Derrick Favors, but are minus-22.9 points with that lineup on the floor. ... Barring a setback, veteran point guard Earl Watson is expected to return to the Jazz lineup after April knee surgery. ... Paul Millsap has had two of his three worst scoring performances since Favors was inserted in the starting lineup.
About the Kings » DeMarcus Cousins leads Sacramento with 16.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. ... Former Naismith Award winner Jimmer Fredette, who played at BYU, averages 9.1 minutes per game and 6.1 points. ... The Kings broke a five-game losing streak on Wednesday with 113-97 win over the Lakers.
The big question:
Will Fredette get significant minutes or will he continue to get only limited playing time from Sacramento coach Keith Smart?
In the Kings’ 113-97 win over the Lakers on Wednesday, Fredette finished with a seldom-seen line in the box score — 0 minutes, 1 assist. He played the final 7.7 seconds of the first half.
Officially, Fredette has played 17 minutes in the Kings’ last three games against Atlanta, Brooklyn and the Lakers.
While he mostly watched, the Kings are 3-8 this season, running their two-year record with Fredette to 25-52.
Smart, the Kings’ fifth head coach since 2006-07 and Fredette’s second, has praised his young player’s willingness to be patient and contribute when asked to do so.
After he scored 12 points in 15 minutes during a 105-103 win over Detroit, Smart told reporters Fredette "stays ready all the time" and is the type of player "you’ve got to have as your team is growing."
Fredette has produced other big games this season.
He scored 18 points in a 103-90 loss to the Lakers, and he finished with 10 in a season-high 25 minutes in a 103-86 loss to Portland.
Still, Fredette is playing half as much as he did as a rookie, when he averaged 7.6 points in 18.6 minutes.
This year, Fredette averages 6.1 points in only 9.1 minutes, although his shooting percentage has jumped from .386 to .512.
Fredette’s minutes malady can be partially explained by the presence of Aaron Brooks.
Signed by the Kings during the offseason, Brooks joins second-year player Isaiah Thomas as Smart’s primary point guards.
Throw in veteran Tyreke Evans, who can also play the position, and Fredette often finds himself at the back of the line when it comes to playing time.
Because of the logjam, Fredette’s season has seemingly evolved into another when patience will be a necessity.
"I didn’t come in expecting that I was going to play huge minutes right away," Fredette said before a game in Utah last year.
"It’s about buying your time, working as hard as you can and getting the trust of your coaching staff and teammates, and eventually things will turn."
Perhaps Fredette’s season will turn around against the Jazz.
In his first game against them last year, he started, played 31 minutes and finished with 14 points.Next Page >
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