Monday, June 20, 2011

Please, Jazz, Don't Draft Jimmer

Posted By on June 20, 2011, 2:59 PM

Dear Utah Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor: I know you're really busy this week, but I just wanted to put in a little request. Please, whatever you do, don't draft Jimmer Fredette. ---

This is not a "hate on the Jimmer" message. Quite the contrary. The kid's got more different NBA skills than he's given credit for, and is solidly built enough to be able to hold his own defensively. Drafting is always an imperfect science -- Kwame Brown, Michael Olawokandi, etc. -- but he has just as much chance of being a solid NBA contributor as a #12 pick as he has of being a bust. And he seems like a pretty decent human being in the bargain.

But this isn't about Jimmer Fredette in some theoretical vacuum. It's about Jimmer Fredette playing for the Utah Jazz, here in Utah, where he is already revered and where for the last month there has been more attention placed on the *possibility* of his becoming a Jazz player than has been placed on any actual current Jazz player. Every facet of his game has been placed under the microscope by the local sports media. His workout for the Jazz was covered like the Elizabeth Smart trial.

And that's exactly what no rookie needs, and certainly not a rookie who's far from a sure thing: The pressure of being The One. Sure, you'll sell a few extra tickets to the BYU faithful. Fans will want him to be on the court far more than he probably should be initially; local sports journalists will dissect every missed shot and blown defensive assignment. If he's far more than anyone expects him to be, it'll be a great thing for the Jazz. But if he's only good, he'll feel as much pressure as any #12 pick in NBA history. Maybe he's mentally tough enough to handle it. Or maybe he's only human.

Various national sports outlets, including ESPN, have reported that Fredette received a de facto "promise" from the Jazz that they plan to take him at #12, which may have contributed to him canceling planned workouts with other teams. I really hope you didn't do that, Kevin. Do him a favor.

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Scott Renshaw

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