Whenever Jimmer Fredette gets his chance to shine, both his former and current head coach believe he'll succeed.
Fredette didn't get off the bench in the Bulls' 94-87 win over the Kings on Saturday night, his fourth DNP-CD in eight games since signing with Chicago. It would have been a chance for him to face off against the team that drafted him three years ago and waived him last month, but as Tom Thibodeau explained at shootaround before the game, Fredette's impact won't be felt immediately because of the clear rotation Thibodeau had cemented by the time he arrived.
"He's got a great attitude, great approach. He's got a skill that he can do as well as anyone in the league," Thibodeau said. "He can shoot the ball, and so you're coming in late and the two guys he's behind have played very well for us all year. But we have a lot of confidence in him, and whether it's foul trouble or an injury we're not going to hesitate to put him out there."
Jimmy Butler has been penciled in as the starting shooting guard all year, while rookie Tony Snell has found a niche off the bench. Thibodeau also likes using dual point guards DJ Augustin and Kirk Hinrich at the same time, leaving little room for Fredette to break the rotation on the Eastern Conference's current No. 4 seed.
The No. 10 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft hasn’t proven to be more than a spark off the bench, but Kings head coach Mike Malone believes that may change in Chicago.
In Fredette’s rookie year the Kings already had committed $40 million to Marcus Thornton when they traded for his draft rights, and Fredette’s tryout at point guard produced less than stellar results. And while Fredette was able to earn 14 minutes a night last year in a crowded Sacramento backcourt, the Kings selected Ben McLemore with the No. 7 pick last June and committed to him and Thornton at shooting guard.
And while Fredette won’t be making anyone forget about any of the four Bulls whose number hangs in the United Center rafters, Malone believes Fredette will have an impact in Chicago because of the work ethic Thibodeau also noted.
“A very, very high character young man. Gym rat, always in the gym even on off-days, coming in and getting his work in, even when he was not part of the rotation he never dropped his head, never stopped working, never stopped supporting his teammates,” said Malone, who is in his first season as Kings head coach, “and that’s why I think at some point the Bulls will be able to use him, and I believe he’ll be able to step up and help them in whatever role that is. He can definitely shoot the ball, and we wish him nothing but the best."