Waiting for the lockout to end to make his professional debut was obviously out of the question for former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette.
Last night in Provo, Utah, Fredette packed the house yet again, returning to where he played out his college career.
Jimmer didn’t disappoint, finishing with 27 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in front of over 11,000 fans at the Marriott Center.
Unfortunately for Fredette, his team lost to Spurs draftee Kawhi Leonard’s team 140-126.
Leonard got his team on the board first, easily penetrating into the post for a layup. Fredette soon followed.
Leonard and Fredette captained both teams, as they did in countless Mountain West conference games. But soon after tipoff, the attention was turned to one of the more interesting match ups of the night, Fredette vs. Bobcats draftee Kemba Walker.
Walker started attacking the basket early while Fredette shot from all over the floor. It seemed Walker got the better of the matchup early on, but his 23 point, four assist night paled in comparison to Fredettes.
Here are a few other observations from the game.
• Jimmer Fredette
Fredette pretty much confirmed all of my previous beliefs. He can shoot from far past the NBA three-point line, but will have some trouble scoring inside against NBA front courts. He’s not your usual spot-up three-point shooter. He can shoot off the dribble, which should be an asset if he plays point guard, and from last night’s game, it looks like he’s got the IQ to pull that off.
• Nolan Smith
Trailblazers fans may be happy to know they may have gotten a steal in late first round draft pick Nolan Smith. I came away from last night’s game most impressed with Smith. Smith led all scorers with 30 points and had a game-high 13 assists. He’s a smart point guard and he was able to get his shot off, while also making his team better.
• Tobias Harris
Bucks first round pick Tobias Harris always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. I would be surprised if he broke a sweat in what looked like an effortless, but consistent 24-point game.
• Bismack Biyombo
While many expect Biyombo to be a bust, his defense helped keep Fredette from penetrating for easy layups. Biyombo finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
• Kawhi Leonard
Spurs draftee Kawhi Leonard was active throughout the game, whether it was stepping in passing lines, playing help defense or setting up his teammates when he was asked to play point-forward. He displayed his athleticism and surprisingly-good ball-handling for a player his size finishing with layups in the paint or getting to the free-throw line all night for 24 points and 10 rebounds.