Jimmer Fredette and a group of rookies put on a show Thursday night in Provo, Utah on the campus of BYU. Although team Fredette lost 140-126 to team Leonard, the former Cougar got an incredible send off from more than 11,000 enthusiastic fans. As opposed to most of the other summer league events, Fredette and his Octagon management team, landed a first class facility complete with a free live streaming website and a television deal with the BYU channel. So that means that thousands of folks all over the country got to catch a glimpse of some high flying, fun loving, no defense playing hoops.
Coach Steve Fisher came out to coach his former San Diego State star Kawhi Leonard who teamed with the Bucks’ first rounder Tobias Harris to lead team Leonard with 24 points apiece. Kemba Walker chipped in 23 points, six rebounds and four assists to drive the offense from the point, while big man Vernon Macklin anchored the post with 18 points on 8/11 shooting and six rebounds. Team Leonard took an 18 point lead into the half, outscoring team Fredette 36-19 in the second quarter and never looked back.
More after the jump…
Team Fredette, led by BYU coach Dave Rose, received stellar guard play from both Nolan Smith and Jimmer Fredette. Smith, the former Duke Blue Devil, was the 21st overall pick of the Portland Trailblazers in the 2011 NBA draft. Not only did Smith lead all scorers with 30 points, but he ran the offense impeccably, showing a real knack for finding the open man. Fredette was the man of the evening, drawing loud cheers from loyal BYU fans as he scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out 10 assists. The Denver Nuggets had to be happy with the showing of their first round pick Kenneth Faried, who dominated the paint for team Fredette with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Jimmer Fredette was in his element, playing in front of a crowd that cheered him on through four years of college, but it didn’t take long for Jimmer’s new Kings teammate, Isaiah Thomas, to win over the fans as well. The pint size dynamo out of the University of Washington put on a real show that would have made Nate Robinson stand up and cheer. At one point, the fans began chanting “Thomas, Thomas, Thomas!” trying to get coach Fisher to re-insert the 5′-9″ point guard. By night’s end, Isaiah had made a huge impact, scoring 19 points, grabbing eight rebounds and hitting three crucial three-pointers in six attempts.
Former UCLA swingman, Tyler Honeycutt, another Kings draft pick, started slowly but really got comfortable in the second half. Once settled, Honeycutt ran the floor well, even teaming up with Jimmer Fredette on a two-on-one break and ally-oop. Honeycutt needs to bulk up and work on his perimeter shooting, but he showed incredible court vision and finished strong at the rim. During pre-draft workouts, Honeycutt told us that his offensive game was further along than what we saw at UCLA. That appeared to be accurate tonight as Tyler scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out four assists for team Fredette.
Overall, the event seemed to be a hit. Jimmer was active and showed some nice athleticism on both ends of the floor. The three big men that played substantial minutes throughout the game, Bismack Biyombo, Kenneth Faried and Vernon Macklin, all produced but looked raw. Tobias Harris and Nolan Smith were the best players on the floor for most of the night, while Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard both showed why they were high draft picks. There was nothing but good things to take away from the game for Kings fans. Fredette is expected to play rotational minutes from day one, but Isaiah Thomas looks like a player who will win fans over the moment he touches the floor. Honeycutt is a little further away from contributing, but he looks like a solid project with the potential to be a defensive stopper.