The Sacramento Kings fell to the Golden State Warriors 107 to 96 in their preseason opener. But rookie Jimmer Fredette still managed to shine in his NBA debut.
“He’s a basketball player,” said Head Coach Paul Westphal of Jimmer. ”He understands what he’s doing and why and I thought he did a good job.
“They tried to post him up with a bigger guy and he did a really nice job two or three times,” Westphal added. ”I thought his defense was everything you would hope for with a player who is coming into the league for his first game who is not known as a defensive player. He held his own just fine. Offensively, he looked very comfortable and made good decisions.”
Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson came away impressed, too.
“I thought he played very well,” said Jackson. “It was very good to see him, live and in person. He’s tough, hard nosed, gritty and obviously shot the lights out. Very impressive, I thought at times we allowed him to get us on our heels…but he played very well.”
Jimmer showed, at the very least, his offensive skills translate to the next level. He started off timid, but got in a rhythm in the second quarter that flowed through halftime. His best quarter? Nine points, including two three-pointers in the third. He showed off his unlimited range and hit at least two of his four made threes while contested.
“It’s still basketball,” said Jimmer about the level of competition. “It’s a little different, the guys are bigger, a little bit more athletic and guys can really shoot the ball and score. It’s pretty much what I thought, but you don’t know what is going to happen until you go through it so it was a good learning experience.”
Defensively, the Kings did something peculiar throughout the game. In man-to-man situations, the Kings let Jimmer guard the Warriors’ three.
“We did that sometimes and he did a good job,” said Westphal when asked if that was by design.
Jimmer echoed his coach’s sentiment about defending the wing.
“We’re interchangeable as guards out there, all three of us,” he said. “I was able to guard all three positions. I guarded everybody out there and I thought I did well. I went out there and competed, got hands in shooters faces and tried to force tough shots. I got a steal or two and I thought I did well.”
Missing the men in the middle
This was a night where both DeMarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes’ absence stood out, especially on the glass. The Kings were outrebounded, 47 to 32 (14 to four on the offensive boards) by the Warriors tonight.
“We’re a different team this year,” said Kings big man J.J. Hickson. ”But that’s no excuse for them outrebounding us. I gotta do a better job of rebounding and boxing out, especially on the defensive end.”
But the most glaring statistic? Points in the paint. The Kings gave up 62 points inside to Golden State, while only managing to score 28 points of their own.
“If any team scores 60 points in the paint, it’s always a big concern,” said Hickson. ”They had a lot of post touches. I think they went to their post-ups a lot because a lot of our bigs were in foul trouble, including myself. But you know, I think you’ll see a different team out there when we play them (again).”