“I’ve gotta make minutes on the floor for him now,” Smart said after Fredette posted 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in a 103-90 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. “Because he’s just too positive right now in what he’s doing.”
Seven games later, has Smart kept his promise?
Since admitting to the world that he had basically gotten “Jimmered”, the Kings head coach has continued to make playing time come at a premium for Fredette. The second-year guard appeared in just six of Kings’ last seven games and earned his second “Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision” of the season in Sacramento’s loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday. In those six games, Fredette has averaged just 10.8 minutes per game.
By comparison to the Kings’ first seven contests, Fredette also appeared in just six, staying glued to the bench in the double-overtime thriller in Indiana. His minutes in those games were relatively the same too, as he averaged just eight minutes per contest.
“He just makes a gametime decision,” Fredette said after practice yesterday to reporters when asked about the communication he and Smart have regarding the Kings’ rotation. “You don’t know or anything until he calls your name basically.”
If his recent shooting stats are any indication, they may be one reason why Fredette’s minutes haven’t dramatically increased. Through his first six games, he was shooting lights out, posting 64 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. Since then, his efficiency has plummeted. The 23-year-old guard has shot just 38.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc in his last six contests.
Fredette’s defense might be another possible reason for his continued lack of playing time. Through his first six games, he had averaged a 106.3 defensive rating. But in the following six contests after Smart’s play-Jimmer-more declaration, Fredette’s allowed 113.3 points per 100 possessions.
Despite his recent struggles and inconsistent minutes, Fredette continues to maintain a positive attitude. He lets his coach worry about the rotation while focusing on what he can control.
“You’ve just gotta be ready and prepared,” Fredette said. “He decides on the match-ups and what he feels is best for the team at the time.”
Fredette admits it hasn’t been easy to find his rhythm in limited minutes. But he tries to keep an aggressive mentality when he comes off the bench. Maintaining a consistent routine is a part of crafting that focus.
“I workout every day before practice,” Fredette said of his routine to keep himself ready at a moment’s notice. “Always get my shots up and make sure that I’m mentally still in the game. (Make sure) my shot’s feeling good, (staying) in good condition so when you get in the game, you have your legs.”
That routine doesn’t change on gamedays either.
“I do the same routine before a game,” Fredette said. “I think most guys do. It doesn’t necessarily mess with me if I (miss a part of it). But I definitely like to get it just because I feel more prepared, more ready to get into the game.”
Fredette isn’t a fortune teller. He can’t tell you how the next seven games of the Kings’ season will play out for the team and himself.
But what he will do is work. He’ll continue to stay ready for Smart’s call – sweeping declarations or not.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.