LAS VEGAS – The Sacramento Kings have a logjam in the backcourt and it’s possible that Jimmer Fredette may wind up as the odd-man out. But if you talked to him, you never would know it.
Making an appearance at the Kings’ Summer League game against the Golden State Warriors last night, Fredette appeared happy, enthusiastic and excited about the change that’s come to Sacramento. Cowbell Kingdom caught up with the third-year guard yesterday to get his thoughts on the new regime as well as his future with the Kings.
CK: What brings you down here?
JF: Just wanna come in and support the team, support the guys that they just drafted and everyone on the summer league roster, but also to meet everybody. We have a whole new organization, I haven’t been able to meet them all face to face. So, this is a good opportunity for me to do that and to get a couple workouts with them so I can see their terminology, see kind of what they’re like and how they run a work out. So it’s been good and I’m enjoying my time.
CK: Did you have a conversation with any of your new teammates – Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum?
JF: Not yet. I haven’t been able to see them. They just were coming over, getting ready for the game, so I haven’t been able to speak with them yet. But, I think we’ll be able to see them tonight. So, I’m excited to be able to see who they are as people, not just basketball players. That’s a good thing about being teammates.
CK: You talked about there being the new regime in Sacramento. Have you gotten a chance to meet yet with Michael Malone and some of the new guys in the front office?
JF: I’ve talked to coach Malone and the assistants and everybody. Just from the workout this morning, I was able to talk with them and they just seem like really good guys and guys that know what they’re talking about and have a vision. So, I’ll meet with Pete (D’Alessandro) and Vivek (Ranadivé) here…actually I think I’ll see them tonight first and then I’ll meet with them tomorrow as well. So, it’ll be good to see where they’re at and kind of talk to them and just get to know them a little bit.
CK: What are your initial impressions of coach Malone? He’s been said to have a reputation as a player’s coach. Did you get that feel from him today when you worked out with the summer league team?
JF: I think so. He really is passionate about it. You know, you could tell he’s passionate about the game of basketball. And he loves his players, he wants to get to know them. He pulls us aside to talk with us, to give us tips or just to talk about our family and where you’re from and all that different type of stuff. So, he seems like he really is interested in his players and not just as basketball players, but as people. And you know obviously, he’s a guy that likes to have guys shoot the ball and score the basketball. That’s what they did in Golden State and you know I think we have a good team for that as well here.
CK: Did you to talk to him at all about what he expects from you this season and what your role might be?
JF: Not too much yet. He hasn’t talked to me a ton about that. He said he’s not 100 percent sure. They just barely got in (to work) and they’re trying to evaluate everything that they have right now and see what they can do. But I’m confident that I can have a great year this year with the opportunity and I’m excited to come back and be prepared. And hopefully, I’ll have a great role on this team and it’ll be a great relationship.
CK: How do you feel though right now about the roster? There’ve been some changes – Tyreke Evans is gone, Carl Landry is back for a second tour and you have the new rookies as well. But there’s also quite a few guards on this roster. How do you see yourself fitting in with what’s on board so far?
JF: I see myself fitting in well. I see myself playing a lot next year and having a great season. That’s what I see for myself and now hopefully the coaches have a similar vision for me. And that’s what we’re here (for) – try to get to figure out what it is that they want for me to work on and what it is I can do to get ready and get prepared for next year so I can have a really big impact and play a lot of minutes. So, I’m excited to be able to do that and see where their heads (are) at.
CK: Do you see yourself possibly even playing a little bit of the two next year? At 6’6, Greivis Vasquez is a big point guard and he’s a pass-first guy and you’ve always been a scorer. It seems like that could be a natural fit for both of you and even Marcus Thornton as well.
JF: Yeah, I think it could be a good combo with me and him on the floor. Because I could shoot the ball and create and he’s able to create for other guys. I mean, he averaged 10 assists last year and one of the tops in the NBA and he knows how to do that very well. So I think it would work very, very well. I obviously always played point and I love to play point, but I want to be on the floor as much as I possibly can. And if it means playing two sometimes, I’m 100 percent okay with that. So, I’m excited to see what the coaches think.
CK: What in particular are you trying to work on this offseason?
JF: Just work on a lot of moves to create space to get my shot off. That’s the most important thing just to work on that and I’m confident I’m doing a good job. I’ve learned some new moves from some different guys, some player development guys that I’ve worked with…and I’m confident if I get that space, I can make the shot, so I’m excited about it. I’m excited about this offseason and ready to go.
CK: And now that the relocation drama is finally over and the Sacramento Kings are here to stay, how does that feel knowing there’s finally stability there from an ownership, coaching and front office perspective?
JF: It feels great. It feels like a real team and it feels like we have stable guys in office right now. And it feels like a new start, a fresh start for all of us and sometimes, organizations need fresh starts to move forward and get better. And I think that’s what’s going to happen to us this year. I think we’re just gonna continue to progress and they’re gonna make the right moves to better their team whatever it is, so I’m excited about it. I think it’s gonna be a great, great start to the season. I think that the culture is gonna change in Sacramento.
CK: Last question for you. Trades and player movement are part of the business of the NBA, but the average player doesn’t usually have to deal with the specter of relocation every season. Looking back, how much of a distraction was that really for you these last two years?
JF: The biggest thing was that you just got questions about it all the time and you just have to give the same answer. You really didn’t know what was going to happen and you’re focused on basketball, but you heard about it all the time. I mean, it’s just the reality of it. But also it was something that you try not to think about. We were in Sacramento, we were playing, we had games to worry about and that’s where our mind really was because we honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. But obviously, having a family you think about that and think about if we do move, where are we going to move to and where are we gonna be and all these different kinds of things that you think about as just a normal person. It definitely was in your mind, but it didn’t play a huge part, I don’t think, on the performance that we put on the floor.