He tried for normal, he really did, but there was no chance for normal. This was the Jimmer, the day after Christmas. This was his NBA debut, six weeks delayed. These were the Lakers and around here nothing compares with Kings-Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion.
He was eager, he was nervous.
He was enveloped by fans, bolstered by family.
My parents (Al and Kay) are here, and so is my brother (T.J.) and sister (Lindsay)," Fredette said about 90 minutes before the Kings stung the Lakers in Monday night's season opener. "My fiancée (Whitney Wonncott) flew in this afternoon, so we opened up presents. That was fun. But I'm really excited about getting started. This is my goal."
His role, as defined by Paul Westphal, was pretty simple. Play his game. Just be the Jimmer. Take his shot, make plays, and keep working in improving his defense.
Well, the part about taking his shot taking long. The part about making plays for others? More on that in a moment.
Fredette's debut became official when he substituted for Marcus Thornton with 6:06 remaining in the first period. In less time than it took public address announcer Scott Moak to introduce "Jim-MER Fre-DETTE," the 6-foot-2 guard drove down the right side, hesitated as he elevated and was called for double-dribbling.
But it's true what they say, what Fredette proved during all those NCAA Tournament thrillers. He can play. He finds a way, never mind the abbreviated training camp, the lack of summer league, the shortened preseason, the lack of NBA experience.
A few possessions later, he dribbled to the same spot, pulled up for a similar shot, and converted a 15-foot fadeaway for his first official field goal and a 19-17 Kings lead.
Asked to compare his first NBA basket to his first scoring attempt in Provo, Utah, Fredette smiled.
"My first one at BYU, I airballed it," he said.
There would be more, plenty more of Jimmer, along with the type of mood swings and highlights that have characterized these Kings-Lakers encounters for the better part of a decade.
Really, there wasn't much lacking, including: alley oops and foul-line jumpers by Kobe Bryant; a ridiculous scoop drive (and terrific all-around performance) by Tyreke Evans; beautiful footwork and post moves by Pau Gasol; the muscle moves by Metta World Peace; one left elbow by Matt Barnes to the chin of Thornton; big jumpers by John Salmons, bigger shots by the explosive Thornton.
And, yes, while the offense deteriorated into a familiar one-on-one fest for stretches into the second half, turning a comfortable lead into a tight contest, the Kings defense an oxymoronic phrase of the recent past transformed a potentially bruising defeat into a rousing victory.
Consecutive game-saving blocks by Evans and Chuck Hayes. A rebound and deflection by DeMarcus Cousins, who struggled to get involved offensively throughout much of the night.
But back to Jimmer.
"He makes good decisions," Westphal said earlier. "He's patient, yet he's aggressive. He can stretch the floor, so they have to guard him. He'll have to make adjusts as to what is and is not a foul, but he'll adjust. And players like playing with him. He is no mirage."
While Fredette wasn't on the floor during the closing sequence, he played 25 minutes, including a large segment of the second half when he in fact was his most impressive. Earlier, he showed the jump stops, the penetration. Later, he turned down a few open looks, appeared tentative as Laker defenders converged near the foul line.
But in the third period, this was Fredette showing his playmaking abilities threading a pass underneath to J.J. Hickson, whipping a one-bouncer to Cousins for an open jumper (his own eyes widening as he threw the ball) and finding Hickson again with a laser that the power forward bobbled as he cut into the lane.
"He made some mistakes, but he was fine," said Westphal.