HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Jimmer Fredette is averaging just 7.2 points a game, but the second-year player is shooting 64 percent from the floor.

Kings look to Fredette to assist the offense

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 - 7:45 am

The Kings began Monday ranked last in the NBA with 16.6 assists per game.

That's not shocking, considering the Kings are shooting 40.1 percent, also last in the NBA.

Keith Smart believes Jimmer Fredette could help in those areas.

The second-year guard might be the most popular King, even though his playing time has been sporadic.

The Kings' offense has featured a lot of missed shots. Fredette, when he has played this season, has made more shots than he has missed.

It's why Smart said he must figure out how to make more time for Fredette on the floor.

"I've just got to get our team to (know) when he's on the floor, you've got to find that guy because that guy is making shots," Smart said. "If you want an assist, make sure you know where he's at first, and he'll get you that assist."

Fredette is shooting 64 percent (16 of 25) from the floor and 50 percent (5 of 10) on three-point attempts. He scored a season-high 18 points in Sunday's loss against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Fredette has played only 48 minutes in six games this season. Among the Kings, that's more than only Francisco Garcia (47 in five games) and John Salmons (27 in two).

Fredette, who is averaging 7.2 points, says it's nice to be praised by Smart, but it's not enough to satisfy the former BYU star.

"It's great to be noticed and hopefully get more of a role, but you have to produce when you're in there," Fredette said. "Obviously you want to be out there playing as much as you can, being a competitive guy. Hopefully I'll get a chance, play well and help this team progress."

Support for Fredette has been noticeable. He is still cheered loudly when he enters home games and hears cheers on the road.

Fredette's success at BYU made him one of the most popular sports figures in America, but NBA success has been elusive.

Fredette played point guard in college, but the Kings have weighed whether he is more valuable as primarily a scorer.

"Let's see if we can get him to be a really good basketball player first, and then everything sorts out from there," Smart said.

The other issue has been Fredette's defense. The Kings tried to hide Fredette in zone defenses at times last season, but teams always found a way attack him.

Smart said he has to take the "glass half full" approach, noting Fredette has improved on defense and is a plus on offense.

"Individually, guys are going to be broken down," Smart said. "You've just got to make sure guys are in the right position … "

Players still test Fredette on defense. He said he has worked to be aggressive and stick with the defensive plan to avoid being picked on.

"Hopefully, you can get a couple of stops, and they'll stop (attacking you), and then you can play regular basketball," Fredette said.

But don't be confused – Fredette is in games to score.

So even if he's struggling on defense, he can make up for it with confidence to score.

"I feel like it's going in every time I shoot it," Fredette said.

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