WASHINGTON -- Jimmer Fredette has had three head coaches in his three NBA seasons.
One constant Fredette has heard is the more aggressive he is on offense, the better.
Figuring out how to do that is important for Fredette and the Kings, who face the Washington Wizards today at Verizon Center.
Fredette is the backup point guard, and the second unit is coming off a 12-point effort in Friday’s loss at Boston. He normally starts the second and fourth quarters, and against the Celtics, those were treacherous times for the Kings. Boston outscored Sacramento 10-0 to start the second quarter and 18-4 to start the fourth.
Fredette said the Kings had good shots that they missed against the Celtics and he must remain aggressive regardless. But with Fredette usually playing in short intervals, the Kings need him to get going quickly.
“You’ve got to go in and be aggressive right away,” Fredette said. “Being aggressive doesn’t mean necessarily scoring the basketball. Being aggressive to try to collapse the defense so you can get a shot off or create something for your teammates.
“You’re not in for a long enough time to feel things out, so you have to go in there ready to go.”
Fredette is averaging a career-low 11.3 minutes. But he is shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three-point range while averaging 5.7 points and 1.5 assists.
Kings coach Michael Malone said there are ways to maximize Fredette’s shooting and playmaking abilities.
“I have to get him going with that unit, and I have to get him off the ball at times,” Malone said. “He’s a very good catch-and-shoot player. Move the defense and then let him play pick-and-rolls so he can attack and not against a set defense.”
It also would help if the Kings had Rudy Gay in the lineup. Gay missed the Boston game because of the flu.
Malone likes to play Gay with the reserves while DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas rest. Gay can handle the ball and allow Fredette to work off screens for shots.
Malone said he wouldn’t make the mistake of not having one of his top scorers on the floor today with the reserves if Gay is unavailable. Gay will be a game-time decision.
“If Rudy doesn’t play, I cannot have DeMarcus and Isaiah out at the same time for very long stretches because it puts too much pressure on the other guys,” Malone said.
That’s key for Fredette. If he’s simply trying to dribble his way through the defense without a teammate to help take attention off him, it’s harder for him to shoot.
Fredette also knows he has a limited amount of time to perform, so he realizes the importance of making an immediate impact.
“You know you’re not going to get a ton of minutes, but in the minutes you get, you’ve got to be effective,” Fredette said. “I’ve got to have that mindset to be aggressive from the beginning.”
Fredette does know he will play, unless he’s injured, for the first time in his career. That allows him to relax on the court and not worry if a mistake will send him to the bench.
And if Fredette is scoring, Malone has shown he will leave him in longer.
“I play every game, which is something I’ve never had,” Fredette said. “The first couple of years I’d play a game and then I’d sit two.
“Even though I’m not playing a lot, I’m playing every night, and that gets you into a rhythm.”
It just needs to be an aggressive rhythm.