Breaking News Bar
updated: 3/2/2014 7:15 PM

Defense, not shooting, a key concern about Fredette

Success - Article sent! close

Jimmer Fredette is probably on the right track with this line of thinking: NBA teams have been utilizing the 3-point shot with greater frequency, so there's bound to be a spot in the league for a quality long-range shooter.

The Bulls officially signed Fredette for the remainder of the season Sunday morning and he played the final 3:06 against New York. There is not an option for next year in his deal.

Fredette became a folk hero in college at BYU, averaging 28.9 points at a senior in 2010-11. The Glen Falls, N.Y., native didn't play a ton during three seasons in Sacramento, but he can shoot the 3-pointer. Fredette connected on 49.3 percent from behind the arc this season (36-for-73), which would beat Kyle Korver for the league lead if Fredette had enough attempts.

"I hope I can space the floor out for these guys and be able to create open shots for my teammates and also they create open shots for me," he said before Sunday's game. "I think it fits well."

Fredette agreed to a buyout agreement with the Kings this week and cleared waivers late Saturday afternoon. It sounded like the Bulls were a team Fredette had in mind ever since a buyout became a possibility.

"I see how this team plays and they play hard every single night and they play for each other and they play the right way," he said. "That's kind of something I was looking for is coming to a team that I could fit in and play the way that I wanted to and play hard every single night and be part of a team. So I'm excited to be here."

Jimmer meets defense:

The biggest knock on Fredette is usually his defense. The Bulls used to play Kyler Korver heavy minutes and he's not a great individual defender. But Korver is also 6-feet-7, while Fredette's listed height of 6-2 appears generous.

For the time being, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is keeping an open mind.

"I don't want to prejudge him in terms of where he is defensively because I don't know. I want to see how he picks things up," Thibodeau said before the game. "With us, it's five-man offense and five-man defense, so if one guy is not doing their job, it's going to make the whole group look bad. From the background we have on him, we like all the things we've heard.

"We feel he's got a skill that as good as anyone -- he can shot the ball. We need shooting. He's coming in late so we'll see how it unfolds."

Bulls fans night think back to how Marco Belinelli struggled badly in the first month of last season. Fredette picking up on Thibodeau's defensive schemes without benefit of a training camp will be a challenge.

"Obviously, we're well into the season, so the challenge is to get him up to speed as quickly as we can," Thibodeau said. "You never know how things unfold, because of either injury, foul trouble and how quickly he can pick things up."

For his part, Fredette seemed ready to embrace the Thibodeau challenge and maybe improve his defensive reputation in the process.

"I'm excited about it," Fredette said. "He's obviously a very defensive-minded coach and I'm just trying to learn the schemes and all the stuff. Hopefully I can continue to work on that and get better at that end of the floor and really help this team out."

Bull horns:

Former Bulls guard Ben Gordon was officially released Sunday by Charlotte. Since he was not waived by March 1, Gordon is ineligible to join a new team during the playoffs. ... New York is now 2-20 at the United Center since the 2001-02 season.

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.