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NBA Sunday: Jimmer Fever in Sacramento
Posted By Joel Brigham On January 1, 2012 @ 5:00 am In All,NBA | No Comments
Jimmer Fever Hits Sacramento
When the Sacramento Kings made the decision to select former Brigham Young standout Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick in the draft, they did so for a number of reasons. Talent, obviously, was one of them, because players don’t get selected in the lottery without a fair amount of that, but commercial appeal was another reason. This is a make-or-break year for the Kings in Sacramento, and on some level there had to be the hope that Jimmer would sell some tickets.
While it’s too early to compare attendance numbers, it’s not too early to look at merchandise. According to CNBC, Kings merchandise sales are up 540% from December of 2010, and three-quarters of that increase is reportedly from sales of Jimmer jerseys and other officially-licensed Fredette goodies.
In short, it looks like Fredette’s charisma, good looks, and general likability have laid the groundwork for him having a similar effect in California as Tim Tebow is having on the NFL’s Denver Broncos. It’s not that Fredette’s Christianity is catapulting him into the spotlight, just that he’s proving to be wildly popular for his new professional team, even though his talent might not necessarily translate to the professional game quite as well as some other rookies in this class.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The parallels between the merchandise sales are interesting, as well. Tebow was the fastest-selling rookie jersey in the history of the NFL, and actually for a time was the best-selling jersey in the league, despite not even having started for Denver at that point. Fredette is at least being given the opportunity to play (24.7mpg), and isn’t even performing all that badly (10ppg on 43% field goal shooting). Still, his immediate popularity despite questionable talent makes some sort of comparison with Tebow inevitable.
Long-term, there’s no telling what kind of NBA player Fredette will be, but early in his career it’s already pretty evident that he’ll have a hard time shooting over taller two-guards, and watching him try to defend Derrick Rose in the team’s third game of the season was laughable. Not everybody will be that tough, but NBA guards are quick, and Fredette is not necessarily known for his defense.
Still, Sacramento clearly loves him, even if he sort of a weird fit on a team that already has two very similar, yet taller and more athletic, players at his position in Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans. But we all knew when the Kings made that draft pick that it wasn’t all about talent. It was also about keeping the Kings in Sac-town, and if ticket sales see anywhere near the same sort of increase that merchandise sales have seen this month, the Jimmer pick may save the Sacramento Kings, even if Jimmer’s actual play doesn’t do all that much to help out.
How Is Free Agency Paying Off So Far?
With every team having played a handful of games by now, it’s plenty early enough to look at teams’ new additions and comment on which are fitting the best on their new squads. Here’s a handful of players having a very positive impact for their new employers:
And none of that even includes the rookie class, which has been more productive than many of us would’ve thought considering how weak the 2011 draft looked. The free agency class was called weak as well, but there are guys paying huge dividends already for their new teams. If there’s anybody I missed, feel free to give them props in the comments section below.
Mavericks Back in the Lead for Fesenko?
It’s been a busy week for free agent big man Kyrylo Fesenko, who many consider to be one of the few impactful free agents left sitting without a job. It seemed like a few days ago he would be taking a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors worth about $1.1 million, but now that both sides have backed away, it appears as though the defending champion Dallas Mavericks are back in the mix and are potentially the favorites to land the Ukrainian center, according to ESPN.com.
The Mavs have just one roster spot left open and can only offer Fesenko a minimum deal, but they really want to add another big to help fill the Tyson-Chandler-sized hole left behind when Chandler bolted for New York in the offseason. Fesenko isn’t the missing piece to repeating as champion, but good size is hard to come by, and that could be a move that helps Dallas weather a slow start to the 2011-2012 season.
Sources expect a decision to be made early this week, with some saying Fesenko could be a Maverick as early as Monday or Tuesday.
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