Following his buyout with the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 27, Jimmer Fredette was signed by the playoff-bound Chicago Bulls. Since joining his new team, though, he hasn’t gotten much playing time.
Fredette made his debut with Chicago on March 2 against the New York Knicks. He played just three minutes, making one of his two field goal attempts. The following night against the Brooklyn Nets, the guard had the same stat line.
The limited minutes could increase, as he spends more time with the team. However, there is no indication that will change any time soon. In the Bulls’ third game since signing Fredette, the BYU graduate didn’t get on the floor at all. Jimmy Butler played almost every minute at shooting guard, and Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin split the duties at point guard.
Despite playing just six minutes in three contests, head coach Tom Thibodeau values what Fredette brings to the club. His ability to make three-pointers could earn him more time on the court.
“He has the one skill that he can do as well as anyone in the league and that’s shoot the three,” said Thibodeau, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “So we’re going to build from there and we’re going to try and help him develop an understanding of what we’re trying to do defensively.”
The Bulls are known for their defensive prowess, and the team’s offense has really struggled in Derrick Rose’s absence. No NBA team averages less than Chicago's 93.3 points per game.
They rank 25th in three-point percentage, shooting 34.2 percent from behind the arc. Fredette isn’t known as a good defender, but he could certainly be a perimeter threat that the Bulls have been lacking.
The Bulls haven’t exactly needed to use Fredette in the past three games. They won twice, scoring in triple-digits both times. Chicago scored just 80 points in the one loss.
In two and a half seasons with the Kings, Fredette wasn’t given much of a chance to succeed. After being taken with the 10th overall draft pick, he saw his playing time steadily decline, even as his production slowly increased.
Fredette never fit in well with Sacramento, though the Kings didn’t appear to consider that when they took him in the 2011 NBA Draft. NBA analyst Ric Bucher recently reported that one NBA executive felt former Kings general manager Geoff Petrie was intrigued with Fredette, because he was a white American. That may have blinded the organization to the fact that they already had plenty of guards on the roster.
The Bulls aren’t particularly deep at guard, but Thibodeau has shown a pattern of playing his starters a lot of minutes. If Fredette doesn’t get a chance to shine with the Bulls, he’ll be able to go elsewhere as a free agent this summer.