After more than two months away from the NBA, former College Player of the Year and BYU standout Jimmer Fredette is reportedly on a very short list of candidates the New York Knicks may sign to replace inactive small forward Cleanthony Early.
According to the New York Post, sources “familiar with the team’s thought process,” claim the Knicks could sign either Fredette or former Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten to a 10-day contract should any player on the current roster sustain a serious injury.
The Knicks currently have one spot open on the active roster, with Early expected to be sidelined until March after being shot in the right knee during a robbery on Dec. 31. It's uncertain how urgent the team plans to fill a roster spot.
NBA teams have had the option to sign players to 10-day deals for the last two weeks, but the Knicks have yet to act. New York could have exercised the option following forward Lance Thomas went down with a knee injury and missed Wednesday’s 118-111 victory over Utah. But the injury was diagnosed as a mild knee sprain and Thomas could return as early as Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fredette, 26, grew up in Glen Falls, New York, as a Knicks fan and was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Developmental League’s draft by the Westchester Knicks back in October. He has a 6.0 career scoring average on 38 percent shooting from three-point range in the NBA, having played for the Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, and most recently the New Orleans Pelicans. Fredette logged just 12 minutes for the Pelicans this season, after playing in 50 games last season.
It appears to be just a matter of time before Fredette returns to the NBA. The former first-round pick has lit up the D-League for 22.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game over 20 starts this season, while shooting 48.9 percent overall from the field and 41.3 percent from three-point range.
Fredette's perimeter shooting could be an asset to the Knicks, who are currently No. 22 in the NBA in three-point shooting, knocking down just 33.6 percent of their 18.1 attempts per game.
New York is also contemplating using a 10-day contract on a younger player. However, they would still have to play for the D-league affiliate while learning the complex triangle offense, something Fredette’s done all season.
The decision between Fredette and Wroten may have more to do with a team's need rather than a competition between the two players. A sharpshooter, Fredette has often taken on a combo guard role in the NBA, while Wroten, listed at 6'6, is more of a slasher and a swingman.
Wroten, 22, was released by the Sixers last month but made 34 starts and appeared in 145 games over the last three seasons. Last season, he notched a career-high 16.9 points and 5.2 assists per contest in 30 games.