After an exceptional college career, Jimmer Fredette is finally in the NBA.
The heralded combo guard made his NBA debut with the Kings as Sacramento defeated the Lakers, 100-91, at Power Balance Pavilion on Monday night, and then followed it up with a strong showing in a Kings' loss to the Portland Trail Blazers,101-79, at Rose Garden on Tuesday.
Fredette's first possession was one to forget as he turned the ball over with a double-dribble. However, he followed that up with 15-foot fadeaway. The former Brigham Young star would go on to convert his next two shots, as well.
My first one at BYU, I airballed it, said a smiling Fredette, when asked to describe his first NBA scoring attempt.
Though he started out with some hot shooting, Fredette would later miss his next five shots to finish with six points on three-of-eight shooting against the Lakers. He contributed three assists, but also three turnovers.
Head coach Paul Westphal gave Fredette 26 minutes in his debut, many of which were played alongside starting point guard and 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. Fredette may have played more minutes if not for the excellent performance from shooting guard Marcus Thornton who scored 27 points on nine-of-13 shooting.
In the second game of his career, Fredette shot four-of-10 from the field, and finished with 10 points in 23 minutes. He also added two assists, and made his first ever three-point shot.
Fredette sat out most of the fourth quarter, as the Kings tried to battle back from a big deficit with their starters.
Westphal has shown confidence in Fredette for playing him as much as he has so far, which means that a larger role may be heading Fredette's way down the road. The Kings are not projected to make the postseason, so Westphal will likely tinker with his rotation throughout the season.
Because of the shortened season, rookies have it particularly difficult in 2011-2012. New players have to learn, and learn quick. The transition from college is often frustrating for rookies, though Fredette may have less growing pains than others due to his extensive career at BYU.
It's still early in the season, and the 22-year-old still has plenty of opportunities to improve. Fredette already made former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly eat his words that he would be an NBA bust -- and that was just after two preseason games.
Though it's difficult to offer a grade for Fredette after only two games, he has shown the poise and maturity many expected from him in the early going. He has made some mistakes, but he has also made the most of his minutes off the bench, and looks like he will be a key part of the Kings this season.