Rick Reilly, Dan Patrick Discuss Jimmer

Wow, 2 sports posts in a row!  I don’t think that’s ever happened on my blog before.  First of all, I have a disclosure to make.  I’m a big Utah fan.  I’m excited we’re going to the Pac-12.  However, since Rick Majerus left, it has been tough to watch the Utes play basketball.  When they fired Jim Boylen last month, I really hoped they would hire BYU coach Dave Rose.  Instead we get Larry Krystowiac (pronounced Chris-tow-vee-ack).  There have already been references to calling him Coach K–let’s hope that he does half as good as Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski–the real Coach K.

After that disclosure, let me just say that while I’m not a fan of BYU, I would have loved to have Jimmer Fredette on my team. I like Jimmer.  He’s fun to watch.  He’s the leading scorer in the NCAA this year, and I do believe he is the best player in the nation.  He’ll probably get drafted in the NBA, but I think he will be a role player.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have generally been pessimistic of most players out of the state of Utah.  I didn’t think Utah’s Keith Van Horn or BYU’s Shawn Bradley would do very well (especially considering they were both the #2 pick).  Yet even though both players were considered a bust, I think both had better NBA careers than Jimmer will have.  I thought Utah’s Andre Miller would do well–a consistent NBA starter.  I expected Utah’s Michael Doleac to be a good role player–and he has been.  His career lasted longer than I thought.  I predicted BYU’s Michael Smith would be a bust, and he was.  Despite being a 1st round pick, he was out of the league in 3 years.

The best players out of Utah were Danny Vranes and Tom Chambers (of Seattle Supersonics).  BYU’s best player is by far Danny Ainge.  Many people have compared Jimmer to Danny.  To me there is no comparison–Danny was way better.  Rick Reilly of ESPN created a firestorm at BYU for his article Jimmer Grows Dimmer.  Perhaps Reilly was a little harsh about Jimmer’s bad game against Florida, but I have to agree with Reilly on almost all counts.  Jimmer doesn’t play defense.  While he has NBA range, he is a ball hog.

I was at my in-laws house on Sunday, and they were complaining that Reilly was ripping the LDS church.  WHAT????  I pulled up the article, and said, “where is Reilly ripping the church?”  My brother-in-law didn’t know exactly–he had heard it from others.  While I was reading Reilly’s first article to them, I discovered Reilly wrote a 2nd article based on all the hate mail he had received from BYU fans.  See Rick Reilly’s mailbag:  Jimmer fans react.  The funniest thing Reilly said was

The best hate mail in America comes from BYU fans. Even when they’re spitting 20-penny nails, they’re still incurably nice. Alabama fans will write hoping you die a slow, painful death, staked to an anthill while your mom watches, but the worst a BYU fan will say to you is that you’re not going to heaven.

Truly great article!  I thought Reilly was right on the money.  Not everyone agrees with Reilly.  Former ESPN talent Dan Patrick called out Reilly and ESPN’s Colin Cowherd for their remarks about Jimmer.  Check out this video.


So what to you think?  Will Jimmer be a force in the NBA?  Will Utah fire Coach K within 3 years (like they have their last 2 coaches)?  Was Reilly too harsh on the LDS church?

12 comments on “Rick Reilly, Dan Patrick Discuss Jimmer

  1. I didn’t think the Reilly piece was in any sense anti-Mormon. I agree with you that that’s the wrong angle on it. I did think it was overly harsh on a player who had a bad game. Yeah, he wasn’t on against Florida, but he stilled scored 30 and BYU took them to overtime. Reilly’s complaints sound really silly after the dog of a championship game we all witnessed. I felt that if Jimmer were in that game, he definitely would have been the best player on the floor, Kemba included. His pro prospects is actually an old story; Reilly is really late to the party on that one. I suspect he’ll be a microwave guy off the bench, a sixth man type, but who really knows? It will be fun to find out. I thought Patrick’s critique of Reilly was right on. (And I like Reilly, just to be clear.)

  2. kevin, I like patrick and reilly too. I think reilly was talking to over-the-top fans that think jimmer is the 2nd coming of pete maravich or danny ainge. when discussing jimmer’s skills, experts agree that he probably won’t be a star in the nba.

  3. Ok, let’s see how well MH did. He mentioned the following players – characterization:

    Bradley – Bust
    Ainge – Solid (BYU Best)
    Smith – Bust

    Doleac – Good Role Player
    Vranes – Solid (Utah Best)
    Chambers – Solid (Utah Best)
    Van Horn – Bust
    Miller – Solid

    Now lets rank them according to their career stats. I will separate them into two groups…20+ minutes per game (career) and 19- minutes per game career

    20+ Club
    Miller – 34 MPG
    Van Horne – 32 MPG
    Chambers – 31 MPG
    Ainge – 27 MPG
    Bradley – 24 MPG
    Vranes – 21 MPG

    19- Club
    Doleac – 15 MPG
    Smith – 9 MPG

    From this, Van Horn hardly looks like a bust but Doleac sure does. Of course you can’t make a judgement based solely on MPG so lets look at their career averages:

    10+ Club (double figures in something)
    Chambers – 18 PPG, 6 RPG
    Van Horne – 16 PPG, 7 RPG
    Miller – 14 PPG, 7 APG
    Ainge – 11 PPG, 4 APG

    10- Club
    Bradley – 8 PPG, 6 RPG
    Vranes – 5 PPG, 4 RPG
    Doleac – 5 PPG, 3 RPG
    Smith – 5 PPG, 2 RPG

    Starting to get a little separation now. Van Horne is starting to look pretty good, but what happened to Vranes? Also Doleac’s stock is falling fast.

    Now the final telling stat is the career per 36 minute stat. This is where it gets interesting:

    per 36, 10+ Club
    Chambers – 21 PPG, 7 RPG (increased slightly, shows consistency)
    Smith – 19 PPG, 6 RPG (are you kidding me? Did he get a fair shot?)
    Van Horne – 18 PPG, 8 RPG (increased slightly, shows consistency)
    Miller – 15 PPG, 8 APG (increased slightly, shows consistency)
    Ainge – 16 PPG, 5 APG (PPG increased quite a bit, shows efficiency)
    Bradley – 12 PPG, 10 RPG (wow, Nice increase, avg a double-double. Bradley’s stock just rose)
    Doleac – 12 PPG, 8 RPG (wow, Huge increase. Doleac’s looking better)

    10- Club
    Vranes – 9 PPG, 7 RPG

    According to per 36, Vranes is the only bust, but let’s be honest, per 36 (IMO) is only really valid for 20+ MPG players so maybe Smith’s numbers were inflated due to garbage time minutes.

    So final report card:

    Chambers – MH = Solid (Utah Best) – Stats agree with MH
    Smith – MH = Bust – Some stats agree with MH, others wonder if he got fair shake
    Van Horne – MH = Bust – Stats totally disagree with MH. Van Horne had very good career
    Miller – MH = Solid – Stats agree with MH
    Ainge – MH = Solid (BYU Best) – Stats agree with MH
    Bradley – MH = Bust – Stats don’t back that up. Bradley had good career
    Doleac – MH = Good Role Player – I think stats agree with MH
    Vranes – MH = Solid (Utah Best) – Stats say MH completely missed this one

    Other notables not mentioned for stat junkies like me:

    Andrew Bogut – 6+ years, career starter (33 MPG), per 36 = 14 PPG, 10 RPG
    Fred Roberts – 13 years, (18 MPG), per 36 = 15 PPG, 6 RPG
    Greg Kite – 12 years, (15 MPG), per 36 = 6 PPG, 9 RPG

    Final thoughts:
    Bogut, Van Horn and Miller should be mentioned among Utah’s best.
    Van Horn was certainly not a bust.
    Vranes, picked #5 overall, was certainly a bust
    Both Fred Roberts and Greg Kite had comparable careers to Doleac (10 years)
    Historically, Utah has produced more (27) and better NBA players compared to BYU (19)

  4. Now to answer MH’s questions:
    I compare Jimmer to Korver. Great shooter with defensive liabilities. Korver is a 3pt/Free Throw specialist that every NBA team would love to have on their team. Not a starter, but solid contributor. That’s where I put Jimmer. If his career is similar to Korver’s, then I would consider that a solid career. He doesn’t have to be Ainge. He can’t be, because his height limits the positions he can play. At 6′ 4″, Ainge could play 1 or 2. Let’s give Jimmer a chance. It all depends on which team he goes to. Also we have to remember that Jimmer can benefit from the D League. Michael Smith did not have that luxury, and had to play behind two of the best forwards ever to play the game.

    Coach K Jr.? Let’s wait to see who his assistants are before prejudging him. We can only hope he is much closer to Majerus than Boylen.

  5. WOW!!!! I am totally impressed with that analysis!!!!! The only thing you left off was length of career. Smith was a bust because he only played for 3 years–that can’t be compared with Danny Ainge’s 14-year career.

    Expectations have a lot to do with whether a guy was a bust. I think it’s important to look at is where each person was picked. I’m going to be tougher on Shawn Bradley and Keith Van Horn because they went #2. Danny Ainge was a 3rd round pick because he was playing baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays (now there are only 2 rounds so he wouldn’t have been picked today). The Celtics took a gamble on Ainge and scored big time. On the other hand, Smith was a #13 pick, lasted 2 years with a bad Celtics team (the end of the Bird era was not pretty), and 1 year with a bad Clippers team. I am surprised that Smith’s numbers were so good, but why did he just last 3 years? I think the Celtics got rid of him for a reason.

    Doleac was a 2nd round pick if I remember correctly. He was a big body like Greg Kite. Big men last long in the NBA, even if they’re not that good.

    Coach K hired Tommy Connor as an assistant. Tommy’s a great recruiter, so that was a great pick. I heard that Van Horn and some other alumni wanted Tommy as the head coach. I think Tommy would have been my pick for coach over Coach K, but I’m happy Coach K picked Tommy.

    If Jimmer is as good as Korver, he will exceed my expectations. Korver seems a little soft to me, and I don’t think Jimmer is soft. Jimmer is built more like a Vinnie Johnson or Vinny Del Negro. If he is as good as either of those guys, he will exceed my expectations. I think Jimmer will be more like Adam Morrison–great college player, not so good in the NBA.

  6. I will also admit that my memory of Vranes is probably bad. He was a much better player in college than pro.

  7. I actually collected much more data (including length of career, but the post was getting long.
    I agree, the Celtics got rid of Smith for a reason. Maybe it was his work ethic and word got around so no one else picked him up, but you have to wonder about that per 36 he had. I can’t help but think he would have benefited from the D league.

    I also agree that expectations influence whether someone is considered a bust. If you look at a 7′ 6″ guy that can run the floor, has soft hands, good shot inside 18′, expectations can be high, but they were not justified in Bradley’s case. He only played 1 year of NCAA ball, then took 2 years off. He never fully developed and was expected to be Kareem. So yes, if the starting point for Bradley is a perennial all-star, then you could say he was a bust, but he did have a good career and his per 36 was a double-double.

    Ainge was drafted 31st, so second round. If he was not playing baseball, he would have been the equivalent to a lottery pick. He was perfect for the Celtics system. He could start at 2 and play 1 when Johnson was out. Similar to Hornacek when he played for Phoenix. So yea, Celtics got Ainge for a bargain.

    Doleac was actually drafted 12th, so higher than Smith. Smith had better per 36 numbers, but Doleac could play 4/5, Smith played 3/4. There are a lot more 3/4s in the league than 4/5s so Smith was more expendable than Doleac.

    I think Jimmer is going to a better all-around player in the NBA. He can actually play defense, but it was obvious he was saving his energy for offense. His team needed his offense way more than his defense, and never came out of the game. That will not be the case in the NBA. He will be surrounded with guys as good and better than he is, so the team will not put such a demand on his minutes and offense. This will allow him to expend energy on the defensive end…a luxury he never had at BYU. And when Davies was gone, it became that much harder. I just want him to start at least 1 game in his rookie season, and I hope he goes to at least 1 All-Star game. Could happen, especially since fans vote in the starters and he is pretty popular.

  8. I still think Van Horn lived up to his #2 draft slot. He was a career starter with good career numbers. True, he never played in an All-Star game, unless you include the rookie game, but I’m really not that impressed with the All-star selection system anyway.

    He was a major contributor on 2 teams that made it to the NBA Finals, so that is saying something.

  9. Just read a stat about Shawn Bradley I didn’t know about.
    He earned a triple-double in a way that only 4 other NBA players have done:

    20 points
    20 rebounds
    10 blocks

  10. That is an amazing game. It’s too bad he couldn’t put more of these together.

  11. […] Back in April, Rick Reilly of ESPN.com said “If his last college game is what he’s bringing to the NBA, then I’d say, in five years, he’s got a really good chance to be your Provo area Isuzu dealer.”  In another article, he said, “I’ll donate $5,000 if he starts a game, any game, his first year in the league. I’m serious.” […]

  12. […] Back in April, Rick Reilly of ESPN.com discussed Jimmer Fredette.  Reilly said “If his last college game is what he’s bringing to the NBA, then I’d say, in five years, he’s got a really good chance to be your Provo area Isuzu dealer.”  In another article, he said, “I’ll donate $5,000 if he starts a game, any game, his first year in the league. I’m serious.” […]

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