Jimmer Mania

Jimmer Fredette has carried BYU through the first weekend of March Madness

Despite the madness that ensued on Sunday, the talk of the town for most this week will still be the Jimmer. Fredette has come up huge in BYU’s first 2 games of the tournament while revitalizing hope amongst bandwagon Cougar fans across North America.

Even with mad Jimmer love sweeping the nation there is a great degree of uncertainty concerning Fredette’s ability to play at the next level. The question is legit but the answer is cloudy.

Well, sit back and relax and just let this thought simmer.

Jimmer’s got what it takes.

This notion is not just coming from my heart, hoping and praying for this guy to be a real impact guy at the next level. This is coming from an objective observer, well sort of.

Jimmer hater and lovers are quick to compare him to current Orlando Magic guard and former Duke star J.J. Redick. There are some obvious similarities. Both are not daunting physical specimens as neither has the size and quickness that many of their counterparts possess at the NBA level. They’re also knockdown outside shooters with suspect defence who have carved a legacy in College basketball history. In addition, they both faced questions about their ability to perform with the world’s best ballers.

The similarities are there but make no mistake, Fredette and Redick are not on the same planet. Redick has found himself a nice home in the Magic rotation but Jimmer has the potential to be much more.

As a college player, Redick was mostly a catch and shoot guy, a darned good one at that. However, the transition to the next level was not smooth. His inability to create off the bounce, create for others and most importantly guard others hampered his playing time. Nevertheless, when you can shoot like J.J. can there will always be opportunity. Redick was given time to improve and lone behold look where he is now.

Like that dumb blonde down the street, great shooter’s will always get the chance to prove their worth. Over and over again.

Fredette may need some time to get to where he needs to be but when you can not only shoot but score as well as he does someone will give you the opportunity to develop.

J.J. Redick has learned to keep people honest with his much improved dribble penetration. I don’t think Jimmer is going to have too much of a problem with that.

A huge knock on Fredette is his capability of making those around him better. For the most part, he is known as a one trick pony, Kevin Martin style. In spite of this thought, Jimmer still averaged 4.3 assists on the year, which isn’t terrible, and in the first 2 rounds of March Madness has shown that he can facilitate and let the game come to him.

Jimmer may not be like Steve Nash but he ain’t no Kevin Martin either.

Not quick enough to guard the point? Too small to guard the 2? Not interested in guarding anyone?

The defence of Jimmer or lack thereof is obviously a huge liability and cause for concern if you’re an NBA GM.

This is where I like the J.J. Redick comparison. Redick has learned to play solid enough defence that warrants him floor time in crunch moments of games. Jimmer can too.

Yeah, I might be making excuses, but Jimmer’s indifference to playing defence at this point in his career could partially be due to the extensive load that he has to carry on the offensive end. This guy probably doesn’t want to expend a significant amount of energy on the defensive end and who can blame him. I mean, BYU runs 84.367% of their plays through him.

You can’t teach the talents that Jimmer owns but defence is something that can be learned. His physical limitations will hold him back from being anything close to a lock down defender but he should be able to get to a stage in his game where he isn’t a liability on the defensive end.

If he’s willing to put the work in.

It might seem like the Jimmer drug has consumed my brain but I wholeheartedly believe that someday this BYU star will be teaching NBA stars how to Jimmer.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Orlando Magic May Still Have A Trick Up Their Sleeve

In his last 3 games Jason Richardson has been playing his best ball as a Magic

Superman may be the most valuable player to the Orlando Magic but with all the talk surrounding other contenders it would seem that this team will have to pull a Houdini if they want to make a serious run this postseason.

Maybe not.

After last night’s tight game versus Portland, the Magic showed that minus their superstar they have the ability to make a fairytale run without the assistance of something miraculous.

On Friday night, Dwight Howard picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, which meant a one game suspension. Tough break for the Magic who so heavily rely on the big 7 footer each and every night on both ends of the floor. Following a loss to the Chicago on the second night of a back to back and the subsequent suspension of Howard, their date in Portland on Monday night was chalked up as a loss by most.

A loss may have been the end result but this game was about more than an inadequate result. The Magic proved to not only everyone, but to themselves that they can hang with a playoff team without their most important player. The Blazers may not be a true championship contender, but this is a team that is still one of the better ones in the NBA, especially with the recent addition of Gerald Wallace.

With the Magic starting undersized power forward Brandon Bass at the center spot, there was every reason for us to believe that Orlando wouldn’t be able to hang with extremely well-coached Blazers.

To say that Dwight Howard’s supporting cast this season has been less than stellar would be just a bit of an understatement. Poor play from intricate components of the original 2010-11 Magic cast prompted GM Otis Smith to make a bold move, acquiring Hedo Turkoglu (again), Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, and Earl Clark. Although that move hasn’t turned out as well as Smith might have liked, last night was as good a reason as any to still believe in the Magic.

For a team that depends on the open looks provided by the attention Howard receives down low, it was promising to see the team compete at the level that they did last night. Down by as much as 14, the Magic battled back on numerous occasions without their superstar.

Role players stepping up. It’s the mark of any great team. The Magic got that last night.

Fight. It’s the mark of any great team. The Magic got that last night.

People tend to forget that this group of guys practically became a new team halfway through the season. They’re still trying to figure it out, much like their cousins, the other, more attention seeking Sunshine State team.

Even though Gilbert Arenas isn’t 100% healthy yet he may actually be finding his groove. Three of his last four performances have been solid bench outings. The Magic probably need a bit more than solid from him, but it’s a good start.

Jason Richardson is beginning to shoot the ball like Jason Richardson can. In his last three games, J-Rich has been an eye-popping 14-19 from beyond the arc. Scary.

You add to the mix a possible return to all-star form from Jameer Nelson, 3 point sharp-shooting from Ryan Anderson and J.J. Reddick, the hustle and heart of Brandon Bass, and a playoff intense Hedo Turkoglu, this misshapen roster may be one to keep your eye on.

Inconsistency, which obviously is not the mark of a great team, is something that has plagued the Magic and will be their biggest obstacle to overcome.

Nevertheless, with Dwight Howard playing the best ball of his entire career there’s no telling what this Orlando Magic team can do if they can put it all together. Monday night could just be the day that Orlando Magic fans look back upon as the spot where it all changed for the better.

This is a team that isn’t ready to compete with the league’s best and they aren’t at the level of a Chicago or a Boston.

At least not yet.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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NBA Going Global…At Least Trying To

International stars Andrea Bargnani and Sasha Vujacic battled it out at the O2 arena in London

The Toronto Raptors lost their franchise player in the off-season. The New Jersey Nets set the record for the worst start to an NBA season last year going 0-18 before getting their first victory. With that in mind, you have to ask why the NBA would choose those 2 teams to play the first ever regular season game in Europe. Why would the NBA ever think that this would be best way to build their brand overseas?

On Friday, the NBA played its first ever regular season game in Europe at the O2 arena in London, England. This endeavour is all part of Commissioner David Stern’s attempt to make the NBA a more global phenomenon. However, like the NFL, the NBA is going about this all wrong.

You think they would have learned from the majority of terrible games that the NFL has showcased internationally. Of the 5 games that the NFL has played outside of North America, only 1 of those games has been worthy of spending 3 hours of a Sunday watching. The Bronco-49er game this past season may have ended up being a good game, but the sound of Kyle Orton and Troy Smith facing off against each other doesn’t really make me jump for joy.

I can see why the Raptors were picked to play this game. They have a serious international flavour to their team. Most notably Andrea Bargnani (Italy), Jose Calderon (Spain), and Leandro Barbosa (Brazil). Not to mention the natural connection that many Englanders could possibly feel towards their commonwealth nephews. Still, with Bosh departing for South Beach there was no doubt that the Raptors would struggle this season.

The Nets, on the other hand, are just a confusing choice. The NBA was incredibly lucky that the Nets front office pulled off the unthinkable by acquiring Deron Williams because without him these past two games in London would have lost whatever small amount of lustre that it had.

It’s never a good sign when the biggest story of your team’s season is Kim Kardashian.

If the NBA wants to continue with this global expansion they have to fully commit to it because otherwise there’s no point. It’s obvious that they don’t want to burden possible contending teams like Boston or LA with a mid-season trip overseas. Seriously, you think Phil Jackson wouldn’t be mouthing off about the distraction of a London trip in March?

The atmosphere in London for the Raptors and Nets was comparable to a College atmosphere. Fans were chanting and doing the wave, but imagine what the atmosphere could have been like if the games had held any actual significance.

Sure, the two games’s sold out but that really isn’t that big of an accomplishment for a stadium that holds just under 19,000. Some fans are just so desperate to see NBA ball in person that it doesn’t matter who is playing. When exhibition games come to town in Vancouver the games sell out in a flash simply because there are a lot of people who need their fix of real basketball, not that an exhibition game exactly qualifies as real basketball. At least the games in London were both regular season games.

The NBA was bailed out this weekend. Fans at the O2 arena were treated to one good game and another exhilarating one, possibly the best of the year. You can thank the Raptors run and gun style as well as their 105 plus points allowed per game defence for that. The Raptors have put up some real stinkers this year, hence the 17-46 record. However, the Raptors shot very well this weekend and displayed lots of energy while the Nets were up for the challenge.

Very fortunate because I’m pretty sure the goal of this London trip wasn’t to showcase what the majority of the NBA really is. An overabundance of perennial bottom feeders that are unable to compete with the elite teams.

If the NBA wants to do this again next season they need implement a couple of games that mean something. If international is what the NBA wants it then meaningless basketball is not what the NBA should give.

The NBA was let off the hook this weekend by two teams energized at the idea of making history but if they try to pull this again next year the result probably won’t be as favourable.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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