In a recent episode of the ESPN NBA Today Podcast with Ryen Russillo (a must listen), draft expert Chad Ford talked about the Phoenix Suns possibly taking Jimmer Fredette with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. There's been oodles already written about Jimmer and the Suns, but this one struck me due to a bit of revisionist history by Ford when he was comparing Jimmer to Steve Nash coming out of college.
The point Ford was trying to make is that Nash, like Jimmer, wasn't considered a "true point" out of college but with some tutelage under the Canadian master, Jimmer could find his inner facilitator. It makes enough sense and is probably moot since Jimmer isn't likely to be on the board at 13 anyway, but there's one bit that Ford gets wrong.
"Nash was a very similar player coming out of college. People don't remember this, but out of Santa Clara he was more of scorer than a point guard, a guy who could really light it up.
The Suns played him off the ball for the start of his career, they traded him to Dallas in part because they weren't sold he could ever be a full time point guard and then he evolved into one of the greatest point guards ever."
It's true that Nash was scorer at Santa Clara (21.8 ppg / 4 apg his senior year) and like Jimmer was forced into that role based on the teammates around him. Nash also didn't pass much his first two years with the Suns and he did play off the ball. Of course, he was also teammates with a 30-year-old Kevin Johnson and a 24-year-old Jason Kidd. It's a wonder the Suns drafted Nash at all given their point guard depth.
In 15 years there will be tons of available record to look back on when future bloggers ponder what was said about Jimmer before the 2011 NBA Draft. Much of it reads like this:
DraftExpress NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Jimmer Fredette, Stats, Comparisons, and Outlook
Another question mark about Fredette revolves around the role he'll play at the next level. He's able to operate with unlimited freedom as the end-all, be-all solution in BYU's offense, but he's not a particularly prolific passer. Amongst the 19 point guards currently in our Top 100 Prospect rankings, Fredette rates toward the bottom in both assist to turnover ratio and Pure Point Rating.
But even from 1996 there's a contemporary record of how Nash was viewed coming out of Santa Clara. It's not even close.
Point Guards - 1996 Usenet Draft
Nash is a natural point guard who can distribute the ball effectively and hit the long-range jumper. He uses deceptive quickness and a superior understanding of the game to his advantage. Like all of the great point guards, Nash has uncanny court vision and a sixth sense for the game. He may be the best *true* point guard in the draft.
Steve's biggest weakness is his man-to-man defense. His average foot speed makes him an easy target for small, quick point guards to blow by. His lack of physical strength does not bode well for handling the bigger, stronger point guards in the NBA in the post.
How's that for a spot on scouting report.
Maybe Jimmer will turn out to be a decent or even great "true point" but to say that he's similar to Nash coming out of college is plum wrong.