NEW YORK - Jimmermania was in full effect at the media day of the 2011 NBA Draft. The scrum surrounding Jimmer Fredette was humongous, with one scribe suggesting that it was 10 times as big as the one surrounding likely No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving at times. Therefore, there were a bunch of typical questions about whether Fredette can handle the pressure, which is silly because he was under incredible pressure at BYU.
But there were also some instructive questions about his game and where he might fit in. During the whole process, Fredette wanted to make one thing very clear: he is a point guard, and he will be a point guard in the NBA.
"I never really played shooting guard in college or high school or anything, so I don't know what people have seen," Fredette said. "I've always handled the ball. If they watched the games at BYU, that's what I've done."
"I played point guard growing up, all the way out through college, I played point guard," he said earlier. "That's my position and that's where I want to play."
In that vein, Fredette mentioned two of the league's best point guards as players he tries to emulate, painting similarities between his game and the games of Deron Williams and Steve Nash.
"I'm similar to Deron Williams. He's about my size. He's got a great crossover and stepback. I watched him play in Utah, so I tried to emulate his game. He's obviously a very good point guard," he said. "I'm [also] somewhat a Steve Nash type. I can get my shot off quickly, especially in the lane, shooting all those different shots in my arsenal. I'm not at their level yet, but some of that stuff is in my game."
Fredette said that teams have been working him out as a point guard, and the biggest thing he's working on is ball screens, whether it's on offense or defense. Specifically, he said he identified five teams as good fits for his skills and decided to only work out for them. Those five teams: Sacramento (seventh), Utah (third and 12th), Phoenix (13th), Indiana (15th) and New York (17th).
"I think [I fit] all five of them really well, and I think that's why we chose those five to go work out for," he said. "They're all a type of tempo, a lot of ball screens and up tempo teams. I think I'd fit in really well with all of them and their personnel."
Of the five, the hometown Jazz are obviously the one most people buzz about. Fredette was even asked if he felt the Jazz were in a "tough situation" in deciding whether to take him, which he predictably downplayed.
"Maybe a little bit, but I think they're fine," he said. "Kevin O'Conner has been doing this for a long time. He's experienced, he knows what he's doing. I don't think he worries too much about what the fans are thinking. He worries about his team. He knows that winning translates to happy fans. So whoever he thinks is going to be the best fit for his team, that's who he'll pick. So we'll see."
Mostly, it seemed like Fredette's mission during the session was to identify himself as a point guard, not a combo guard. A fellow well-known combo-guard type empathizes with Fredette's plight.
"Me and Jimmer are really good friends," UConn's Kemba Walker said when asked about Fredette. "Me and him basically get the same criticism. 'We're combo guards, scorers and things like that. We're not true point guards, we don't play defense,' etc. But we don't talk about things like that."