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June 23, 2011

Jimmer, the Austin Collie of the NBA

Who is Jimmer Freddette? What NBA player will he turn into? The question on everyone's mind has a wide range of answers, depending on who you talk to.

The optimists say Jimmer will develop a style of play comparable to Steve Nash or Stephen Curry. The pessimists say Brevin Knight or Steve Blake. The people who don't think white-skinned humans belong in the NBA say Adam Morrison. But you want to know what I say, that's why you're on this particular site, right?

To get my answer requires traveling cross-sport from the Association to the NFL, because Jimmer's greatest comparable, in my mind, is former BYU receiver Austin Collie. The similarities go on and on with these two. Collie, like Jimmer, was at the top of his position in his final college season. He set BYU records and led the nation in receiving yards in 2008. Despite being the primary focus of opposing defenses, Collie remained unguardable, setting an NCAA record with 11-straight games of 100 or more receiving yards to end his career.

Of course, heading into the NFL draft Collie wasn't considered worthy of a first, second or even third round pick. The nation's leading receiver wasn't selected until the fourth round (the 19th wide receiver taken) because he was pale which automatically meant he suffered from Poor Athleticism and Lacked Explosiveness. Scouts reasoned that a non-athletic person like Collie could have led the NCAA in receiving only if he were in the proper system or pitted against inferior foes.

(Any of this sounding familiar yet?)

And so Collie dropped accordingly. Right into the hands of the best passer in the league (Peyton Manning), where he continued to excel, nearly mirroring the Rookie of the Year Award winner's numbers from that year:

Austin Collie, rookie year-
60 receptions, 676 yards, 7 touchdowns.

Percy Harvin, Rookie of the Year winner-
60 receptions, 790 yards, 6 touchdowns.

Jimmer has lived a parallel life to Collie thus far. Despite his college dominance, Jimmer's accomplishments are discredited as results of an odd-ball system and poor competition. Even though he consistently showed he could break double teams and beat opponents to the rim, he has been deemed nonathletic (P.A.L.E), and at 6' 2", too small to play point guard. The question is asked again: who will Jimmer become?

That will depend, much as it did with Austin Collie, on the team that selects him. Had Collie been picked earlier in the draft, by a team other than the Colts, he most likely would not have enjoyed the success he's had through his first two seasons. The Colts were the perfect team for him: a pass first squad with a hall of fame QB that often targets slot receivers. It was an ideal fit.

If Jimmer were to be drafted first overall by the Cavaliers, I expect his career would be negatively impacted in a severe way. The team would simply not be a good fit for his skill set. The natural question then becomes, which team is the perfect fit for Jimmer? His agent had him work with five teams that he believed matched his style of play: Utah, Phoenix, Sacramento, New York and Indiana. Of these five teams, one would be a match made in basketball heaven, comparable in perfection to Collie's fit with the Colts. The team I refer to, unfortunately, is not Utah.

It's Phoenix.

The Suns run and shoot. The fast attack is their mantra, and it matches Jimmer's abilities perfectly. Compared to Utah, where the three pointer remains frowned upon despite coach Sloan's departure, Phoenix would encourage the bomber to launch from deep at will. Not to mention in Phoenix resides the Canadian point guard sage, Steve Nash, whose tutelage could help Freddette in his point guard development exponentially.

Of course, it rips my heart to write this. I want to see Jimmer in the Jazz colors as much as the next man (man being short for: maniac, Cougar). The Jazz could use Freddette's range to say the least, not to mention his willingness to stay in Utah for the long term rather than flee for superior cities. Ticket sales, female viewers, and interest in Jazz basketball in general would increase as a result of his presence as well. And with tomorrow being my birthday, it makes sense that the Jazz should give me this great present.

But no, I will not spend my birthday wish on Jimmer to the Jazz. Phoenix would be his best spot, and it's there I will wish him to go. Of course, Jimmer's preferred spot landing spot is in New York. The draft starts in five. 

Time to see whose wishes come true.


Neither mine, nor Jimmer's, nor the maniacal BYU/Jazz fan's dreams have come true. Sacramento on the other hand ...

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