Jimmer Fredette Could Be Making NBA Return With Phoenix Suns, Per John Gambadoro

Jimmer Fredette, then playing for the Sacramento Kings, smiles during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

In the lead-up to the 2011 NBA Draft, Brigham Young University guard Jimmer Fredette was one of the most hyped college basketball players in recent memory, as he led the nation in scoring and captivated fans with his long-range shooting ability. His professional career, however, did not pan out as expected, as he lasted just five seasons in the NBA and had most recently lit up the scoreboard for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). If the latest rumors are to be believed, Fredette could be getting another chance to play in the NBA by joining the Phoenix Suns for their last few games of the season.

On Wednesday afternoon, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweeted that the Suns are scheduled to meet with Fredette on Thursday, as both sides discuss the possibility of the 30-year-old guard signing a contract for the remainder of the season. No further details were mentioned, but if Fredette ends up joining the Suns, he will be signing with a team that has only 10 games to play in the 2018-19 NBA season as of this writing and has long been eliminated from playoff contention.

As recalled by Bleacher Report, Jimmer Fredette entered the NBA via the 2011 NBA Draft, where he was selected 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks after averaging 28.9 points for the BYU Cougars as a college senior. The Bucks then traded his rights to the Sacramento Kings on draft day, as Fredette went on to play for four teams over five seasons, averaging just six points per game on 41.2 percent field goal shooting. According to Basketball-Reference, Fredette’s best statistical season was in his rookie year, where he put up 7.6 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent shooting from three-point range.

Per Uproxx, Fredette was much more successful in the CBA, where he averaged 36 points, five rebounds, and five assists and attempted 12 three-point shots per game for the Shanghai Sharks. Bleacher Report noted that he is one of several former NBA first-round picks who have taken their talents to the Chinese basketball scene, as the likes of Jared Sullinger, Tyler Hansbrough, Shabazz Muhammad, and Donatas Motiejunas also headed to the CBA after failing to stick around in the NBA for one reason or another.

While Fredette almost certainly won’t come anywhere close to approximating his CBA numbers if he returns to the NBA for the Phoenix Suns’ remaining games, Bleacher Report opined that neither he nor the Suns have much to lose. The Suns are at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 17-55 record, while Fredette could potentially play well enough to return to the team for the 2019-20 season.

Despite the presence of high-scoring guard Devin Booker, the Suns’ lack of backcourt depth has often been brought up as one of the team’s weaknesses. As Tyler Johnson, who was acquired by Phoenix from the Miami Heat ahead of last month’s trade deadline, is currently out with a sore right knee, Bleacher Report predicted that his absence could allow Fredette to contribute, assuming he does get signed by the Suns.