No side effect of the NBA lockout has been more overlooked and is more potentially devastating than what it could do to the Sacramento Kings. The city has been given one more year by the Maloofs to prove that they deserve a basketball team, and a full-season lockout could wipe away any chance of them staying without a single game being played. Even an abbreviated lockout could be catastrophic, as the Kings would have a very short time to improve, and there'd be little chance of a grass roots movement of fan support with significantly fewer home games.
And it's a shame, because like the Seattle Sonics before they moved to Oklahoma City, there are visible signs that the Kings could get very good very quickly. One of the primary reasons is first round draft pick Jimmer Fredette, who stands to be the Kings' starting point guard for the future. How much of a fantasy impact he'll make in first season, however, is certainly worth discussing.
Fredette, of course, has an outstanding college resume and comes off his senior season at BYU in which he lead the nation in scoring with 28.9 points per game. Many successful NBA players wind up exceeding their college averages, but in Fredette's case, just merely approaching it would make him a certifiable superstar. Expectations are tempered, because at 6-feet-2-inches and 195 pounds, Fredette's entering a league where players his size rarely become All-Stars.
Still, the success of Stephen Curry lends hope that Fredette can find similar results. Curry was the last player his size to score 28 points per game in college, and although he's an inch taller than Fredette, he's also 10 pounds lighter and is just as scrawny. Curry almost single-handedly guided Davidson to within a few points of the Final Four, similar to what Fredette did at BYU. And as impressive as Curry's averages were for his final season at Davidson (28.6 points, 4.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 45.4% field-goals, 87.6% free-throws, 39.5% three-pointers), Fredette's numbers were almost exactly as good, if not better (28.9 points, 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 45.2% field-goals, 89.4% free-throws, 39.6% three-pointers).
The similarities end there, though. Curry was drafted into a Warriors system that allowed him to play copious amounts of minutes while taking as many shots as he liked, regardless of the fact that his starting shooting guard (Monta Ellis) was just as small as he was. And it didn't hurt that the Warriors had almost no depth whatsoever, allowing Curry to immediately become the team's No. 2 scoring option. The Kings are by no means a terrible offensive team, but in a starting lineup with DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and J.J. Hickson -- players who tend to operate best in one-on-one situations -- Fredette won't score nearly as much as Curry did in his rookie campaign.
Fredette is an intriguing fantasy option. The loss of Beno Udrih assures that he'll be the Kings primary point guard for 2012, but with so many other scorers around him, he may be reduced to a jump-shooter early on in his professional career. Nonetheless, Fredette's excellent shooting ability should translate smoothly to the NBA. If there's any reason to invest in him this year, it's that he won't hurt you at all with his averages, even if his scoring and assist totals are sub-par. Some of his BYU numbers are simply impossible to replicate, particularly his 8.5 three-point attempts per game, which would easily be a record in the NBA. But the fact that his ceiling really is that high is reason enough to take a late-round flier on him.