Teams do not normally take a player that has potential with their late second-round picks. Sure Thomas, Blalock and Erden got into the league and made an impact. Then you have international picks that are throwaways like Zeljko Rebraca (Yugoslavia), Roberto Duenas (Spain), Andreas Glynidakis (Greece), and Milovan Rakovic (Serbia). The misses are numerous because nobody strives to pick at No. 60 and no player works to get selected there. Thomas is not the norm, he is the exception.
Still, the relationship between Fredette and Thomas is remarkably good.
“Jimmer is a great guy, even better basketball player,” Thomas says. “We are just trying to get better each and every day as rookies come in and work hard.”
Both of these guys are trying to make each other better and the fact that one went 50 picks after the other is not an issue.
Kings’ coach Keith Smart knows he has something in Thomas.
“I think the young man is doing a great job, considering he was the last pick in the draft and he is not supposed to be in this position right here,” he says. “He is growing at a great rate and I do not want to put any additional pressure on him.”
Watching them on the court, Smart is right on about Thomas (9.1 points a night, 16.02 PER). He gets it and is now trying to manage the game for a team sorely lacking leadership. On the flip side, watching Fredette (7.9 points a game, 11.53 PER) is a bit frustrating. He barely plays and normally doesn’t look engaged on offense. His body language and demeanor aren’t that of a player with confidence.
Even Steve Nash admitted it, telling me, “They are both going to have great careers, obviously right now Isaiah is playing more, maybe a little further along.”
This is just the start of the careers of both Fredette and Thomas. Considering this is one of the strangest, fastest-paced seasons in NBA history this odd couple is turning into exactly what the Kings needed.
Who will have the better career?
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