Jimmer Fredette, who has been tearing up the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shanghai Sharks, signed a contract with the Phoenix Suns for the rest of the NBA season.
In a 33-point blowout loss against the Utah Jazz on Monday night, Fredette scored 6 points and scored his first bucket since 2016.
During his second game back to the NBA, Fredette finally scored a basket late in the fourth-quarter during garbage time against the Jazz.
Fredette, who played his collegiate ball at BYU, received a boisterous standing ovation from the fans in Salt Lake City when he first entered the game.
“I get into the game, the crowd is definitely crazy,” Fredette said in a post-game interview. “I appreciate the fans and everything. I felt pretty amped up about the game. A lot of my shots were a little bit long, but it felt good to just get out there, just be aggressive, play my game, and know that if I keep doing that that everything’s going to be good.”
The rest of the crowd went berserk when he finally connected on a shot. Fredette finished the night with only six points. He shot only 1-for-10 from the floor, but hit all four of his free throws.
Fredette made his Suns debut on Saturday. He went scoreless in his first game back during a four-minute stint against the Sacramento Kings. He missed the only shot he took.
The Lonely God
Fredette is a former first-round draft pick. The Milwaukee Bucks picked him tenth overall in 2011. He struggled to shoot consistently in the NBA in limited action. He fell out of various rotations because of his poor defense.
Fredette last played in the NBA in 2016. He headed to China in hopes he could revitalize his basketball career with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
Fredette quickly took the league and country by storm. The Chinese sports media dubbed him with the nickname “The Lonely God”. The word lonely translates more as “in a league unto himself” than an isolated and distraught person.
Fredette won the International MVP in 2017. Earlier this season, Fredette scored 75 plus points against the Beijing Fly Dragons. Over his career with the Shanghai Sharks Fredette averaged over 36 points per game.
After another sensational season with the Sharks, the Suns took a late-season flier on Fredette. They signed him with an option for next season.
Devin Booker was going for a 60-point game. However, Jimmer Fredette got caught up in the moment and cost his teammate a rare-shot at 60-plus.
Booker finished the night with a career-high 59 points. He went 19-for 34 from the floor and drilled five three-pointers. He accounted almost two-thirds of the Suns total offense. No other player scored in double digits during the 125-92 blowout against the Jazz.
Fredette missed nine shots overall, including 0-for-5 from three-point land. Fans were irate that Fredette did not look to feed the ball to Booker as time quickly ticked away.
The Suns (17-55) are the worst team in the Western Conference. Only the anemic New York Knicks (14-60) have fewer wins than the Suns. Booker torched the Knicks for 41 points a couple of weeks earlier in a battle of NAB basement dwellers.
The Suns are vying for a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. They were awarded the top pick last year and selected center Deandre Ayton from Arizona with the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.