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Friday, February 28, 2014
Thibs reason Fredette could fit with Bulls

By Nick Friedell

DALLAS -- Jimmer Fredette has never had a problem scoring. Everybody knew that the guard from BYU could fill it up and shoot the lights out when he wanted to in college.

Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette's defense has always been a major concern.
The bigger question around Fredette was whether he could defend at an NBA level. Like many teams, the Chicago Bulls had that question before the 2011 NBA draft. They knew Fredette could score -- but the feeling within the organization was that Fredette was a poor defender and would struggle mightily at the NBA level on that end of the floor.

So how did they come around to a point where they believe that the recently bought out Sacramento Kings guard would be a good fit at the end of their roster?

Tom Thibodeau.

If Fredette does in fact sign with the Bulls on Saturday once he clears waivers, as one source with knowledge of the situation believed would occur late Thursday night, then it's just another indication of just how much the Bulls trust in Thibodeau to find the right areas for their players to succeed. Thibodeau has proved throughout his tenure in Chicago that he can find ways for defensively challenged players to still contribute to the greater good.

Take a look at what the veteran coach has been able to do with D.J. Augustin this season. Or Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson last season. They weren't very solid defensively, but they all thrived under Thibodeau's tutelage. The Bulls are obviously banking on Fredette being able to have the same impact under Thibodeau.

In that vein, it makes sense that Fredette would sign with the Bulls for the rest of the season and see what happens. Thibodeau has a track record of making all point guards not named Marquis Teague a lot of money. With just Hinrich and Augustin in the fold, Fredette could get a chance to play right away -- especially if Augustin's recent struggles continue.

But it's important to remember Thibodeau's recent words and history when evaluating whether Fredette would have a major impact this season. Thibodeau is a creature of habit, and it's rare for any player to come in this late in the season and have any kind of major impact. While Fredette may get the chance to play in spurts, the Bulls' rotation appears to be set with Hinrich and Augustin running the point.

If Fredette starts knocking down shots early, then he may earn some more time. But in order to find his way into Thibodeau's good graces, he must make great strides in the one area that has given him trouble all along. The key for him is that if he really wanted to get better defensively, then he's come to the right place.