fter becoming a god in China, Jimmer Fredette is getting another chance at NBA redemption.
A former college star at BYU, Fredette washed out of the NBA after five unsuccessful seasons, signing with the Shanghai Sharks in 2016 and going on to win the league’s international MVP, establishing himself as the best player in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Over the last two seasons, Fredette has continued to put up gaudy numbers —averaging 36.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists a game while shooting 42 percent from three this past season. His play has earned him legions of Chinese fans who call him “Jimo” (寂寞) meaning “lonely” — a nickname that is less depressing than it sounds as his full title is “Loneliness God” because he plays at such a high level that he has no rivals.
It’s also a particularly appropriate nickname for Fredette as his individual success hasn’t really translated into success for the team. After squeaking into the playoffs again this year, the Sharks were eliminated in the first round by the Beijing Ducks on Tuesday with Jimmer scoring just 13 points on 10 shots.
Fredette, at least, will be able to take solace in that loss after agreeing to a two-year contract with the Phoenix Suns. The second year of that contract is a team option, but Fredette will at least be given a chance to show that he belongs back in the NBA. The Suns have an intriguing young core of players, but have the worst record in the Western Conference, meaning that they have nothing to lose in giving Jimmer a shot.
And, if it doesn’t work, there’s always Shanghai.