Jimmer Fredette looks to reinvent himself with Bulls

Written By By Joe Cowley Staff reporter Posted: 03/03/2014, 03:54am

Jimmer Fredette still wasn’t sure what went wrong in Sacramento.

Then again, most current and former Kings players have a hard time explaining exactly how that organization works.

But Fredette is with the Bulls now, and he’s looking to reinvent himself.

“Sometimes things don’t go the way that you wanted them to all the time, but I appreciate everything that happened in Sacramento,’’ Fredette said. “It was a character-builder for me, continuing to go out and play hard.

“I feel like I progressed as a player even though sometimes you didn’t get the minutes you wanted to. You still have to go out and play hard, work hard and know that if you keep playing hard and doing the right things that eventually things will turn your way. I’m hoping that will happen here.’’

So do the Bulls.

After being bought out of his contract Thursday and clearing waivers, the 6-2 guard officially signed a free-agent deal Sunday morning. He entered the Bulls’ 109-90 victory against the Knicks with 3:08 left and hit a 20-foot jumper.

There were several other teams in the running for Fredette, the 10th pick in the 2011 draft, but he had his sights set on the Bulls all along.

“I see how this team plays. They play hard every single night, and they play for each other,’’ Fredette said. “And they play the right way. That’s something I was looking for, to come into a team that I can fit in and play the way I wanted to, play hard every single night.’’

In two-plus seasons with the Kings, the former BYU standout shot 40 percent from three-point range. He averaged seven points and 15 minutes.

This season, he’s shooting 49.3 percent on three-pointers, but his minutes have decreased. The buyout was almost a get-out-of-jail card.

And don’t think he didn’t notice how the careers of Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and D.J. Augustin have turned around under Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Derrick Rose might not want to recruit players, but it seems Thibodeau’s reputation is drawing them.

“I’m excited about it,’’ Fredette said of playing for Thibodeau. “He’s obviously a very defensive-minded coach, and I’m just trying to learn the schemes and all the stuff. Hopefully I can continue to work on that and get better on that end of the floor.

“He’s done a great job [of turning careers around], and I’m excited about that. He plays to your strengths, that’s what he told me when I talked to him. He was going to find out what my strengths are and play to them. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that and hopefully further my career.’’

But there’s an acclimation process under Thibodeau.

“He’s more than just a shooter,’’ Thibodeau said. “I think what he can do in a pick-and-roll can be very effective. He’s very good with the ball. He’s got to learn defensively what to do in terms of team defense, and that’s usually the biggest adjustment.

“We like his makeup. I think he can grow, I think he’ll get better. But you have to remember: You have to put the team first.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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