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China MVP, former BYU star Jimmer Fredette eyes return to the NBA

The Shanghai Sharks Jimmer Fredette, left, is defended by the Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (10)  in the first half of an NBA basketball exhibition game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Houston.
The Shanghai Sharks Jimmer Fredette, left, is defended by the Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball exhibition game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Houston.
George Bridges, AP

While former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette is in the middle of a playoff run with the Shanghai Sharks, he is already eyeing his next move once the season is over, according to a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski. And it's a well-deserved opportunity if it materializes.

Fredette, who was named the CBA's International MVP Tuesday, has carried the Sharks to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 first-round series with the Shenzhen Leopards even though he missed the first game for the birth of his first child.

He has been the catalyst for a Sharks' turnaround that saw them go from 18-20 in 2015-16 to 30-8 and a tie for second in the regular-season standings in '16-17. During his time in China, Fredette rekindled Jimmermania as he captivated fans with massive scoring performances, including a 73-point night in the final game of the regular season.

Along the way, Fredette has averaged 37.3 points a night on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 41.1 percent from beyond the arc while taking more than 1,000 shots in 37 games. That translates into an effective field-goal percentage of 56.7. He also showed a clutch stroke at the free-throw where he connected on 246 of 265 free throws (92.8 percent).

While the competition is clearly not the same as the NBA, putting up those numbers on a winning team will be difficult for NBA teams to ignore.

There will be naysayers that argue that he is doing what every other American guard does in China or that he never produced during his time in the NBA, but neither stance has much weight.

While 10 American guards finished in the top 10 in scoring in the CBA this season, only Errick McCollum finished ahead of Fredette as he averaged 37.5 points on 47.8 percent shooting from the floor, including 38.2 percent from beyond the arc. Impressive numbers no doubt, but Fredette shot better across the board while handing out more assists (4.3 to 3.7) and committing fewer turnovers (3.9 for McCollum to 3.5 for Fredette).

The other difference is that Fredette put up his numbers on a team that won 30 games while McCollum's team won just nine and missed the playoffs. In fact, of the 10 guards in the top 10 in scoring, only two others made the playoffs (Darius Adams and Lester Hudson).

Then there is the argument of NBA production. After all, Fredette did average just 6.0 points, 1.4 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 235 games. But if you dig a little deeper, you will realize that he produced at a nice clip when he was given minutes.

In his last four years in the NBA, Fredette played more than 20 minutes in a game 22 times. He scored at least nine points in each game, including double figures in 20 of 22 contests.

And it wasn't because he was a volume shooter.

In those games, he shot 48.6 percent from the floor, including 46.9 percent from beyond the arc and 91.3 percent from the free-throw line. He also put up a decent stat line as he averaged 13.2 points, 2.6 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals.

While the argument of team success comes into play in those games — his team's won just 9 of 22 games — he was a +90 while on the floor.

None of that guarantees he will find another roster spot or even an offer from an NBA team when the CBA playoffs are finished, but it does show that Fredette has produced at a high level no matter where he has played, when he was given minutes — even in the NBA.