Kings end up with Fredette after draft-day trade

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Kings end up with Fredette after draft-day trade

June 23, 2011KINGS PAGE KINGS VIDEONBA DRAFT TRACKER

SECOND-ROUND UPDATE: The Kings selected forward Tyler Honeycutt from UCLA with the 35th pick overall. With the 60th pick, Sacramento chose Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas.

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Kings found a shooter they hope they can eventually pair in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans and a high-profile player to help in marketing when they ended up with high-scoring guard Jimmer Fredette after making a draft-day trade Thursday with Charlotte and Milwaukee.

The Kings moved from seventh to 10th in the draft, while also acquiring swingman John Salmons from the Bucks and sending guard Beno Udrih to Charlotte. That created a need in Sacramento for a shooter in the backcourt who could also play some point guard, making Fredette an attractive option.

Fredette won nearly every player of the year award at BYU last season after leading the nation in scoring with 28.9 points per game, including the Naismith, Wooden, AP and the USBWA awards. With his seemingly unlimited shooting range and a long list of highlights, Fredette was one of the most popular players in college basketball.

That popularity could benefit the Kings, who nearly moved to Anaheim after this past season and are hoping to generate enough interest to build a new arena in Sacramento. The city must have a new arena plan by March 1 or the franchise will likely relocate.

Fredette topped 30 points in 16 of his 37 games at BYU last season, including three 40-point games and a career-high 52 in one game against New Mexico. He also averaged 4.3 assists per game and made 124 3-pointers in helping BYU reach the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament before falling to Florida.

There were questions heading into the draft about Fredette's ability to defend quicker and bigger NBA guards, but the Kings believed the 6-foot-2 Fredette would work well in a backcourt with Evans, who won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2009-10. The 6-6 Evans has the ability to match up with bigger guards defensively, easing the load on Fredette.

The Kings also have Marcus Thornton in what figures to be a three-guard rotation in the backcourt. Thornton averaged 21.3 points in 23 games for Sacramento after being acquired in a midseason trade with New Orleans.

While Evans' strengths offensively are as a slasher who is able to score in the paint, Fredette gives the Kings one of the best outside shooters who should have room to operate on an offense that also includes last year's first-round pick, center DeMarcus Cousins.

Fredette also gives the Kings another ballhandler and distributor to take pressure off Evans, who is not a natural point guard. Evans was hindered this past season by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Evans played just 57 games, averaging 17.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers were all down from his spectacular rookie season.

But the Kings are hoping a healthy Evans, a more seasoned Cousins and now Fredette will help improve a franchise that has had five straight losing seasons. Sacramento went 24-58 last season, their third straight year with fewer than 30 wins. Washington and Minnesota are the only other teams that have not reached 30 wins in any of the past three seasons.

The Kings drafted forward Bismack Biyombo of Congo with the seventh pick that they sent to Charlotte. Guards Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker went with the next two picks, creating a natural comparison with Fredette over the next few seasons.

Salmons spent two-plus years with the Kings. His best year was in 2008-09 when he averaged 18.3 points per game before being dealt to Chicago during the season. In nine years in the NBA, Salmons has averaged 10.1 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Udrih spent the past four years with the Kings, averaging a career-high 13.7 points per game last season.

The Kings also got UCLA small forward Tyler Honeycutt with their first second-round pick, 35th overall. Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a sophomore last season for the Bruins.

Despite rough ending, Cotton's return start from minors is solid

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Despite rough ending, Cotton's return start from minors is solid

NEW YORK — Keep peeling away the layers of Jharel Cotton’s start Saturday, and there are several different ways to view it.

The A’s rookie pitched into the sixth inning despite enduring big-time command issues and giving up a run in the first.

He took a no-hitter into the sixth despite not having the feel for his best pitch, the changeup.

He was on the verge of completing six mostly dominant innings before losing a handle on things in the sixth, allowing a two-out rally that culminated with Matt Holliday’s two-run homer. That blast wound up being the difference in Oakland’s 3-2 loss to the Yankees.

It was an eventful 5 2/3-inning outing for Cotton in his return from the minors. He admitted he was very aware he had a no-hitter going, though it also must have registered that with his pitch count at 88 entering the sixth, he wasn’t going to get a chance to complete history.

“I wanted to just go out there and get (through) the sixth inning with no hits,” Cotton said. “I guess I thought about it too much and it just bit me.”

Taking the mound for his first big league start since being optioned to Triple-A on May 11, Cotton was also making his first start at Yankee Stadium. He couldn’t find the strike zone in the first, allowing a walk, a hit batsman and a wild pitch that led to Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly and an early lead for New York.

But then he settled down and found a groove, retiring 15 out of 16 hitters for a stretch from the first all the way until the sixth. That was all the more impressive given that Cotton did not have the effective changeup that’s usually the centerpiece to his game plan.

Catcher Josh Phegley said he was encouraged by Cotton’s effort in his first start back from Triple-A.

“He was kind of sporadic at the beginning, so i was just calling a lot of cutters because that was our strike pitch,” Phegley said. “You’d like to have the changeup because it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen. But he’s got the stuff to do without one of his pitches and still compete and put us in a good position.”

The game turned when Cotton couldn’t slam the door in the sixth after retiring the first two hitters. He walked Gary Sanchez and then caught too much plate with a 1-0 cutter to Holliday, who signed a one-year $13 million contract with New York in the offseason. He drilled a two-run homer to left-center, and Cotton was lifted after Castro singled on his next batter.

“I didn’t want to walk that guy,” Cotton said. “You don’t wanna put guys on base with free passes and I did that, and it came back to haunt me.”

With Cotton’s pitch count crossing 100 in the sixth, A’s manager Bob Melvin said he had no second thoughts about not going to his bullpen earlier. Cotton was charged with three runs on just two hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.

“I was fine with him to get through the inning. That probably would have been it,” Melvin said. “You don’t take a guy out just because he’s got 100 pitches. He was pitching well.”

Cotton will be an important factor for the A’s moving forward given the injuries to starters Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman, with the former going on the 10-day disabled list Saturday and the latter expected to join him in the next day or two.

Suns forward: Durant joining Warriors made him easier to guard

Suns forward: Durant joining Warriors made him easier to guard

Jared Dudley and Kevin Durant were part of the same 2007 Draft Class.

Ever since then, Durant has been the toughest player for Dudley to guard.

The 10-year veteran acknowledged that defending Durant during the 2014 Western Conference Semifinals was his hardest assignment while speaking on The Ryen Russillo Show on ESPN Radio on Thursday.

"My worst time was going against Durant in the playoffs when I played for the Clippers and he was on OKC, and that was my matchup. And him coming down on the transition, and I'm thinking 'I know he can shoot the ball here and I can't touch him.' I just remember him crossing over and he takes one step from half court and dunks it. He's such a tough matchup because in the NBA, you can really get physical with guys, especially stars. So he shoots 90 (percent) from free throw, he can shoot the ball from three, so for me, he's always been my toughest matchup," Dudley said.

Dudley also discussed how it has become easier to defend Durant since he left Oklahoma City for Golden State.

"It actually made it easier, somewhat, him going to the Warriors because they have Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) and he doesn't have that killer instinct, but overall, it's impossible," Dudley concluded.