Taysom Hill and Jimmer Fredette both got chances professionally, but only one of them got the chance to play their style.
Yesterday, Taysom Hill had the kind of performance that may just get him to be the true backup to Drew Brees. Hill gained 191 offensive yards through the air and on his feet as he helped lead his team to a 19-17 comeback victory over the Chargers.
While he has performed well with the Saints as a third string quarterback and utility player, for the first time with the team he was able to play the way he wanted to play. He wasn't told to stay in the pocket, to throw the ball away when under pressure and most importantly he wasn't benched for Bridgewater late in the game when the Saints were trying to get a game winning field goal drive.
Taysom was just given the offense and told to go to work in the way he works best. His best plays came when he was able to make the play himself whether that was throwing to the third read receiver or scrambling out of pressure for a big first down run.
It was something that proved that Taysom can make it in the league as a quarterback. It was an opportunity that he took advantage of, and an opportunity that Jimmer Fredette never had.
Fredette, whether playing for the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans, Spurs, Knicks or Suns never was truly given the freedom to play how he plays best. He was asked to play off the ball, be a screen setter or be a swing out player for players like Devin Booker. He was never given the opportunity to have the green light with shooting and running the offense, the ability he was given with the G-League, Shanghai, Team Fredette and BYU, all places that he was able to thrive and be the best player on the court.
Would Jimmer Fredette have made it in the NBA if he was given the opportunity to play the way he plays best? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps he would have led a team to the Playoffs, been an All Star or played for the FIBA team. Or maybe he would be right where he is right now, playing for Greece, where he will probably never step on an NBA court again.
The only thing we do know is he was never given the chance to show what he could do in his way. Fredette may have been a really good player in the NBA if given the ball and the ability to play how he wanted, but that is how life goes sometimes. Crazy how opportunities, and the lack of them, can lead to two very different circumstances with two athletes with a lot of talent.