Tyreke Evans‘ first half of the 2011-12 season has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Statistically, outside of a below average FG%, Evans has been – well, Evans. It’s pretty difficult to complain about a player who, at 22 years of age is averaging a gaudy 17/5/5 line with a steal and a half per game. But from a mental standpoint, Evans continues to struggle – some might even say he’s regressed.
Comparing Evans’ rookie season to the first half of ’11-12 will leave one with nothing but disappointment. His true shooting percentage is down heavily – the turnover rate? Elevated. Even more alarming considering Evans’ usage rate is the lowest of his two and a half year career.
Now supposedly healthy, Evans is having a better year than his ’10-11 sophomore campaign, though – he’s pretty much declined in every positive statistical category from his rookie campaign – in some categories, significantly.
For Tyreke, he does own a positive positive net production (outplays his opposing player), though at only a +.5, for a player of his caliber, you expect more. DeMarcus Cousins, for example, owns a +4.5.
Evans is also only one of four Kings who own a plus simple rating, ranking second out of the four (Cousins, Evans, Thornton, Thomas) with a +2.7 simple rating (a production measure for a player’s own stats versus the counterpart player on the other team while he is on the court, as well as a simple on court/off court plus minus).
Unfortunately for Evans and King fans, stats don’t always tell the story – and that proves to be the most difficult and challenging part of giving Evans a first half grade. It’s clear that Evans has struggled this year with decision making (as he always has) – the mental aspect of the game continues to haunt him. Physically, Evans has every tool to be a complete beast in the NBA. Players with his size, his speed, his unique abilities (like the ease of getting to the rim) – they are a rare breed, and I stress the rareness.
With feel good story Isaiah Thomas now apparently the anointed point guard, we’ll see if Evans handles the role of small forward better than he did that of the one. As former teammate Beno Udrih said earlier this season, “To me, Tyreke wasn’t a point guard. He was more like a small forward-shooting guard with his strength.” – Hopefully, Evans thrives in his new role and has a much improved second half to the ’11-12 season. We’re all rooting for it.
For now though? Evans has been average (from his elevated expectations) – maybe worse, so that’s why his first half grade is a C-