Through the Sacramento Kings’ first four games of the 2012-13 NBA season, Tyreke Evans has been doing everything he can to return to his former Rookie of the Year glory. He’s rebounding at a high rate, playing more energetic defense, shooting his free throws well and doing his best to improve his passing. However, Evans is still catching the wrath of the Kingdom – mostly because his “improved shot” is no place to be found.
Haven’t we read this book before?
Through the first four games, Evans is shooting a eye wrenching 33% – woeful when you consider that percentage includes Evans going 8 of 13 opening night in Chicago. Since then, he’s shot 9 of 38 and his confidence on the offensive side continues to fall.
Worse for Evans is that a vast majority of his shots are coming from the outside and his improved jumper is, well, not so improved and harming his efficiency. On the below graphic, you can see that Evans has shot 17 jumpers in his last three games – making one in the process. One of seventeen. On the flip side, Evans has shot 20 layups/dunks – a near identical clip, but has only made 8 of them – good for 40%. Not exactly the number you’d be hoping for when it comes to shots within a foot or two of the basket.
Granted, while he certainly isn’t void of blame – this isn’t all Tyreke’s fault. We’ve seen what Evans can do and while those stats from his rookie season can be taken with a grain of salt given the emphasis put on them by the Kings organization, Evans is a far better player than what we’ve seen to start this season and in the past few. Am I saying he’s as good as his rookie season wants to make one believe? Not at all – however, he’s also not as bad as he’s played. The lack of structure within the Kings organization from the top down has hurt player development in recent seasons – Evans hasn’t been excluded from that. Again, that’s not to deflect blame from Tyreke – it’s just reality.
Turning it around for Evans isn’t going to be anything physical. He can work into the morning sunrise shooting jumpers like he does – that’s not his problem. Like many Kings, his problem falls between his ears. Evans has to realize that he needs to make the game easier for himself and those around him – no small task for any player. Entering his fourth year, that time is now. As a rookie and even a sophomore, excuses can be made but as a veteran, essentially a forth of the way through his career, Reke needs to turn that proverbial corner and do so quickly.
There’s not a King fan who’s not rooting for him – no matter how frustrated with him you might be.
I just hope he figures it out before it’s too late.