Feb 7, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans (13) reacts to a call during the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Kings 86-84. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
It’s been a fast and steady fall from grace for the Kings’ former Rookie of the Year. Now entering his fourth NBA season, Tyreke Evans is essentially in make or break mode. Up for a new contract potentially at season end, Evans has plenty to play for, but more than that – Reke is trying to prove himself again. An offseason which consisted of essentially living in gym’s and on blacktops across the country helped Reke stay in shape as well as help grow his game, but a backcourt crunch has many wondering what the Kings plan to do with Evans. Will they put him back at small forward, where he was less than happy? Will they bring him off the bench? Or will he return to his normal backcourt position and play with the ball in his hands?
Scott – Evans is easily the biggest question mark entering the new season. What’s his position? Does he start? Will he finally show strides in his outside game? Evans is a physical specimen, and nobody doubts his supreme ability to get to the rim. But unless he shows marked improvement from the perimeter, his game will remain incomplete. It’s a big year for the Kings and Evans, who enters a contract season. The time is now for Evans to build on his leadership skills, put the team first and step his game up. A slow start will only ramp up trade rumors, as Sacramento must get value in return if they decide Tyreke doesn’t fit in. But Evans has the drive to step up, and if he does, Kings fans will welcome him as a key part of the future.
Maryiln – Tyreke Evans is the X-Factor. How can someone come into the NBA in his rookie season and shake up the entire league with his amazing ability to drive to the basket, have an incredible Rookie of the Year campaign, and then follow that up with what many would agree was a regression in his next two seasons? I do not have the answer. A lot was piled upon his shoulders in his rookie year. Tyreke does not wear his emotions on his sleeve, so we don’t truly know how much this impacted him. Although, he got a pass his sophomore year because of the foot issue, he didn’t come back much better last season. The point guard experiment was over and the small forward experiment did not go any better. Now, word out of Colorado suggests Tyreke may be spending some time back at the point guard position this season after all. If he has his jump shot down, this could be a breakout season for him.
Bryan – No pressure or anything, but so much of the Sacramento Kings season relies on Evans. A return to his former self could put the Kings in low seed playoff contention while another season like his past two may spell the end of the former Rookie of the Year’s tenure in Sacramento. Set to be a restricted free agent at season end, Evans certainly has extra motivation to play well – but doing so is a different animal. There’s no doubt Evans does put the work in to get better, but his issues aren’t physical – they’re mental and that’s the part of Evans game that needs refining. There’s not a King fan that’s not rooting for the former Memphis Tiger and I expect Evans to have a very solid season, especially with the Kings putting him back in the backcourt for the majority of the minutes – assuming that is what they do. Bringing Marcus Thornton off the bench might not be the best for ego’s, but it’s the best move for the roster – both short and long term.