Road To Recovery: Tyreke Evans

I love Tyreke‘s game. I’m not entirely sure why. There are A LOT of people out there that question his shot-selection, his propensity to over-dribble or the 6-5 AI complex he sometimes has going on. Most of all, they question his vision. But I’ve always loved what he brings to the table: the physicality, the all-around numbers & the one-on-one ability that sits somewhere between “stupid” and “eye-opening.”

Evans had one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history, and then followed that up last year with disappointment. Injuries. Scouting reports. An insistence on proving he could shoot. His numbers fell off (17.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.6 APG) and his stock dropped from “He’s gonna be a future stud, an All-Star many times over and this generation’s Oscar Robertson” to “He’s a selfish player who won’t ever win anything.”

So for Evans, this break between seasons is crucial to regain his confidence and get his plantar fasciitis sorted out.

Zach Harper at TrueHoop writes:

A little over a year ago, Tyreke Evans was coming off one of the most historic rookie seasons in NBA history. He finished with season averages of 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. It was just the fourth time in NBA history that a rookie finished with 20-5-5. Aside from a couple of turned ankles and a concussion in his rookie campaign, Tyreke was relatively healthy all season and able to impose his physical dominance on the defense almost every night.

But as he entered his sophomore NBA season, with high expectations for himself and the team he leads, Evans was already battling a dreaded plantar fasciitis injury to his left foot and trying to be tough for his team. “Just because I’m young, when I got hurt, I tried to play through it, ” Evans said as he reflects on his second season.

Tyreke did try to play through it early on and struggled while doing so. He played in 46 of the first 53 games of the 2010-11 season. While it may be unfair to call his averages of 18.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in those first 46 games struggling, those were the types of expectations his rookie play brought about. He couldn’t explode to the basket in the same way he was used to, and with his struggling jump shot unable to fall, he was constantly left with a physical disadvantage.

The Kings? They’ll have question marks either way. Adding Jimmer Fredette does a lot to ticket sales – they’ve already exceeded last season’s numbers – but what about on the court where he will fight for the spotlight with Evans and DeMarcus Cousins? Some problems are bound to arise.

For Evans – who’s by all accounts a hard worker, and a quiet kid…at least according to Antoine Wright, who bashed pretty much everyone else in the entire organization recently – he seems focused on getting back to where he was just a year ago. In the article above, Harper pointed out his struggles at the rim – his attempts there dropping from 8.4 (best in the league) during his rookie year to only 6.2 last year – and the problems with his feet that wouldn’t subside.

Even if he is healthy from here on out, Evans’ jump shot will need to improve and so will his focus and vision. I’m betting it all will. If he didn’t love the game so much, and if he wasn’t completely focused on being the best he can be, then maybe I wouldn’t.

It’s a scenario everyone in Sacramento is watching. The Kings go as he goes.

What do you think? What will Tyreke look like next season?

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