Tyreke Evans put together a very impressive rookie season on his way to winning the rookie of the year award and making fantasy basketball players around the world wonder just how high this kid’s ceiling could be. Now it’s time for an encore and the question is; Will Evans hit a sophomore slump or can he continue to get better and improve on last year’s numbers? Before we address year two, let’s look back at his stats from his rookie campaign:
20.1 points per game
5.3 rebounds per game
5.8 assists per game
1.5 steals per game
47.5% FG percentage
74.8% FT percentage
0.5 3-Pointers made per game
Evans was a true across the board contributor last year, as only Evans, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James went 20-5-5 last season. Though if you look the holes in his game are still noticeable. He will certainly benefit from a little bit more range, and hopefully that’s something he has been working on this summer. The other thing he needs to shore up is his free throw shooting. It wasn’t that bad, but he is getting to the line over six times per game, so if he can bring that percentage up over 80 he can give you a boost in yet another category.
Looking ahead to this season, one thing I think that will play into Evans’ favor is that the Kings seem to finally realize that Evans is a natural 2 guard and will play him the year all year with Beno Udrih at the point. Initially that might make you wonder if Evans assists totals will go down because of this, but I don’t think they will. Evans and Udrih played together a lot last season once Beno took over the point and it never slowed Evans assists totals down. In fact March was Udrih’s best month for assists getting 7.4 per game that month, and it also ended up being Evans’ best month for assists getting 7.5. Udrih isn’t an elite passing point guard and Evans is still the true playmaker on this team, and Evans will still be the guy with the ball in his hands the majority of the time.
The benefit of having Udrih in the game with Evans is that it frees up Evans to play off the ball a little bit more and he doesn’t have to create shots for himself every time, as Udrih can find him for some good looks that he can’t get constantly playing off the dribble.
While it is nice that Evans is the go to guy in Sacramento, and really far an away the top scoring option, he may be helped by Demarcus Cousins down low if he can pick up the NBA game quickly. Defenses are going to key in on Evans and plan their defense around stopping him, but if Cousins can establish himself as a scoring threat downlow early it will help take some of the heat off from Evans and hopefully stop defenses from collapsing everyone down on Tyreke when he drives to the hoop.
There is always the potential for a sophomore slump as defenses learn to react and adjust to a player, but Evans showed no signs of tailing off last season and I don’t think he will this year either. I expect Evans to take another step forward this year, especially if he can add a better shooting touch to his already impressive skill set.
Projected Stat Line: 22.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.8 3pg, 48% FG, 77% FT
I think Tyreke Evans is a future top 10 pick and he’ll take the next step towards that this season.
What do you think about Tyreke Evans in his second NBA season? Is he in line for a sophomore slump or will he continue to excel at the NBA level? I’d love to get your thoughts.
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