“There are a couple of crucial judgments which will be made individually by each and every NBA team that will play a huge role in where Evans' draft stock ultimately lies. The first would be his likely position at the next level, point guard or shooting guard. The second would be whether he projects as a starter or backup at that position. The third would be whether he fits into what that team already possesses in terms of ball-handlers and outside shooters, as Evans clearly won't fit into every system. It would be very difficult to play him alongside another guard who is also not much of a threat from beyond the arc, as that would make things very easy on the defense. With the right teammates, though, and in a sparkplug/instant offense role, Evans could be very effective.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/19/2009
Roughly a year ago, we saw Evans as a player who possessed a great deal of potential as a multi-talent guard, but also as one who would need to land in the right situation to be successful. Some would say that we grossly underrated the talent he showed, which is a probably a fair assessment to make.
Showing considerable improvement during his single season at Memphis, Evans’ inefficient scoring, inability to make perimeter shots and turnover problems regardless left us with questions about where he would fit in with the team that drafted him and what it would take for that franchise to accommodate his learning curve.
When the Kings selected Evans with the 4th selection in the 2009 draft, their roster seemed to possess many of the qualities needed to foster his short-term and long-term success. A rebuilding franchise desperate for a major building block, Sacramento brought Evans on board to play heavy minutes and complement de-facto franchise player Kevin Martin, who despite recent injury problems, has been one of the most efficient scoring threats in the NBA for the past few years.
Lacking a dynamic, ball-dominant perimeter threat or a post-player that would demand consistent touches, Evans stepped into a situation where he would have free reign to utilize his physical tools and shot creating ability to score first and distribute second, much like he did under John Calipari. Similar to Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee, Tyreke Evans couldn’t have landed in a better situation to both nurture his style of play and make an immediate splash.
With Kevin Martin missing the lion-share of the season and subsequently getting dealt to the Houston Rockets, Evans has functioned as the first-option for the 16-33 Kings. Though he hasn’t been able to lead his team to many wins, and wasn’t quite the fit next to Martin that Sacramento probably hoped he would be, Evans has been Head Coach Paul Westphal’s most productive contributor all season long. His scoring efficiency is right on par with where it was during his college days, and he’s improved as a playmaker since the season began.
Based on the questions that we had about where Evans would fit in for whatever team drafted him, it is safe to say that he’s exceeded expectations and then some. He’s translated his game to the NBA seamlessly. Though he may not be having quite as tremendous an individual season on a more competitive team, there is no doubt that Evans has displayed the tools necessary to become an outstanding pro for years to come. Already enjoying superstar status in Sacramento, it will be interesting to see how this success affects his development in coming season.
Part Two: Shot Creating Ability
“It's pretty obvious what Evans offers as a prospect, as he's one of the premier shot-creators in the country, despite being only 19 years old. His combination of strength, aggressiveness and scoring instincts is almost unparalleled at this level, and should translate to the NBA level effectively when you consider his terrific footwork, body control, and hesitation moves. He does an excellent job pushing the ball up the floor in transition, can create (and finish) with either hand almost equally as well, and is an absolute bulldozer slashing his way through the paint and creating contact at the rim. While not an incredible leaper, Evans knows how to get to the free throw line, which helps minimize the fact that he's not an incredible finisher percentage wise (just 50%).”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/19/2009
In analyzing Evans last season, we saw a player who had a very clearly defined value proposition at the NBA level. We fully expected Evans to enjoy a great deal of success creating shots against better competition, but he’s been even more effective than advertised. Not only has Evans proven time and time again that he can get to the rim against just about anyone with his blend of scoring instincts and physical tools, he’s become even more proficient at exploiting the opportunities that he creates.
According to Synergy Sports Technology, 34% of Evans’ offensive possessions this season have come in one-on-one situations –the fourth largest percentage league-wide. Last season at Memphis, Evans finished a meager 27.8% of his isolation plays, a far cry from the 41.3% he’s shooting on such attempt this season. Evans certainly has benefitted from NBA’s improved spacing and tightly scrutinized hand-checking rules, as his hesitation moves, ability to explode through driving lanes, and imposing size and strength for a guard make him even more difficult to keep away from the lane and off the line than he was during his time in Memphis.
In addition to translating many of the things he was already good at to the NBA level, Evans has also made some subtle progress in his approach to creating his own shot. In his college days, he was prone to simply making a move and attacking immediately, and while that was consistent with what John Calipari wanted out of his dribble-drive offense, it didn’t afford Evans the opportunity to be terribly selective given his aggressive nature.
A few months into his rookie year, Evans has started to show the patience and timing that is common amongst great one-on-one scorers. Poised enough to wait for traffic to clear out of the lane and seeming more willing to wait for the right opportunity instead of taking the first shot offered to him, Evans’ outstanding shiftiness with the ball and body control at the rim have made him one of the game’s most formidable young scorers. As he begins to get more comfortable in his own skin and carves out a more clearly defined niche, Evans’ progress this season should become more pronounced as Sacramento rebuilds.
Part Three: Perimeter Scoring
“On the offensive end, Evans has spent many possessions over-dribbling the ball, as is his mantra. In isolation situations, he's extremely prone to settle rather than challenging his man, often choosing to pull up for contested, fadeaway jumpers that have gone in very sporadically thus far this season, as evidenced by his poor three-point shooting percentage. Evans' form is very reminiscent of Lebron James', with the constant fadeaway motion, however Evans doesn't have the consistent mechanics of James, not always holding his follow through and often just looking very sloppy in his mechanics. He's a very talented shooter, something we've seen firsthand in the past, but the results haven't come at the collegiate level yet, and his shot selection certainly has something to do with that.”
-Evaluating the NCAA Freshman Class 12/24/2008
“With his poor shooting mechanics (he fades away unnecessarily on every attempt) Evans is very streaky with his feet set in catch and shoot situations, and downright dreadful shooting the ball off the dribble. He only converts a dismal 25% of his jump-shots according to Synergy Sports Technology, but the problem is that he settles for them on a regular basis—they make up about 40% of his possessions, often with a hand in his face and early in the shot clock no less. While his skill-set may develop in time, Evans' mentality looks extremely questionable—it's hard not to come away with the impression that he's a pretty selfish player. He's likely going to have to revamp his shooting stroke entirely if he's to ever become even a decent threat from the NBA 3-point line, something he's been unwilling to do up until this point.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/19/2009
Evans’ biggest weakness remains his perimeter shooting stroke. Fading away naturally on every one of his attempts, the prolific young guard hurts his efficiency every time he settles for a deep jumper. While it would be easy to write off Evans’ poor shooting mechanics because of how productive he’s proven to be in spite of them as rookie, one has to wonder just how good Evans could be if he revamped his shooting form to become a legitimate catch and shoot threat.
As it stands, his spot up game is the most problematic byproduct of his poor shooting form. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Evans makes just 18.2% of his unguarded catch and shoot jumpers, yielding just 0.48 points per-possession and ranking him in the 2nd percentile League-wide. While he fares slightly better with a hand in his face, opposing defenses don’t have to respect his range. Evans struggles to draw iron at times, looking confident, but simply lacking the mechanics to get the job done. His long, slow release lacks rhythm, and his willingness to take nearly 2 three-pointers a game despite making just over a quarter of them indicates how poor his shot selection still is. Playing for a team out of the playoff picture this season, Evans has had a long leash that may need to become shorter in time if his team is serious about winning games.
While the news on Evans’ jumper certainly isn’t good, it is not all bad either. He’s actually improved his shooting off the dribble. Last time we checked in on Evans, he was making a dismal 25% of his pull up jumpers at the NCAA level. He’s made 31.5% of such attempts as an NBA rookie, showing a degree of natural shot making ability that allows him to overcome his poor mechanics on occasion. Despite that improvement, Evans’ perimeter shot still needs a major overhaul, as his upside would be completely different if he was a threat to hit shots from beyond the arc.
As it stands, opposing teams have no qualms whatsoever about going underneath screens on every pick and roll play Evans is involved in, which puts his team at a major disadvantage. This issue would be magnified significantly if the Kings were a more competitive team that necessitated opponents executing higher-level advance scouting and game-planning in order to defeat them—for example in a playoff series. His development in this area will also have implications on his ability to function next to another talented ball-handling guard in Sacramento’s back-court.
Part Four: Playmaking and Position
“As one of Memphis' primary ball-handlers, Evans has shown some prowess as a shot creator, though not what one would call a point guard just yet. With excellent vision and skills, Evans makes some outstanding plays with the ball, finding his man on the pick-and-roll and in transition, but he's very much a shoot-first player, and his decision-making is nowhere near where his court vision is, as evidenced by his 3.8 turnovers per game, second amongst all freshmen thus far. His ball-handling skills have looked a bit shaky at times, something we’ll have to take a closer look at as the season moves on.”
-Evaluating the NCAA Freshman Class 12/24/2008
“As a point guard, Evans has been mostly a mixed bag. On one hand, he obviously possesses excellent basketball instincts and has a great sense for making plays for himself and others. Memphis is running a lot more pick and roll than they did last season, and Evans shows great potential in this area. The problem is that he's an incredibly ball-dominant point guard, often looking like a fish out of water when he's forced to give up the rock for more than a few seconds. Memphis' offense often looks quite stagnant, with Evans over-dribbling the ball at the top of the key as his four teammates stand around and twiddle their thumbs. He can be pretty sloppy with the ball at times, displaying questionable decision-making skills and incredibly poor shot-selection, which wouldn't be as much of an issue if he was able to make shots at a respectable rate from the perimeter.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/19/2009
Much of what we saw out of Evans in the NCAA has remained consistent through his first season in the NBA. He’s turnover prone, lacks ideal decision-making, but is simply too dynamic off the dribble not to create looks for his teammates. Though many of the qualitative aspects of our evaluation remain true, they simply haven’t mattered nearly as much as we thought they would. At the same time, Evans has improved his efficiency considerably, which has made this much less of an issue. After posting an assist to turnover ratio of just 1.08 last season, Evans’ questionable decision making off the dribble led many to question what position he should play at the next level.
At this point, Evans’ position is largely irrelevant –the Kings aren’t fighting for a spot in the playoffs and may not be for some time. He’s improved his assist to turnover ratio to 1.86 –an impressive development from last season, but still not ideal. As it stands, Evans’ playmaking ability resembles that of two guards like Dwyane Wade more than it does Tony Parker-like players due to the manner in which he creates looks for others.
Evans does not do most of his playmaking in the framework of Sacramento’s offense. While he’s able to thread passes to cutters on occasion thanks to his size, he doesn’t orchestrate sets to create open looks for his teammates. Rather, his ability to create his own shot and subsequently draw additional defenders creates the vast majority of his assist opportunities, whether they come on drive and kicks in half court sets or on dump-off passes in transition. Evans is capable of hitting the open man, but is looking to score first and pass second. The sheer amount of time that the ball is in his hands and the number of occasions he takes the ball to the rim guarantees him a degree of success as a playmaker, and to his credit, he’s done a better job recognizing when to give the ball up as the season has gone on. That’s not necessarily a knock against Evans—that’s just the way today’s NBA works.
As Sacramento begins to build a competitive roster, they’ll need to accommodate the fact that Evans requires a lot of touches. As the anointed superstar of a struggling franchise desperate for a savior, he’s been able to get away with many things that other players wouldn’t be able to. The fact that he ranks amongst the top 20 players in the NBA in both turnovers and assists speaks to his natural ability to put pressure on the defense and find the open man as well as his occasional carelessness with the ball.
With personnel shifting around him in coming seasons, Evans will no doubt have to make some adjustments to his game to help the Kings become more competitive. Whether that means developing more discipline and a better grasp of the offense to run the point more efficiently like Russell Westbrook has in Oklahoma City, or focusing on scoring and cutting back on his turnovers remains to be seen. Either way, is only 20 years old, so time is clearly on his side.
Part Five: Defense
“On the defensive end, Evans is an outstanding weapon, pulling in 2.5 steals per game, but he does much of it at the expense of individual defense. Possessing solid athleticism, Evans flies all over the court on this end, at times over-pursuing and at times making plays that lead to the easiest of transition baskets. In man-to-man defense, he shows strong lateral quickness but a very inconsistent stance, gambling frequently and often giving up positioning. Despite this, he is usually able to recover when he tries against his competition, just because his change-of-direction abilities and lateral quickness are so good.”
-Evaluating the NCAA Freshman Class 12/24/2008
“Defensively, Evans has gotten better as the season has moved on, particularly on the ball. His terrific wingspan helps him tremendously in terms of contesting shots on the perimeter, and his excellent knack for getting in the passing lanes makes him a true nuisance with the way Memphis likes to press. Evans loses his focus from time to time in the half-court and tends to get out of his stance, also not doing a great job fighting through ball-screens. His potential on this end is impressive, though, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him be able to defend both guard positions in the NBA when it's all said and done.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/19/2009
The inconsistency we saw out of Evans during his single collegiate season still characterizes his NBA game on the defensive end pretty accurately. Evans does a solid job in certain scenarios, but still gambles unnecessarily, puts himself out of position, and doesn’t always appear as intense as he could be. His length and quickness allow him to come up with a respectable 1.5 steals per-game, but many of them come at the expense of team defensive principles and are the result of bad habits.
One of the more problematic tendencies Evans has is the way he gives up on plays to reach. Evans shows a lackadaisical stance when closing out shooters, and when they take him off the dribble, he prefers to try to reach around and use his length to poke the ball away from behind over attempting to get back in the play. At times, it almost seems as though he tries to set his man up to take that risk, putting extra pressure on his teammates to rotate over and deny his man’s penetration. That might be OK if he had Dwight Howard or Marcus Camby behind him, but unfortunately for Evans he has Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson instead.
Evans certainly has some work to do on his fundamentals when closing out, and his defense off the ball is equally as problematic. He tends to stare down the ball, losing his man entirely on the weakside and sitting in the key, which helps his rebounding numbers to an extent, but is something he’ll need to be better about in the future.
Considered the star of his team, and only a rookie at that, Evans gets the benefit of the doubt on most occasions, but he’ll need to maintain his motivation and make the subtle improvements that will help take his game to the next level.
Evans’ flashes of brilliance defensively speak to what he could become if he were to hone his craft. In isolation situations, Evans’ devastating combination of size, length and strength allows him to be effective when contesting shots even when he isn’t showing great intensity, but he also shows the ability to stifle his man and fight through screens with ease when he takes things personally. Highly inconsistent with his energy level, Evans has the lateral quickness and size to not just defend but actually shut down either guard position, but takes possessions off too frequently to exploit his defensive tools regularly.
Looking at what Evans has accomplished this season based on where we saw him last spring, he likely qualifies as the most pleasant surprise of this year’s rookie class. He showed immense upside as a prospect, but his 20, 5, and 5 averages place him amongst the most prolific rookie guards we’ve seen in years, regardless of team situation. Considering the glaring holes that remain in Evans’ game, it isn’t inconceivable to think that he can get substantially better if he takes it upon himself to improve on his weaknesses, which is a pretty scary thought. Already considered something of a franchise player, Evans will need to see through his instant success and accolades to realize how much better he can still become. [Read Full Article] NBA Draft Media Day Video Interviews June 25, 2009
[Read Full Article] NBA Draft Media Day Interview Transcripts (Part One) June 25, 2009 Reporter: Are you more of a point guard of a two at the next level?
Tyreke Evans: That’s a question I get a lot and I don’t even really know myself. I think I’ll be both to be honest, I think I’m a basketball player.
Reporter: Did Coach Calipari’s decision to leave for Kentucky effect your decision to come out after one season? Would have returned if he had come back?
TE: If he had come back I think I might have stayed, but I’m not sure. I would have put my name in and see what I would have learned. If it wasn’t looking good I would have come back and probably stayed another year.
TE: Yea, he was my favorite player growing up when he was with the Magic. I got to speak to him a lot when I was down at Memphis.
Reporter: How did he help you?
TE: When I was struggling he told me to keep my head up and he worked out with me a couple of times in the gym. He’s just a great guy.
Reporter: How did that turn you around?
TE: It did a lot for me. It got my confidence back because at the beginning of the season I was kind of down on myself, but he kept working me out along with Coach Strickland and I improved a lot since then.
Reporter: You worked out twice in Sacramento, once in a group and once by yourself. Give a sense of what those workouts were like for you.
TE: I think they went great. I knocked down shots when I was working out by myself in the first workout. In the second one I was able to show my strength and my length working against the other guards that were there. I think the GM was real impressed.
Reporter: You’re on a short list of guys that they are looking at with the number four pick, how do you think you compare to the other guys on that list?
TE: I think I did well; there were a lot of guards there. That was a good group of guys for sure, but I think I did well.
Reporter: You have more size than some of the other guys being looked at in that spot and you probably have a more NBA-ready body. How do you think that is going to propel your game to the next level?
TE: I know the NBA is a man’s game; there are a lot of strong players out there. I think I’m on my way to getting ready for that. When I get to whatever team that takes me, I’m going to get in the gym and get some more weight on me; I’ll be good.
Reporter: Sacramento has a young team right now. Is that something that is appealing to you because you can come in and make a big impact on this team?
TE: Sure, I think I can bring a lot to a team right away. It would be Kevin Martin and I, a couple of big guards in the backcourt and I think that would be a good thing.
DraftExpress: What have you been hearing from the Kings?
TE: They’ve been looking at me a lot. I heard that Memphis has been looking at me; I’ve been hearing a lot of good news so I’m pretty happy.
DX: It seems like the Kings are targeting a guy who can provide leadership and help change the team culture, do you feel like you can do that right off the bat?
TE: Definitely; while at Memphis I was a point guard and helped to be a leader in the locker room, I would speak out for the team. I think I can come in and do that.
DX: Minnesota acquiring that second pick, is that good for you? Do you feel like you can play there?
TE: I definitely do; I worked out for them and they liked my size and my ability to create and make people better.
DX: One GM told us from your workout that you were the Ron Artest of this point guard class. Do you take that as a complement?
TE: I mean I can see that. From the workout I was bullying other players out of the way who weren’t strong enough, so I can see that as being a way to describe me. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
[Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: This Year's Point Guard Crop May 8, 2009 Tyreke Evans has the scoring tools to be productive, but needs to improve his perimeter arsenal to be efficient.
Evans was the top player on our list in possessions used per game as a finisher at 8.8, and his PPP of 1.14 lands him a bit above average. Unfortunately, his overall PPP was .88, which lands him slightly below average and exposes the biggest weakness in his offensive game: his jump shot. His PPP in open catch and shoot situations was a paltry .86. Couple that with only .69 PPP on jump shots off the dribble, and it becomes abundantly obvious that Evans is far from a complete package offensively. His PPP of .54 on isolations is a bit disconcerting as well, but it shows that he’s opportunistic enough to find his way to the rim in other situations, while also displaying his tendency to force the issue in one on one opportunities. Getting fouled at an average rate and not being too turnover prone, whichever team drafts Evans needs to take the time to develop his jumper to help the transition of his dribble-drive game to the NBA. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/19/09 February 19, 2009 A mid-season position change that seems to have changed the complexion of his team's season is certainly a good enough reason to revisit the topic of one of the NCAA's most talented freshman. Tyreke Evans was asked to handle the point guard duties for Memphis full-time after a home loss to Syracuse that dropped his team out the top-25 for the first time in over three years, and his team is undefeated since. They are currently ranked 5th overall in the nation, and Evans in turn is gaining steam for being awarded national freshman of the year honors.
It's not quite clear why analysts (or his coaching staff for that matter) are so surprised at the success he's found at the point—it was after all the only position we've ever saw him play from watching him in high school, prep school and the AAU circuit over the last three years. Clearly he is not “learning the position from scratch” like many have suggested.
Playing on the ball full-time, Evans has improved his efficiency while developing into the #1 scorer in this freshman class—putting up a terrific 23 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted. He also ranks as one of the top rebounding guards in college basketball, pulling down over 7 per-40, and is also one of the top ball-thieves at 3.1 steals per-40. His productivity in those categories is terrific all things considered. The problem is that he's almost amongst the NCAA leaders in field goal attempts and turnovers (at a dismal 4.5 per-40), highlighting one of his biggest flaws—his shoot-first mentality.
It's pretty obvious what Evans offers as a prospect, as he's one of the premier shot-creators in the country, despite being only 19 years old. His combination of strength, aggressiveness and scoring instincts is almost unparalleled at this level, and should translate to the NBA level effectively when you consider his terrific footwork, body control, and hesitation moves. He does an excellent job pushing the ball up the floor in transition, can create (and finish) with either hand almost equally as well, and is an absolute bulldozer slashing his way through the paint and creating contact at the rim. While not an incredible leaper, Evans knows how to get to the free throw line, which helps minimize the fact that he's not an incredible finisher percentage wise (just 50%). He's also become pretty effective at finding teammates off the dribble, which has helped him rack up a decent amount of assists.
Defensively, Evans has gotten better as the season has moved on, particularly on the ball. His terrific wingspan helps him tremendously in terms of contesting shots on the perimeter, and his excellent knack for getting in the passing lanes makes him a true nuisance with the way Memphis likes to press. Evans loses his focus from time to time in the half-court and tends to get out of his stance, also not doing a great job fighting through ball-screens. His potential on this end is impressive, though, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him be able to defend both guard positions in the NBA when it's all said and done.
As a point guard, Evans has been mostly a mixed bag. On one hand, he obviously possesses excellent basketball instincts and has a great sense for making plays for himself and others. Memphis is running a lot more pick and roll than they did last season, and Evans shows great potential in this area. The problem is that he's an incredibly ball-dominant point guard, often looking like a fish out of water when he's forced to give up the rock for more than a few seconds. Memphis' offense often looks quite stagnant, with Evans over-dribbling the ball at the top of the key as his four teammates stand around and twiddle their thumbs. He can be pretty sloppy with the ball at times, displaying questionable decision-making skills and incredibly poor shot-selection, which wouldn't be as much of an issue if he was able to make shots at a respectable rate from the perimeter.
With his poor shooting mechanics (he fades away unnecessarily on every attempt) Evans is very streaky with his feet set in catch and shoot situations, and downright dreadful shooting the ball off the dribble. He only converts a dismal 25% of his jump-shots according to Synergy Sports Technology, but the problem is that he settles for them on a regular basis—they make up about 40% of his possessions, often with a hand in his face and early in the shot clock no less. While his skill-set may develop in time, Evans' mentality looks extremely questionable—it's hard not to come away with the impression that he's a pretty selfish player. He's likely going to have to revamp his shooting stroke entirely if he's to ever become even a decent threat from the NBA 3-point line, something he's been unwilling to do up until this point.
There a couple of crucial judgments which will be made individually by each and every NBA team that will play a huge role in where Evans' draft stock ultimately lies. The first would be his likely position at the next level, point guard or shooting guard. The second would be whether he projects as a starter or backup at that position. The third would be whether he fits into what that team already possesses in terms of ball-handlers and outside shooters, as Evans clearly won't fit into every system. It would be very difficult to play him alongside another guard who is also not much of a threat from beyond the arc, as that would make things very easy on the defense. With the right teammates, though, and in a sparkplug/instant offense role, Evans could be very effective.
If Memphis is able to go on a deep run into the tournament, it wouldn't be shocking at all to see Evans' stock rise dramatically when it's all said and done. [Read Full Article] Evaluating the NCAA Freshman Class December 24, 2008 One of the most talented and highly touted players in this freshman class, Tyreke Evans' college career hasn't gotten off to the best start. Despite putting up strong production across the board (1st on team in points and steals, 2nd in assists, 3rd in rebounds), Evans' inefficiency has been incredibly alarming, with a TS% of 47%, second worst in his class among players with 20 minutes or more. Also, his worst shooting nights on the season (a combined 14-for-49) came in Memphis' three matchups with ranked opponents, all for losses.
Looking back at some of the scouting reports on Evans compiled on this website, the concerns with Evans' game have been well-known for some time. Despite being an outstanding athlete with excellent skills, there have always been red flags about how Evans would convert those abilities into a productive team player.
On the offensive end, Evans has spent many possessions over-dribbling the ball, as is his mantra. In isolation situations, he's extremely prone to settle rather than challenging his man, often choosing to pull up for contested, fadeaway jumpers that have gone in very sporadically thus far this season, as evidenced by his poor three-point shooting percentage. Evans' form is very reminiscent of Lebron James', with the constant fadeaway motion, however Evans doesn't have the consistent mechanics of James, not always holding his follow through and often just looking very sloppy in his mechanics. He's a very talented shooter, something we've seen firsthand in the past, but the results haven't come at the collegiate level yet, and his shot selection certainly has something to do with that.
When putting the ball on the floor, Evans has a great first step and a very high top speed with the ball, while he's also able to adjust around the rim, finish with either hand, and make creative finishes that take advantage of his excellent athleticism. He hasn't gone to this quite as much as he should, however, and when he does, he's prone to forcing shots against multiple defenders, pulling up in the middle of the lane for unbalanced, contested floaters that don't appear to be put up with much concentration.
As one of Memphis' primary ball-handlers, Evans has shown some prowess as a shot creator, though not what one would call a point guard just yet. With excellent vision and skills, Evans makes some outstanding plays with the ball, finding his man on the pick-and-roll and in transition, but he's very much a shoot-first player, and his decision-making is nowhere near where his court vision is, as evidenced by his 3.8 turnovers per game, second amongst all freshman thus far. His ball-handling skills have looked a bit shaky at times, something we'll have to take a closer look at as the season moves on.
On the defensive end, Evans is an outstanding weapon, pulling in 2.5 steals per game, but he does much of it at the expense of individual defense. Possessing solid athleticism, Evans flies all over the court on this end, at times over-pursuing and at times making plays that lead to the easiest of transition baskets. In man-to-man defense, he shows strong lateral quickness but a very inconsistent stance, gambling frequently and often giving up positioning. Despite this, he is usually able to recover when he tries against his competition, just because his change-of-direction abilities and lateral quickness are so good.
Looking forward, its clear Evans is an extremely talented player, but one who has much work to do to refine his game. It's definitely too early to make any finite judgments, given that Evans is still adjusting to the collegiate game and a new offensive system, but the habits he shows on the floor have been a consistent trend over the past few years.
In terms of skills and physical attributes, there isn't much Evans doesn't possess, but it's always been about how he applies them all to the game. He has an excellent coach at Memphis, playing in a system tailored to his skills and style of play, so he should have plenty of opportunities to improve over the next few months. However at the rate he's going thus far, one-and-done isn't looking like the best option, especially given his potential if he can improve his decision-making and take his game to the next level. [Read Full Article] Jordan Brand Classic Games (Day Three) April 20, 2008 the story of the White Team was very much Tyreke Evans, who disappointed everyone in attendance, especially those who were so encouraged by his unselfish, balanced, and highly effective play during the practices and scrimmage earlier in the week. Despite being the game's MVP while scoring 23 points (8-15 FG, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 7 rebounds, 25 minutes) Evans frequently over-dribbled and forced his own shots, ignoring his teammates for large stretches and earning groans from many of those in attendance. When you get past the incredibly selfish style of play he took on here, which has been characteristic of him through much of his high school career, there is quite a lot to be pleased about with his game, as he's definitely one of the most athletic and skilled players in this class, showing the total package that you'd want from a shooting guard, even showing the capability to play the point guard as well. Evans frequently penetrated into the lane going in either direction, showed the ability to change hands while driving and finish with either hand at the basket, showed excellent creativity at the rim, showed nice touch at the basket, and excellent body control in the lane. The more you watch him, the more you can see how his skill-set is perfectly suited for the Memphis system, but you just hope that his play style will catch up to his skill level. Evans had some success with his pull-up jumper, but was inconsistent and had some troubles at times, which is expected with his unorthodox mechanics. And for all the criticism about his selfishness in terms of dominating the ball, he did make some nice drive-and-dish plays in the game. [Read Full Article] Jordan Brand Classic Scrimmage (Day Two) April 19, 2008 On the Red/White Team, Tyreke Evans was the story once again, as he continues to show just how talented and versatile a player he is, and how his game is absolutely tailor made for the Memphis system. He ran the point for his team once again when he was on the floor, driving and dishing, setting up teammates, and showing his ability to penetrate to the basket, change directions, and move the ball from one hand to another while in mid air, making him an exceptional finish at the rim. He also hit one pull-up three-pointer, with his strange but effective mechanics, though he didn’t hit on his other attempts from deep. [Read Full Article] Nike Hoop Summit Recap: Team USA April 16, 2008 Evans displayed an impressive ability to put the ball in the hoop during the week, but really must focus on improving his shot-selection in the future. He has a great first step taking players off the dribble, and finishes very effectively at the rim, showing the ability to take contact against bigger players in the paint. Though he finished the game just 3 of 13 from the field, Evans had a number of lay-ups that just barely rolled off the rim, and could have easily gone in the hoop. Though he didn’t take too many long range shots during the game, he has a nice stroke when set with range extending out to the college three point line. Shooting off the dribble will need to be an area of focus for Evans in college, as he tends to fade away excessively, which hurts his accuracy at times.
At this point in his career, Tyreke Evans appears to be a pure scorer, who has some play-making skills, but lacks the decision-making ability to play at the point guard slot. He lacks ideal size to play the two in the NBA, so he must really focus on becoming more of a team-oriented player. Evans also possesses the tools to become a very effective defender, but he must focus on his focus, effort and fundamentals on this end of the floor.
Right now, Evans projects as a combo-guard, and the Jamaal Crawford comparisons have already started. He can break down the defense and find the open man once the defense collapses, but his draft stock may hinge on his ability to make plays for others and do other things on the floor except being a high volume scorer. [Read Full Article] Pittsburgh High School Classic Recap January 29, 2008 Evans (#4 Scout, #6 Rivals) battled foul trouble the entire game, only playing 10 minutes total in American Christian's overtime loss to Notre Dame Prep. He never seemed to get in much of a groove in his time out on the court, only playing a minute or two at a time before picking up another foul and being yanked from the game. The physical package that Evans offers is hard to miss. A legit 6'5 with long arms and a sturdy frame, he already boasts the body of an ideal NBA point guard prospect. He showed off his blinding first step a few times in his limited playing time Sunday, proving to be equally quick going both left and right.
In the half court, the Philly native played his patented ball-dominant style of play. Holding the ball at the top of the key while his teammates stood and watched, it was difficult for the other American Christian players to get comfortable with their star guard controlling the rock. This also allowed the Notre Dame defenders to focus in on him, rotating in the key to draw two charges. Once Evans went out, there was noticeably more continuity amongst his teammates, with fellow guards Lamont Jones and Jeremiah Kelly exploding for monster games in their own right.
The effortless jump-shot, fancy ball handling, and super quick spin-moves that Evans boasts were all on display in his limited time on the floor. He made the game look like it was in slow motion at times, picking and choosing when he wanted to snap back to full speed.
Unfortunately for Evans, that didn't apply to the defensive end. He picked up a few cheap fouls in situations where he didn’t need to reach for the ball. The physical attributes are there for him to be an adequate defender down the line, but he doesn't seem too concerned with exerting much effort on that end of the floor for the time being.
Overall, it just seemed to be an off night for Tyreke. Obviously this below par showing does not change the fact that he has just as much (if not more) upside then any guard prospect in this class. Currently Memphis, Louisville, UCONN, Villanova, Seton Hall and Texas are in the running for his services. Many feel that Calipari's ability to get players to the next level (along with the influence of mutual friend William Wesley) will be enough to take Evans to Memphis next season. No matter where he lands, though, he will make an immediate impact and will likely have the opportunity to take his game to the NBA after a year in the college ranks. [Read Full Article] National High School Hoops Festival Recap December 14, 2007 There was no doubt about who the marquee name was at Henry Wise Jr. High School this weekend. Evans’s face could be seen everywhere on flyers and programs for the weekend’s festivities. Despite all of the hype, which is clearly deserved, Evans did not have his strongest showing in his match up with the loaded Patterson School . From the opening tip, nearly every time Evans touched the basketball he was hounded by defenders and often found himself double-teamed. Even with his NBA caliber frame, he still found himself struggling at points during the game to get his offense going.
In the first half Evans stuck with his strongest weapon, which is his ability to drive to the basket. On his second possession, just a few minutes into the contest, he brought the crowd to its feet with a phenomenal drive and finish. After beating his man off the dribble from the top of the key, Evans was bumped in midair by another defender, turned his back to the basket and flipped a shot up over his head that banked in. While it looked like he was going to put on another scoring display, that would be one of few big plays for Evans. He was unable to get many other shots off for the rest of the first half, mainly due to the defenses’ inability to stop fouling him. Evans has a tremendous first step, which gave his opponents fits, and he earned himself several trips to the foul line.
At the start of the second half Evans showed off his range by knocking down a pair of pull up three pointers. He has consistent form, and even though he brings the ball behind his head, that style of shooting works for him. From that point on, though, Evans’ shots stopped falling for him. Most of his touches for the rest of the game, including an overtime period, resulted in forced shots from the perimeter.
While he may not have been exhibiting his usual scoring prowess, Evans did show off some of his point guard skills. He has tremendous ball-handling skills, and while there have been questions as to how much of a team player he is at times, in this particular game Evans did a nice job of finding teammates for open looks around the basket.
Even in a game in which he was less than spectacular; Evans still showed that he is a tremendous talent with loads of potential. He is the type of player that as a freshman can step in right away and have a major impact for whichever team he eventually decides to sign with. Even further down the road, if he continues to develop his skills, he could become a very solid pro player. [Read Full Article] National Prep Showcase: Day Three November 20, 2007 With all the big boys in attendance (North Carolina, Louisville, UConn, Texas, Villanova, Seton Hall, Memphis’ John Calipari, Reebok’s Chris Rivers behind the bench, others), Tyreke Evans played up to the hype by putting on a great show for all those in attendance. He displayed his credentials as both a top collegiate recruit as well as a extremely interesting NBA draft prospect, in his lone game here at the National Prep Showcase (he sat out the second with an injury).
Standing 6-5, Evans has the physical profile down pat. He owns an NBA caliber frame, a great wingspan, and possesses all the athleticism you could ask for in a guard prospect, and then some. He’s got an incredibly powerful first step, outstanding body control weaving in and out of the lane, and the explosiveness needed to finish strong around the basket with either hand. He finds and exploits creases in the defense much like an NFL halfback would, bursting into the lane going either left or right, and being strong enough to finish through contact. Evans’ team’s offense indeed revolves exclusively around his ability to create his own shot at will, as their only half-court play seemingly was an Isolation for him at the top of the key while the rest of his teammates cleared out.
More than just a slasher, Evans is also an impressive perimeter shooter, showing range that extends beyond the 3-point line, and the ability to swish tough shots impressively off the dribble. He’s got a nice mid-range game as well, being able to create separation instantaneously with a sharp pull-up and difficult fade-away. What’s odd is that he chooses to go to this fade-away move even from stand-still positions, something that will probably need to be corrected at some point, much like LeBron James did.
Evans plays the point guard position exclusively at this level, but there are definitely some adjustments he’ll have to make if he’s to truly achieve his full potential as a playmaker. He’s an incredibly dominant ball-handler, the type of point guard who dribbles the ball the entire possession while looking to score and only gives it up when he’s completely exhausted all other options. He still gets a lot of assists in this manner, since the defense completely collapses around his dribble. He’s not one to participate in a team’s fluid ball movement, and therefore will get a bit wild with the ball at times and make questionable decisions, particularly with his shot selection. Looking at his body language, you can’t help but wonder at times whether he’s more interested in playing for himself and winning style points from the crowd rather than playing winning basketball.
With that said, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible talent that Evans possesses already at this age. He’s clearly got the tools and potential to become an elite talent even at the NBA level, especially if he doesn’t buy into his own hype and continues to make strides with his shot and playmaking skills. It will be very interesting to see which college he chooses. He’s got a lot of schools after him, but from what people here are saying, Louisville and Memphis seem to be the favorites. [Read Full Article] LeBron James Skills Academy Final Day July 14, 2007 People either love or hate Tyreke, but you can’t deny how talented of a player he is. He was able to get to the rim on anyone in camp, often finishing with lay-ups jumping off of the wrong foot, a la Steve Nash. The Philly guard exhibited the vision of a point guard with the size and scoring ability of a shooting guard, making him one of the tougher players in camp to keep in front of. Evans is certainly going to have to improve upon his leadership skills and ability to control the tempo of the game if he hopes to play point guard full time at the next level, but there is no doubt in our minds that he is going to put up huge numbers wherever he lands, with Louisville and Villanova reportedly being the leaders for his services at the moment. [Read Full Article] LeBron James Skills Academy Day Three July 10, 2007 Evans was able to do whatever he wanted on the offensive end of the court, getting to the rim at ease and shooting the lights out of the ball. He did a very good job finding the open man when he had the ball in his hands, as he was able to see over the smaller point guards that the opposing team had to offer. The Philly guard’s handle was extremely tight and he was able to get by any opposing guard thrown at him with his devastating inside out dribble and crossover. He truly showed why he is going to put up big numbers as a freshman in college Sunday in Akron.
On the down side, Evans is one of the more ball dominant guards that there are on the high school level. His style of play is eerily reminiscent of Allen Iverson’s when Iverson is at the point, as Tyreke holds the ball in his hands for a considerable amount of time, drives to the basket, and then passes only if he is unable to score for himself. He has not exhibited the ability to run a team at either the high school or AAU level thus far in his career, something he must improve upon if he hopes to reach his maximum potential at the collegiate level. [Read Full Article] LeBron James Skills Academy Day Two July 7, 2007
In the nightcap, Evans was outstanding scoring the ball and even dishing out a nice amount of assists. His style of play can be a bit frustrating for basketball purists, as he is an Allen Iverson type guard who dominates the ball every time he is out on the floor. Tyreke has the vision necessary to play point guard at the next level, but we are not necessarily sure if he will be able to be outstanding running a team at a bigtime collegiate program. Either way, look for Evans to put up huge numbers wherever he goes as a freshman and bolt to the NBA, if the opportunity presents itself. [Read Full Article] Las Vegas AAU Summer Tournaments: Thoughts from Day Three July 25, 2006 The player hailed by many to be king of the class of 2008 was incredibly disappointing in his matchup with fellow top five member Greg Monroe, scoring only 11 points. It was clear that we were looking at a shooting guard playing the point guard position, as Evans looked to score first and second, then pass third. He showed some very poor shot selection early in the game, but it did improve slightly as the game went on. His selfishness and lack of any type of real feel for the game is pretty concerning when you consider how many Team Final possessions ended with only Evans touching the ball.
It was clear that Tyreke did have some skills, as he showed off a nice outside jumper and was very crafty once he got inside of the paint. It was just unfortunate that a player who is as talented of a scorer as he is is relegated to playing the point guard position when he would be much better suited off of the ball. The Philadelphia sophomore may have won the game against Greg Monroe, but he definitely lost the battle as to who was the number one player in the class of 2008 in our eyes. [Read Full Article]