April 20, 2010
Tyreke Evans: In Good Company
Say the names together: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James... and Tyreke Evans! Evans, the Sacramento Kings rookie, became just the fourth player in the history of the NBA to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in their rookie season. He joins hall of famers Robertson and Jordan as well as reigning MVP (and probably future hall of famer) LeBron in this esteemed list.
This is quite a feat. Evans was taken by the Kings as the fourth pick in the 2010 NBA draft - and he immediately took charge of the rebuilding squad. Finishing with the final averages of 20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 5.8 apg, Evans is also the favourite to be soon named the seasons Rookie of the Year (ROY) award. He will likely beat the Bucks' Brandon Jennings (and his awesome 55 point game explosion) and the Warriors' Stephen Curry (who had an great run to end the season).
Kings head coach Paul Westphal had this to say: "“I don’t think we need the numbers to validate what a great season Tyreke has had. He’s been the most consistent rookie I’ve ever been around. The 20-5-5 is really just icing on the cake for what a complete ballplayer he is and what a mature ballplayer he is. I’m sure it won’t be the last time he achieves all those milestones."
'Reke's detractors are obviously going to bring up two problems with his ROY campaign: 1) his team cooled off and didn't make the playoff and 2) Reke was a ball-hog.
Sure - both criticisms are true - but not true enough to take away from all the positive contribution that he made to the team on and off the floor this season. He's brought back excitement to the Arco Arena, and along with Omri Casspi, Carl Landry, Beno Udrih, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes, he will help to lead an improving young squad in the future.
'Reke has been my favourite rookie all season, and SLAM magazine even compared him to a young LeBron James. But he completely let himself down in the Kings' second-last game of the season against the Rockets: Tyreke shamelessly pursued the 20-5-5 milestone in expense of a victory. The Kings lost by 10 points but still celebrated because Tyreke, who needed 24 points in the game to clinch the record, over-shot the ball, even during crucial stages of the game, and he finally finished with 24 points after taking 23 shots.
Great season Reke; awful ending.