We’re a couple of days removed from the NBA Draft and I thought it was time to let the dust settle and look back over what people/analysts/people who are analysts had to say to see what their reactions were to the selection of Tyreke Evans over Ricky Rubio by the Kings. So here goes, I’ll try to respond to each of the reactions whether they’re negative or positive or a Switzerland-esque neutral.
“4:57: In desperate need of a point guard, Sacramento takes … Tyreke Evans. It’s as if these GMs are trying to hurt me. I feel physically ill.
Tyreke’s weaknesses, according to our ESPN.com Draft Card: “Can be selfish … over-dribbles … lacks consistent range on his jump shot … not a super explosive leaper … poor shot selection.” They left out, “Not a natural point guard,” and “drove a getaway car during a drive-by shooting but was not charged by police.”
4:58: Shaking my head.
4:58: Still shaking my head.
4:58: Bilas loves the pick but says, “He’s a little bit ball-dominant, he needs to have the ball in his hands, and he’s not a good shooter.” Ball-dominant … isn’t that a nice way of calling someone a ball hog? Where is my Jay Bilas Thesaurus?
4:59: Scott on Evans: “His nickname is ‘Hugo’ because he was born during Hurricane Hugo.” That pick was a natural disaster. Literally.”
Now, while I disagree more with Bill Simmons in the past two years than I would have thought I ever would, I’m not one of those guys that bashes whatever he does/writes while secretly waiting for his next article to come out on Page 2. I’m a fan of his and have no problem letting it be known. Despite the fact that he has confused me on many a topic in the past two years doesn’t mean I all of a sudden have to hate him.
With all that said, I once again disagree with Bill Simmons after much thought to the pick. At first, I was right with him because I figured the Kings had let a golden opportunity to get the best point guard in the draft when he should have been off the board. But then I heard Petrie’s comments and Gavin’s comments about wanting to make this team tough and Evans definitely fits into that. I think we can’t judge the pick (Simmons included) until we see how the roster shapes up over the next two years. I think the Kings are building something special here and they grabbed a guy who may not have a set position but could easily be the best player from this draft.
Oh crap, is that what they said about Ben Gordon?
“4. Sacramento Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis Wow. Passing on Ricky Rubio to take Evans? How do we put this? No. No. No. Evans is strong but is unidirectional: He’ll go to his right almost every time. Force him left and give a little help and he’ll be stuck. He is not a great passer or shooter. Unless the Kings are planning to install John Calipari’s “Dribble Drive” offense, they’ve erred with this selection.”
I guess this is the point in which you have to decide how he fits into Paul Westphal’s system. Coach Westphal has stated that they think he can not only play point guard but create huge matchup problems by putting Evans in the post against the smaller guards at times. Evans has a solid post game for a guard and should be able to exploit his size in not only driving to the basket but backing down mice in the house.
Can Evans survive without the “Dribble Drive” offense? That’s going to be the question. He’s going to have to improve his passing skills and look to be more of a distributor when he’s on the court with Kevin Martin but if he continues to work hard, is it out of the question that he could become a problem on the court like Gilbert Arenas is for his opponents? He’s not the shooter than Arenas is but he could get to the basket and finish with the same skill and style as Gil.
They just set themselves up for years of comparison — Tyreke Evans, the pick, vs. Ricky Rubio, the pass — not to mention decades of abuse if it goes bad. But the Kings were not the only team that would have made the same tough call. In fact, there is a good chance they would have taken Jonny Flynn over Rubio at No. 4 had Evans been gone. Point guard was the obvious position problem and point guard was addressed, with Evans and the Sergio Rodriguez trade with the Trail Blazers. Evans is not a natural playmaker, so the risk is obvious.
This may be the most annoying aspect of this draft for the next decade or so — the comparison factor. Think about Carmelo vs. Darko. Think about Durant vs. Oden. To a lesser extent, think about Roy vs. Foye. There are going to be these wild comparisons over every little thing that happens between Rubio and Evans over the next five to ten years of NBA basketball. Luckily for Kings fans, they will most likely get a grace period and the benefit of the doubt if Rubio decides to pout in Europe for a year or two. But if Evans doesn’t come out of the gate hot, the local and national media could really start questioning the move, whether Rubio is stateside or not.
Next up – Chad Ford’s reaction to the pick on ESPN.com:
I thought the Kings ultimately would do the right thing and take Rubio, but instead they take Evans. He’s not a point guard. But he’s a physical combo guard who knows how to get to the rim. He can’t shoot much and isn’t super athletic, but he’s big and strong and he’ll make an impact right away. This was a short-term pick. It will look good early, but I wonder how it will look in five years
Again, this is looking like the Kings are set for the first couple of years of this comparison. But you get the feeling that based on a lot of these reactions, whether people feel like Tyreke can improve as a player at all or perhaps this is as good as he’ll ever be. Personally, I think this is just ridiculous. Guys like Mo Evans and Bobby Jackson taught themselves how to shoot efficiently from outside after they made it to the NBA. Let’s say Tyreke does the same. Can you imagine Tyreke with a 41% three-point shot? If he learns that, how quickly until he’s in the Top 10 in scoring averages and he and Martin are the highest scoring duo in the league?
Next up – John Hollinger has a quick hit on the pick:
I love Tyreke Evans as a player but am incredibly dubious about his ability to play the point and suspect he’ll be a full-time shooting guard within two years.
And this is where it gets dicey again. If Evans can’t learn the point and is soooo good at the shooting guard position, the Kings will have to deal Kevin Martin. If it gets to that point, Martin’s trade value could go down because the Kings will look desperate to unload him. I’m not going into trade possibilities with Martin any time soon. I want to wait and see how he meshes with Evans on the court. But that is a very real possibility that the Kings and their fans should wrap their heads around right now to prepare for the moment that it becomes a real topic of discussion.
Until then, I hope Evans proves the majority of the nay-sayers wrong and comes out as an impossibility to guard on the court.