Home » Numbers Never Lie: Tyreke Evans continues to make strides in his game
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Numbers Never Lie: Tyreke Evans continues to make strides in his game

For the second game in a row, Tyreke Evans was an integral part and the catalyst of two Kings comebacks that resulted in wins.

On Thursday evening, March 21, at Sleep Train Arena, the Sacramento Kings toppled the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-98 in front of 12,176 riled up fans.

Make no mistake about it. Ever since the Brothers Maloof’s secret sale became uncovered, the attendance at the ole barn has increased and the fans there are getting louder and louder with their collective “Sac-ra-men-to” and “Here we stay” chants at each game.

The crowd at Sleep Train Arena has increased since the Maloofs decided to sell the team

With Evans’ contract running out at the end of the season – the club does have the right to match any offer for next season – there is lots of speculation and opinion whether he should be resigned.

For anyone that has followed this team since ‘Reke came onboard, the answer should be an easy one.

Yes!

Evans has made many improvements since he’s arrived in town.

From a reporter’s point of view, Evans has gone from a very quiet guy that rarely looked reporters in the eye when answering questions in the locker room after the game, to a guy that looks and speaks directly at you for every query thrown his way.

His quiet demeanor when landing in Sacramento was somewhat misunderstood as arrogance by some. Mostly those who never get a chance to have a real conversation with the guy. Once you do, you realize that he is a little reserved and not cocky at all.

Besides his I-80 speeding incident, Evans has remained out of trouble and in the good graces of the team and fans.

In Tuesday, March 19’s game versus the Clippers, Evans got the team cooking early in the fourth when he became the primary ball handler with Isaiah Thomas on the pine. After hitting four free throws in a row to tie the score at 86 with 8:25 remaining in the game, Evans hit two tough driving layups in a row to really give the Kings the feel that they could win this game.

He really clamped down on Jamal Crawford late in the game, and held him scoreless the last 5:15 of the game.

Evans credited Toney Douglas’ defense as his motivator for clamping down on his man late in the game.

“He’s pressuring at full court and making the guards work,” Evans said. “When I see that, it kind of gets me going to pressure my guy and trying to make him work. We’re just all out there having fun and playing defense. It’s always good to get a win when you’re having fun playing defense.”

In the fourth quarter against the Wolves on Thursday, Evans took over again. With 8:48 left this time, Evans again was the main ball handler throughout the fourth. Evans would then score 9 of the next eleven points to give the Kings a confident margin.

Evans, who scored 11 of his 21 in the final frame, talked about how he stays ready after having such a quiet first three quarters.

“I just stay ready,” Evans said. “It’s a long game – 48 minutes. Every chance I get, I just try and be patient and make the right play. When it’s time to attack, I attack.”

Tyreke Evans drives past Dante Cunningham and through Nikola Pekovic on his way to another bucket

A further look at Evans’ stats fills in more of the picture and shows why he should be a King in the coming years.

His field goal percentage is at 46.8 – the highest in any season so far. He’s shooting 35 percent from three-point land – over five points higher than his previous best. His turnovers are down from three per game in his rookie season to only two each contest this year.

When you delve deeper into some of the more complicated stats, as they say, the numbers never lie. According to Hoopdata.com, he’s at an all-time high in true shooting percentage, percentage of field goals assisted and total rebound rate.

Coach Smart sees the improvement and is trying to put Evans in more successful situations. After taking a bit to accept his new role, Smart says the kid has started to flourish.

“His whole life, he’s been a guy that had the basketball in his hands,” Smart said. “I had to share with him, that what needed from him was defense and developing his shot. He knew it was important for him to do that, but I don’t think he ever really took it serious until this past summer.”

Smart noticed and Evans agreed that early on this year, when the mid-range jumper wasn’t falling, he would resort back to his old form. But neither gave up his shot. And his shot started to come together.

“With his ability to drive the basketball and making those long-range jumpers, it only helped his overall game,” Smart said. “Now, he has the ability to shoot the long shot, drive to the basket and then make plays off the dribble. That’s what a two guard in our league needs to be able to do. He’s done some of those things this year and that’s just the steps he’s making to help solidify our team.”

Both Smart and Evans agree that the only real thing to work on is the mid-range pull-up shot. And when that comes, watch out opposing guards!

“His balance is still not there for that shot, but I think he understands where his spots on the floor are to shoot the long ball,” Smart said. “Having that mid-range pull-up jump shot to now not only with the shot, but also it puts defenses in a decision-making time by saying, do I come to help? If I help, he can drop off the pass.”

So naysayers, still wanna get rid of a truly talented guard that nearly breaks ankles each and every game?

Sure, once or twice a game he turns the ball over while making one of those plays that just takes your breath away.

For my money, no one can drive to the rack like ‘Reke.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF:

RON NABITY

http://www.nabityphotos.com

 

The children’s choir from Wheatland High School sang the National Anthem
Pekovic skies over “Reke in grabbing a rebound
Ricky Rubio has returned from his injury and leads the break for the Wolves
J.J. Barea tries to lay one over the outstretched arm of Chuck Hayes
Toney Douglas pulls up for a short jumper
I’m thinking she bit into a piece of fruit that was a little sour for her taste
DeMarcus Cousins gets past Nikola Pekovic for an easy two
Evans running the wing
Isaiah Thomas being guarded well by Ricky Rubio
Cousins drives past Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko en route to the hoop
Evans pulls up over Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour
In-game entertainment included some young dancers busting their moves
Cousins passing the ball into the interior
Thomas pushes past the defenders
Evans on another run to the hoop
John Salmons – who played a game high 43 minutes plus – pulls up over Alexey Shved

Coach Smart yells out the play
Newcomer Cole Aldrich receives a sweet pass from Evans for an easy lay-in
Cousins and Thomas try and conceal their laughter at something on the court
Salmons looks to drive to the hoop
Thomas going baseline against Rubio
Coach Keith Smart yells out the play from the bench

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