Let me save you the trouble of understanding my position of a possible Tyreke Evans extension: Hell no. Hell to the effin A without a doubt no. That's how bad Evans has been this season. I bring this up because the excellent Phillip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily and Crossover Chronicles (Bloguin's NBA blog) brought this up at CC yesterday.
Anyone remotely familiar with my opinion of say, oh I don't know, the last 4 months knows how I've felt about Tyreke's season so far. Tyreke Evans has been nothing short or ornery and atrocious, and, honestly, I'm not sure which is more disturbing or offensive. What I do know is both are exceptionally problematic for a franchise that no less than 5 months ago legitimately (with good reason) saw Evans as the franchise player. A lot changes in 5 months apparently. That's how bad Evans has really been.
There are some issues I have with Rossman-Reich's piece, and that's the way it goes sometimes.
I want to point out that Rossman-Reich lives in Orlando. He's an East Coast guy who probably hasn't even seen Tyreke Evans play live this season (unless he was in Miami to watch the Heat-Kings game).
As a result, Rossman-Reich is not a Kings expert. He's not a dummy, nor does he know absolutely "nothing" about the Kings. In a day and age where I could be an expert on the Shanghai Sharks if I really wanted to, and I don't live anywhere near Shanghai or China, the idea that locale matters here about as much as a dollar bill buys you something substantial. Plus, unless you've watched a lot of NBA games involving the Kings (there has been one non NBA TV national telecast), it's hard to exactly give a nuanced opinion of this team. We just live in an age where outlets, on all networks regardless of size, have to create content that suggests some kind of stance on a particular topic.
I bring this up because, if nothing else, the concept of a possible Evans extension seems like Rossman-Reich's piece was a response to Jason Jones piece a few days ago in the Bee wondering about Tyreke still being a star or "the man" on the Kings.
Let me save you time: No. Tyreke Evans is not a star. He's not even an All-Star caliber player, and truthfully it can be questioned whether Tyreke should even start. That's how consistently bad Tyreke Evans has been this season.
I've been on Tyreke Evans wagon a long time, and I've been waiting for the kid to take the next leap. Not only has that next leap not even been had, the next leap hasn't even been contemplated. Actually, if you want the truth, Tyreke Evans has regressed since his rookie year. Something about that year changed Tyreke, and if you want the truth I think the Tyreke we saw then is the Tyreke we see now. It's just the NBA realized that big G's or SF's are the only guys you can defend Tyreke with. It doesn't matter what other guys the Kings run out with Tyreke; you always defend him with a bigger guy because, as of right now anyway, Tyreke doesn't show enough savvy to even be an All-Star caliber performer most nights. Unless the team has no physical specimen to deal with Tyreke, he's automatically flummoxed. Tyreke has no left hand, the worst decision making in the entire NBA (even Monta Ellis isn't that bad; which is saying something in of itself), and loafs so often getting back on defense, and then loafs once back, that the Kings consequently have had among the worst, or have (as of now), the worst defensive FG% given up for the season. Tyreke is a major part of that.
From Jones piece:
"(Evans has) already proven he's a very good player," Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said. "Going forward for his game to continue to grow, he's got to continue to work on areas of his game that need improvement."
Translation: Not happening. Only an idiot would give Tyreke Evans an extension, and while I'm not fond of Geoff Petrie these days, Geoff Petrie isn't THAT stupid. Those days of getting extensions for a decent resume are over. Making Tyreke Evans happy? Who cares, at some point you find that you are unhappy and move him for someone who is sutable and move forward with that player. Tyreke Evans is getting to that point where I'm wondering if the Kings can even co-exist with him.
I've made comparisons in the past of Tyreke Evans to Derrick Coleman --the noted chemistry killer--and frankly it seems very true. Tyreke kills the Kings at 2 ends every game consistently. In fact, his porous defense and decision making on offense cost the Kings anywhere from 30-60 points a night. (Lately it's been closer to 30 but for awhile it was closer. That says a lot for a team with a number of average, at best, defensive players.)
Yet, at the same time, Tyreke Evans leads the Kings in total minutes on the season by a fair amount.
What I think a lot of fans who are saying "no duh" about Tyreke don't realize is that most non-Kings fans and national media members haven't really been paying attention to the Kings where it pertains to Tyreke and why he has regressed. It's been swept under the rug in Sacramento for the most part, and for all the talk about the "adjustments" Tyreke is making, most of that is bunk. There hasn't been an adjustment; it's just that Tyreke can't be worse at SF than he's been at SG and you might get above average production at that SF spot some of the time with Tyreke there. With Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas, you'll get consistent above average production in a number of categories.
On the other hand, Isaiah Thomas and John Salmons have thrived in new roles (Salmons off the bench as the primary ball handler; Thomas as the starting PG) which says a lot. I would have found it unfathomable to contemplate at the start of the season that a rookie PG, who started 4th on the depth chart at G, is now starting because Tyreke Evans decision making is so bad. The Kings struggled to get shots or ball movement with Tyreke because Tyreke pounds the ball so often and jacks up a bad shot to accompany it. It wasn't uncommon to see the Kings with Tyreke walk the ball up the court, stand around and watch nobody move (who knew they weren't getting the ball), and then watch Tyreke put up a poor jump shot that Rajon Rondo would cringe. (Tyreke's mechanics are the real issue with his shot, and, again, that comes back to one simple thing: Understanding of what's important.)
Don't get me wrong; I'm not that upset at Tyreke Evans anymore. It's just that the notion of Tyreke Evans being a star in the NBA is no longer news; that's two to three months ago. It's just that national outlets and non-Kings fans are starting to pick up on that reality now. Or, just as possible, it's likely that a lot of non-Sacramento Kings fans/media had a difficult time projecting Evans with all his difficulties from Evans' time as a rookie when things were going relatively well.
I've heard this before from Tyreke:
Evans plans to be ready for whatever Smart needs him to do next season.
"I've just got to be prepared better for next year," Evans said. "This year coming in has to be a great year."
You've got to be better prepared? Really? Mwahahaha. That's pure comedy gold. Ladies and gentleman, this kind of statement is exactly why Tyreke is not a star in the NBA. Tyreke Evans does not understand what being a star at the NBA level really is, and has only paid lip service to it since coming into the NBA. That's the problem in of itself, and until that changes everything else is essentially pointless to really discuss. Once Tyreke Evans changes his approach, which won't happen for awhile most likely, then we'll talk. Until then, any talk of Evans being a "star" or "the man" is a complete waste of time.
This of course is not anyone on the outside's fault for not watching Tyreke Evans. In fact, I would suspect most NBA media/bloggers/fans with even a reasonable amount of knowledge of the Kings wouldn't be that surprised if Tyreke Evans was not tendered an extension. If anything, it's the last bit of power the Kings have over Tyreke if there is any hope of changing Tyreke's behavior around. You don't reward bad behavior with a max extension; you give young players who are All-Stars (or snubbed) with max extensions for as long as you can get them to sign. If Tyreke Evans applied, this would be a no brainer. Tyreke Evans does not apply, and the only hope that Tyreke could even be an All-Star is if he learns that his approach needs to change starting yesterday.
You can absolutely guarantee that an extension for a young player who has forced personnel decisions based on his inabilities to do basic NBA things (running the offense before 15 seconds for instance--getting back in transition defense for another) from a coaching staff will force an already limited budgeted front office and ownership that has bigger problems than Tyreke Evans to offer Evans the extension he seeks.
Even if the Maloofs were flush with cash, it would be stupid to even remotely consider that Evans is an extension for something more than a long term contract that was maybe 6 or 7 million a season. What's the odds Evans sign that extension? Slim and none, which is why Evans is openly wondering if a new extension is coming.
With DeMarcus Cousins coming up for an extension, who at times plays and acts like an All-Star, you don't take one bullet out of your gun extending Evans for no real reason.