Yes Tyreke is shooting an icy 35 percent from the field and a vomit-inducing 16 percent from the three point line this season but one area where Evans does excel is defense. Evans [and James Johnson] have combined to form a legitimate nightmare for opposing guards this year.
In the first five games, starting shooting guards are averaging 14 points per game while shooting .419 from the field and 23 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Starting forwards are averaging 9.8 points per game with a 37 percent field goal percentage and a 14 percent three-point shooting percentage. Trade Tyreke now? The best defensive player? Let’s keep those hands away from the panic button.
Placing the blame and pressure on Tyreke solely is a huge mistake by fans and coaches. Thornton will get his, as will Cousins. But Jimmer could shoulder some blame just as Jason Thompson can. Thompson has a huge new contract to live up to and has to ease the scoring load off of Evans. We can't ask Tyreke to be the face of the franchise on a team that features many alpha-pups.
In context Tyreke hasn't been himself since that rookie season. A standout season where he earned the NBA Rookie Of the Year Award and ended up being mentioned in the same company as NBA legend Oscar Robertson.
That isn’t lost on anyone but Tyreke works hard, he’s no slouch. Tyreke spent all of this offseason and the one before it working on his jump-shot with Kings GM Geoff Petrie. You get the feeling Petrie can’t give up on his progeny yet. It’s a promising sign for a promising player.
Tyreke's numbers have remained cool early on. His best game came on Halloween against the Bulls. That night Evans shot 65 percent from the field and finished with a very effective 21 points. Tyreke has also made a concerted effort to get his teammates involved. That’s something that was lacking in last year's selfish play. "He scores, he plays great defense every night for his position. And he's a great teammate," Coach Smart pointed out before tonight's game against the Spurs.
Those are qualities that are rare these days.
Qualities like that deserve a new contract. And slack. And patience. No panic. There’s plenty of time here with a window as big as the Grand Canyon.
We're not the Lakers after all.