According to quantum theory, one can either know where an electron is at a certain point in time or one can know where it is going. At any point in time, it is impossible to know both aspects of an electron's movement. In this post I will delve into the similarities between Tyreke Evans and this specific theory of quantum mechanics.
At one point in time, Tyreke Evans put together a rookie campaign rivaled only by Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and Lebron James. There were clearly differences in Tyreke's ceiling in comparison to Michael Jordan and Lebron James, but that seemed to be the only certainty. "Tyreke can't be as good as Michael Jordan or Lebron James at their best. (Can he?) But his ceiling seems to be anything south of that." Considering Michael Jordan and Lebron James are probably two of the three best wings ("wing" meaning a 2 or a 3 for the purposes of this post) of the past 30 years (and Kobe of course being the other in this conversation), it seemed at the time the Kings had been able to attach their chariot to a star on the rise into NBA greatness.
Even at the time of Evans' 20-5-5 season, there was debate among Kings fans and among the NBA world as to what Evans could be. Was he Brandon Roy? Was he Dwyane Wade? Kobe Bryant? Every time the Kings played a team with an All-Star guard, the following interviews would often lead to each All-Star making some sort of "Yeah, he really reminds me of me" comment, or at least the famous "He's a grown ass man" remark from Kobe Bryant. And yet, some questioned Evans' ability to be a playmaker. Or others even questioned his ability to involve his teammates at all, whispering the deathly "blackhole" remarks in describing his game as it relates to the rest of the team. Still more critics took a magnifying glass to Evans' ability to make a shot that wasn't at the rim. "He can't shoot, can't create, and the ball disappears when he touches the ball. He's a dribble-drive player who doesn't kick out and he can only go to his right," were some of the comments you read. Or at least, that's what you read about Tyreke Evans now that he is in his 3rd season in the NBA.
The truth is that after Evans' 20-5-5 season, everyone wanted to see more from the young guard who was only 20 at the time he completed his first season. Those who believed in his ability expected an All-Star season from him as a 21-year old. Meanwhile the critics wanted to see sustained success and improvement in his 3 key deficiencies. And no one got what they wanted to see. Instead, Kings fans and the league saw a sophomore who was sapped of his explosion and lacked the energy they saw in Evans' rookie season. To compound matters, Evans did not turn in a season with high field goal percentages, he didn't develop a consistent jump shot and he wasn't averaging more than 9 assists per game. Everyone wanted to see a Tyreke Evans who followed the Brandon Roy career arc, building off an electrifying rookie season to improve each following year.
And here we are, halfway through year 3 and Tyreke Evans' per-game numbers are not only static, they are declining. The scouting report is out on Evans. He can't shoot. He can't go to his left. He's not active as a cutter off the ball. And when he gets the ball in his hands, it will probably stay in his hands. So the popular thinking in the league is that Kings had better unhitch their wagon or risk falling to earth in an inglorious blaze of flames and smoke. The probablem with this thinking is that Evan's rookie season rivals almost anything Brandon Roy put up as a pro. What Evans did as a rookie, Roy did as a 3rd-year player. Even Evans' numbers as sophomore and in his 3rd year are better than most. By the way, did I mention Evans is only 22 this year? By the way, did I mention this is a lockout-shortened season with no offseason and a compressed schedule of back to backs and long road trips?
No one is going to deny that Evans has flaws in his game. Ball movement is stagnant a little too much when he has the ball in his hands. He doesn't move as much as a should when the ball isn't in his hands. And the jumper is still ugly. But if the Kings were to actively place Tyreke Evans on the block, I can guarantee Petrie would have to high an extra secretary to take the calls from the other GMs in the league. Evans would be coveted by young teams looking to challenge the convference powerhouses. Veteran contenders would pursue Evans in an effort to put them over the top or extend their run with an infusion of talented youth. But the return offers would be insulting--over-the-hill veterans with large contracts or young players with a ceiling as 3rd or 4th best option on a contender.
Don't get me wrong, if the Celtics call with a trade offer of Rajon Rondo for Tyreke Evans, the Kings would probably be the better for accepting the trade. If the Hawks called with a trade offer of Josh Smith for Tyreke Evans, the Kings would probably improve as a team. But those trades aren't coming. The offers the Kings will get would be like the one that brought Mitch Richmond to the Kings. The trades would be like a Chris Webber trade (take your pick of which one). And the Kings would soon regret their folly.
The truth is that Tryeke Evans is an unknown. When we were scintillized as Kings fans with the 20-5-5 season, we were given the glimpse of Tyreke Evans' potential. The past 100 games have been a glimpse of Tyreke's flaws. At some point down the road, it will become clear as to how these e two issues will reconcile themselves. In the meantime, we have an idea of what Evans has been, we have a fuzzy picture of what he is now, but we have only a promise of what could become. If the Kings trade Evans for pennies on the dollar, they will come out looking like the Warriors of the 90s. And no one wants that.