Vivek's Offseason To-Do List: Tyreke Evans

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings have a few decisions to make with regards to re-signing current Kings, but none will be more important than Tyreke Evans.

The Kings seemingly struck gold in the 2009 NBA Draft when they selected Tyreke Evans with the 4th pick. Evans went on to have a historic rookie campaign, one that saw him join Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James as the only rookies to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Evans won the Rookie of the Year and the future looked very bright for the young guard.

As we all know, the promise of that rookie season has not yet been fulfilled. Evans followed it up with an injury plagued sophomore year and a third year that saw him move into a role he was not comfortable with. Last season however, we saw some big improvements from Evans, even if his per game numbers weren't particularly glamorous.

Evans is now entering Free Agency, and the new ownership group will have to make a decision on Evans' future with the Kings quickly. The team can make him a Restricted Free Agent by tendering him a $6.9 million Qualifying Offer which would then give them the right to match any offers Evans might sign with other teams. The Kings can also try to negotiate their own offer and lock Evans up before another team makes the first move. Evans is talented enough that there likely will be other suitors.

First, let's look at what kind of contract Evans might command by looking at the contracts signed by other guards and wings in the past couple years.

  • In 2011 the Kings signed Marcus Thornton to a 4 year, $31.15 million contract.
  • In 2011 the Pistons signed Rodney Stuckey to a 3 year, $25.5 million contract. Final Year is only $4 million guaranteed.
  • In 2011 the Nuggets signed Arron Afflalo to a 5 year, $38 million contract.
  • In 2012 the Celtics signed Jeff Green to a 4 year, $36.24 million contract.
  • In 2012 the Nuggets signed Danilo Gallinari to a 4 year, $42 million contract extension.
  • In 2012 the Warriors signed Stephen Curry to a 4 year, $44 million contract extension.
  • In 2012 the Rockets signed James Harden to a 5 year, $78.6 million max contract.
  • In 2012 the Pacers signed George Hill to a 5 year, $40 million contract.
  • In 2012 the Hornets signed Eric Gordon to a 4 year, $58.37 million max contract.
  • In 2012 the Thunder signed Russell Westbrook to a 5 year, $78.6 million max contract.
  • In 2012 the Sixers signed Jrue Holiday to a 4 year, $41 million contract extension.
  • In 2012 the Suns signed Goran Dragic to a 4 year, $30 million contract.
  • In 2012 the Trail Blazers signed Nicolas Batum to a 4 year, $46.1 million contract.
  • In 2012 the Raptors signed DeMar Derozan to a 4 year, $38 million contract extension.

Evans is certainly not worth a max contract, and I don't believe any team will offer him one. I think Evans potentially salary in a new contract will range somewhere between $9-12 million a year. The question that must be answered of course is is he worth it?

I believe he is.

Evans definitely has not lived up to expectations, but those expectations were probably unrealistic in the first place. Evans is still one of the better young Shooting Guards in the NBA with plenty of room to grow.

Here is how Evans ranks among his peers:

Age

MPG

PPG

FG%

3P%

RPG

APG

STL

Tyreke's Total

23

31

15.2

0.478

0.338

4.4

3.5

1.4

Rank Among SGs

5th

15th

12th

3rd

26th

8th

10th

6th

Evans is also tied for 2nd with Kobe Bryant among Shooting Guards in Free Throw Rate (behind only James Harden) and 3rd among all guards (behind Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook) in makes at the rim. Part of that is because Evans' mid-range game is still far from developed, but it's also a credit to his elite penetration ability. Also, as I said above, Evans made strides with his shot last season. His three point percentage jumped from 20.2% to 33.8% (still bad but on the way to respectability). According to My Synergy Sports, his three point percentage in spot-up situations was 36.8%, which is a very decent number. He also cut the number of shots he took from 16-23 feet (the worst shot in basketball) by one-third.

Evans also has all the physical tools to become a very good defender. We've seen glimpses of shut-down defense from Evans in the past but it has been inconsistent. A lot of that comes down to experience and coaching, and hopefully the next Head Coach of the Kings will be able to make team defense a priority.

Another reason not to let Evans go is because it would be the loss of one of Sacramento's best assets. Even on a more expensive contract, Evans will still be very tradeable thanks to his youth and potential, unless he suffers some sort of career-ending injury. A young, rebuilding team like the Kings can ill afford to let an asset leave for nothing.

Evans has been rather injury-prone throughout his rookie contract, missing about 18% of possible games. None of the injuries appeared to be chronic however, as he's dealt with plantar fasciitis, concussions, rolled ankles, and a bone bruise on his knee. To play the devil's advocate, that might be a symptom of his aggressive style of play.

The only reason I could see for letting Evans walk this summer is if the new management believes they can bring someone in that is equally or more talented and/or productive. I don't see that kind of player available in the draft at the 7th pick, and maybe not even if someone like Victor Oladipo falls. There are a few Shooting Guards available in Free Agency (O.J. Mayo, Monta Ellis, Tony Allen, J.J. Redick, J.R. Smith, Kevin Martin) but none that I see that would give much bigger "bang for the buck".

Evans may never be the Superstar that we had hoped, but he's still really good and should remain a Sacramento King.

Coming Tomorrow: Free Agency/Trades

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