I consider myself a man of the people. I thought to myself the other day, what are people craving? What does the average Kings fan feel like they are lacking. Like Iverson to Philly, the answer came to me. The people want an article about Tyreke Evans, our rookie that has had absolutely nothing written about him recently.
Much is being made of Tyreke Evans' stats. Scoring, rebounding, assists, Evans has been filling the stat sheets. It's been quite impressive. As the recent fan shot showed, the stats have compared well to other NBA stars.
But equally impressive, and lost amongst our fantasy sports existence, has been Tyreke's defense. I'm not going to try to explain Tyreke's defense to you, because that would go completely against the rest of what I'm going to discuss. I'm going to explore the potential crossroads that Tyreke faces.You can be a star in this league without playing defense. You can be an All-Star. You can be an MVP-candidate. Ideally, and NBA superstar is dominant on both ends of the floor. Realistically, most offensive stars only turn it on defensively when the absolutely must.
A star like LeBron is capable of being a lockdown defender, but rarely does he fully exert himself defensively unless he's in a marquee match-up. I'm not trying to single out LeBron in particular, quite a few stars do this. And honestly, it's hard to blame them. It's a long season, and playing all-out on both ends of the floor is exhausting.
Some stars gave up on defense a long time ago. Players like Tracy McGrady have earned reputations as guys who do not put effort into their defense at all. The live on offense, put up gaudy numbers, and have been rewarded. It's tough to remember now, but McGrady was recently in conversations for MVP consideration, and is still amongst the top-paid NBA players this season.
The other thing to remember is that offensive stats are notoriously more correlated to new contract dollars. Nobody is lining up to give a max contract to Shane Battier. The financial incentive in this league is directed towards offense.
Some stars have dedicated themselves to offense and defense. The first player that jumps to my mind is a guy like Kevin Garnett. To be honest though, I haven't watched him a lot recently and he might be riding on his reputation these days. The trap of these stars is that there will be times when effort on defense results in a decrease in offensive stats. A player only has a certain amount of energy. O
Right now we don't know what kind of player Tyreke will become. He could become a player who dominates both ends. He could become a guy who only turns up the defensive effort for marquee opponents. Or he could abandon his defensive intensity altogether.
Personally, I don't see him abandoning his defense. It doesn't seem like the type of guy he is.
But I do wonder if he'll maintain his intensity. I hope he does. I'd rather have a dominant player on both ends, even if it means the offense is slightly less potent.