Is Tyreke Evans salvageable?

A number of people tend to disagree with me that Evans is struggling due to a lack of commitment. A number of people tend to think that it’s more adjusting from a bad role that Westphal assigned Tyreke (which is understandable) and a new role that is entirely different from Keith Smart.

I tend to think that’s it not entirely different from one coach to another when the reality of Tyreke’s success or failure as a Sacramento Kings player would depend on the very balance that Keith Smart talks about in Jason Jones’ piece for the Bee yesterday:

“You’ve got to be selfless to do it because, one, I didn’t say this is how you score; this is how you get somebody else the ball,” Smart said. “So I’m telling a guy who averages 20 and can have a huge night any night when his driving game is good to step back and give up that portion to get somebody else involved.”

In otherwords? Read the game kid. Pay more attention. This shit ain’t just about you. Earlier in the piece:

“My vision was I would look to score first, and then I’d kick out,” Evans said. “Sometimes he tells me I get in the habit of thinking pass first and I’m not aggressive. I’ve just got to be aggressive.”

His vision? Tyreke’s vision? I’d make a joke about what vision, but the idea that Tyreke Evans knew how to be more successful at the NBA level than any head coach, including Paul Westphal, is problematic. That’s a problem when you don’t understand that portion of the game, and don’t understand why a head coach, regardless of whether you get along from a personal standpoint, would want you to shed that kind of mindset.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Depending on how you feel about John Salmons (not happy with the performance but I don’t despise him the way some Kings fans clearly do), this definitely won’t make you happy. Here’s a newsflash: Part of NBA stardom is creating mismatches, and when you move Tyreke to the SF spot you take those mismatches away. It’s that simple.

From Jones’ blog piece:

“He can’t play the three,” Smart said after Sunday’s practice. “That guy was born with a basketball in his hand – got to keep that thing in his hand. I’ve tried that one time and that doesn’t work so I’m not going to go back to that one because he’s not a small forward.” There are other reasons why Evans wouldn’t make the best small forward on a regular basis. Listed at 6-foot-6, Evans would struggle defending a lot of small forwards that are stronger than him. That would potentially keep Evans in foul trouble.

I’ve said it here so many times that I’m getting nauseous saying it again, but hey that’s the life of a poor NBA blogger.

Tyreke Evans path in the NBA will depend on how he is able to balance the difference between faciliation as a lead G and the scoring that comes natural to Reke. Without that balance, without mastering that balance, Tyreke’s value drops down. Whether it’s at SF, whether it’s off the ball, or whether it’s simply a toned down version, it’s all going to have the same impact. Tyreke Evans is the best talent on the Kings roster, and has to play like that for the Kings to be successful. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you will understand why I’m absolutely ridiculously hardcore about the little mental mistakes Tyreke makes routinely that absolutely destroy any semblance of an opportunity at consistent winning basketball. That is, after all, the goal yes?

******

Just as an FYI, I’m not writing a game thread (what is the point if if there is only a once in a blue moon comment, and if I do not have the time or willingness?) because I have too much other things to do right now. If you have not read why Keith Smart likes Oakland, I suggest you do. Otherwise, more Tyreke Evans hatred starting at 7:30pm tonight. One little snippet before moving on from Jones piece about Smart:

“(Nelson) said you run it and do it how you would do it if you were the head coach,” Smart said. “By the time I got a chance to be a head coach, I had already had so much NBA experience.”

Oh, and I’ve been pretty impressed with Jones’ coverage of what is rapidly becoming a top to bottom dysfuncational franchise. If you have not read (one of the very few most likely), this is what I said about a potential Geoff Petrie departure in the Sactown Royalty thread:

I don’t care if Geoff Petrie gets fired but without the Maloofs leaving as owners it makes no difference as far as whether you replace GM’s. In part because it would just mean the Maloofs would hold on for as long and as hard as possible as owners regardless of whether the Kings stay in Sacramento or not.

Whatever the case may be, Geoff Petrie is not infallible. He no longer can survive all his mistakes as a GM/Prez of BBall Ops (whatever) and deserves to be fired. But if this whole firing bit is a way to justify moving the franchise (without knowing the upcoming terms of an arena), or just a way to pacify an understandably angry fanbase it makes no sense.

I think the Maloofs will find that few people in Sacramento believe in them anymore Geoff Petrie or no. Which, again, comes back to the arena issue any way you slice it. And, I suspect, how much juice and will the NBA has in A) coughing up any money for a new arena and B) how much pull the Maloofs have in not coughing up any said dough for a new arena along with the NBA’s share.

Money, money, money. The Maloofs don’t got it, and they desperately want to retain ownership. This is the only play they have left, and in that respect given Petrie’s recent performance (hands tied or not) is not good enough to merit a real reason to keep Petrie. In some ways this might be the best thing that ever happens in the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. With no reason to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the pretense is over for the Maloofs. The jig will drop, and their ownership reign/terror on Sacramento will be over one way or another. Some finality to this whole clusterfuck of a situation is one pleasing bi-product that hopefully will come out of all this. Because if we don’t get a resolution soon, I’m thinking with all the negative energy from all comers the franchise may just implode in one of those ball of fires only John Carpenter could concoct.

I’ll keep it simple why I won’t write about that extensively. I’ve alrea-dy mentioned what I think of Geoff Petrie, and is it any secret I don’t care for the Maloofs and would jettison them for a bag of Doritos quicker than you could say fat boy in a convenience store.

At this point, and I’ll keep maintaining this about Tyreke Evans, is that a dysfunctional culture is only part of the franchise issue. Yet, many other franchises have had successful on court products because of players while dysfunctional from ownership on down in the management side of things.

I don’t expect Tyreke Evans to rise above all the problems of this franchise, but not progressing as a player (which he has not done regardless of what Keith Smart says) is not acceptable. Jogging back in transition, getting lost on screens, not helping others defensively, not recognizing where to move the ball to get an effective shot, not having a diverse enough offensive arsenal to handle all the different looks NBA defenses use on players like Tyreke, and simply the energy and effort level vacillitates like a trignometric sin graph. That’s not acceptable. Go hard. Go hard all the time. Anything less is simply never okay. And I won’t give in to that regardless of numbers (the Utah game had as much to do with the matchup than anything) or what is being said publicly. Tyreke needs to grow up if this franchise, regardless of dysfunctional culture or no, is to move forward with even what modest NBA success looks like. That’s all this is really about at the end of the day.