You know who Tyreke Evans is. You know how insanely good he is. You’re smart, obviously, since you read this blog (and probably good looking and rich, that’s just the demographic we roll with here). And at PBT we give Evans an undo amount of love. An almost uncomfortable amount.
Sacramento Kings owner Gavin Maloof has that love too — he knows what his franchise has got. The Kings have the piece you can build around, the hardest part of the rebuilding process to get. But while you and I and Gavin are on the same page, he told KHTK in Sacramento he still has some selling to do to the casual fan.
Often times people off the street will say why didn’t you get Kobe, or why didn’t you get LeBron? We already have a Kobe or a LeBron! We have Tyreke Evans! This guy’s that good! So we’re trying to get home the point how really, really great this kid is now and how great he’s going to be. What his brothers tell me is he’s going to work really, really hard on his jumpshot, he’s going to take some time off after this season probably and then it’s back to work.
Gavin, if I can call you that, we both love Tyreke and his game, so I say this coming from a place of love — don’t compare Evans to LeBron or Kobe. He’s very good, but Kobe has been killing it for more than a decade and has a handful of rings, while LeBron is the best player on the planet today. Love Tyreke, let’s not go overboard here.
But the point is what it’s going to take to get the casual fan back is not just Evans, but also a better team around Evans. A team that goes the playoffs, maybe makes it out of the first round. One that wins. And that takes time to build. Evans has to improve, the team around him has to improve.
But the casual fans in Sacramento and around the league will come around. He is that good. And hopefully the team will too (in Sacramento, nowhere else).
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).