Oscar Robertson. Michael Jordan. LeBron James.
And now Tyreke Evans.
In case you had any doubt how good Tyreke Evans is, being put in that group should do it. Those are the only four players n NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game as a rookie.
Love Brandon Jennings. Stephen Curry has game. But when you join the group Evans just did you get to be Rookie of the Year.
The Kings have been promoting this feat like mad, and for the fans at Arco Arena it seemed to matter far more than the game result (which was good, the Kings lost to the Rockets). As a player so great off the dribble, it seemed appropriate that he got the mark at the free-throw line after being fouled on the drive.
Evans was clearly feeling the pressure and pressing on offense the last two games to get the points he needed for the milestone, something he admitted to FanHouse.
“That was the most pressure I’d had so far (in his rookie season),” the player picked fourth overall out of the University of Memphis told FanHouse. “(I) was more nervous than getting drafted. I’m still shaking right now as we speak.
“But we kind of let up. I think because of the 20-5-5 and everybody wanted me to get it, I think that messed up our strategy. It was the toughest basket I ever had to get in my life but I’m glad I got it.”
It was the first lesson in real NBA pressure for Evans, but the Kings hope he gets a lot more of it in the coming years. The pressure of being the player a team builds around, the pressure of the playoffs and winning basketball. After a 20-5-5 season, after joining that group of players, the expectations and pressure on Evans are just starting to ramp up.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.