It would not be a surprise — after all he was the leading candidate for most of the year — but now it appears to be reality.
Tom Ziller at Sactown Royalty is reporting that Tyreke Evans will be named NBA Rookie of the Year.
We’re good with this, as this blog has been home to a lot of Evans love. However, unlike a lot of NBA Awards this year (sixth man, MVP) this was actually a race. Stephen Curry made a lot of fans as a fun gunner in the wide-open Golden State offense, but where he really impressed was his ability to run the point. Brandon Jennings made a lot of believers in him — starting with the entire city of Atlanta right now.
But Evans, to use Kobe Bryant’s description, is no rookie — he’s a grown ass man.
Evans can get to the rim as well as anyone in the league already –he led the NBA in shots per game at the rim averaging 8.4 per contest. In a league of slashers he did it better than anyone. He averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game (the first guy since LeBron James to average that as a rookie).
More than all that, Evans has lifted up a team and a fanbase that was wallowing. Sacramento was in a bad place. There were no stars, there was no winning, plans for a new arena were (and are) frustrating. Evans play made him the one ray of hope. The one thing the Kings can build around. The guy who can return them to contender status.
After a draft that was much maligned, this turned out to be a very good and deep rookie class (with guys like Jennings, Serge Ibaka and DeJuan Blair making their presence felt in the playoffs). But Evans was the best and most consistent of the group, he is the guy who looks like he will be the best in his class five years from now.
Blake Griffin reportedly doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles when his contract is up next summer. This is a guy who has done stand up, is executive producer of a television show, and is generally loving the perks of living in Los Angeles.
Still, the dream lives on in Oklahoma City that he will come in and be the next star there and pair with Russell Westbrook.
Griffin was back in his native Oklahoma for alumni weekend with the OU basketball team, and he heard the sales pitch.
Griffin blows this off, just like he is going to try to blow off the dozens and dozens of reporters who will ask him about his summer plans during the season.
But he has to know the recruiting pitches are coming all season, especially when he visits OKC.
Ty Lawson said that wherever he signed, “they’re going to get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth … I feel like I’m overlooked in free agency.”
That lucky team — at least in Lawson’s mind — is the Sacramento Kings.
They have reached a one-year deal with him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Lawson bounced between Houston and Indiana last season, and struggled at both stops — he shot 39.3 percent last season with a far wbelow replacement lever PER of 9.7. He was better in Indiana than Houston.
Lawson also brings the baggage of a couple of DUIs in recent years and a reputation as a partier — including showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath. That hurt is free agent prospects, and is something Lawson denied to The Undefeated.
But I’m not a person out here like everyone thinks that I’m drunk all day. No, I don’t do that. A lot of my friends, we go out and celebrate. But I’m not that person in the morning getting drunk before practice. I think there is a big misconception about what everybody thinks. That’s what I basically tell them. I keep it honest.
The Kings will start Darren Collison at the point, but Lawson should get a decent run as a backup. Lawson is a solid playmaker and has a spot up shot, when he is right.
What the 28-year-old Lawson also will get is another chance — he hasn’t impressed in his past few stops and if that doesn’t change his NBA career could end soon.
There are 1,230 NBA games in a season, and decent amount of those come down to which team executes better in a close game late. (By the way, the best teams don’t win the most close games, the best teams have the most blowouts and aren’t in as many close games.)
What that means is there are a lot of game winners, a lot of clutch shots every season. The folks at NBA.com compiled them for you, and what else do you have to do on a Sunday night but watch 13 minutes of them.
Yes, there is plenty of Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook in this one, but the clutch shot of the season belonged to Kyrie Irving.
Jason Terry has talked about reaching out to multiple teams, including contenders, during free agency before settling on the Milwaukee Bucks. When he talked about why the Bucks, he spoke of believing in what Jason Kidd was building.
There may have been another reason: Minutes.
From Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:
Some NBA officials contend he signed with Milwaukee and rejected overtures from a handful of teams, including the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, because of potential playing time.
“He wants his minutes,’’ said an NBA executive, whose team had shown some interest in signing Terry. “He didn’t go there (Milwaukee) to sit on the bench.’’
Terry’s agent denied this, saying he wanted to be part of the Bucks.
If minutes was a key part of his decision, so what? Guys choose teams for money (usually), wins, to play with friends, lifestyle, and weather, plus other reasons — how much run they get is in that mix. It’s never just one thing. And playing time matters.
No doubt Terry will get run with the Bucks behind Matthew Dellavedova, although Giannis Antetokounmpo with the ball as point guard is what is going to make this team fun to watch.