Tyreke Evans once had a jumper, Calipari may have lost it, now Reke wants it back


Thumbnail image for Evans_3.jpgYou’ve seen the video from this summer: Tyreke Evans in the gym just knocking down three after three.

But have you seen the video of Tyreke Evans just knocking down jumpers from high school?

Sam Amick of FanHouse has, because he was in Evans’ house when the brothers that have always been by Evans’ side showed it to him. While Evans was watching, they were all at Evans home.

It’s a fantastic bit of reporting (go read the entire thing), giving a little depth to the “Evans is in the gym working on his jumper” reports that we hear about seemingly every player this time of year.

Evans could drain the three in high school but shot just 27 percent from deep in his one year at Memphis and 25 percent last year with the Kings. He got away with it because he can get into the lane and to the rim as well as anyone (he took 8.4 shots a game at the rim last season, 7.9 from everywhere else combined). But that drive is so much more effective if you can make teams fear the outside shot.

What happened to it?

His brothers blame John Calipari. As they see it, the then-Memphis coach scared the confidence right out of Evans, gnawing on his ear every time the he dared to shoot a jumper instead of blowing by the line of helpless defenders. The style worked just fine for the Tigers, who went 33-4 and lost to Missouri in the third round of the NCAA Championships in Evans’ one season.

Now, however, those closest to Evans say it’s working against him.

“I don’t blame anybody, but I think coach Cal looked at is like, ‘Hey, you know what? This kid can get to the basket any time he wants, so let’s play him to his strength,” said Tony Bergeron, Evans’ coach at the Aston, Pa. high school. “(But) I used to have a fit watching his Memphis games. I’d be screaming at the TV, saying ‘Shoot!'”

Now there’s the question of confidence. Early on next season NBA teams are going to dare Evans to take and make the jumper, to really prove he can do it under fire. If it starts to fall that will change, and Evans will have to pick when to shoot and when to drive. A couple missed shots one game and he could revert to form.

It’s a process. But Evans gets that what he needs to do next is add a jumper to his arsenal. Or, more accurately, go find the one he had.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.