Tyreke Evans became Rookie of the Year because he can slash to the hoop off the dribble with anyone in the league.
He struggled his second two seasons in the league both due to injuries and the fact he has no steady jump shot — he took 4.7 shots a game from beyond 16 feet last season and hit just 25.5 percent of them. The book on Evans was out — go under the pick, stay back on him, cut off his drive and make him shoot the ball because he can’t.
The 23-year-old guard/forward says he’s worked all summer long building trust in his jumper. He’s focused on certain shot mechanics, like the position of the ball before release and jumping straight up and down as opposed to fading away.
“I can feel it (the improvement),” said Evans of his growing confidence in his jumper. “Even when I miss one, I know I can shoot it again and I can make the second one.”
We’ll see. If Evans jumper starts to fall, the Kings become a whole lot better. They have DeMarcus Cousins inside and rookie Thomas Robinson to go next to him. If Evans can be the outside to their inside, Sacramento takes a step forward.
If not… well, this is a make or break season for Evans. If he remains an enigma he will not fall out of the league, but his status as “guy who can be a key part of a team” is gone and he will just float through the league for a while as a backup. This is the big contract year for Evans, this is his defining season.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.