Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans swears he’s got a jump shot now


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.

This season, Evans swears that is going to change. Here is what he told Cowbell Kingdom.

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.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?