Evans says he’s ready for what is next
Tyreke Evans is the 2010 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year, a very different award than when Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie and coach Paul Westphal played in the ’70s.
"It was the can and string Rookie of the Year when we played," Westphal said.
Yes, the world is different. The basketball world is different, but the game remains very much the same.
Petrie actually won the award (sharing it in 1970 with Boston’s Dave Cowens) when there was no marketing arm attached to such things.
Both Petrie and Cowens progressed to have solid NBA careers, although Petrie’s career was cut short by knee problems.
The level of hype with winning the award then is nothing like it is today.
The NBA and sports, generally, receive considerably more media attention now than 1970.
There were no team campaigns to push their respective players for awards as the Kings did with Evans and as Golden State pumped its candidate, Stephen Curry.
The wonderment surrounding Evans’ victory turned out to be much ado about little.
Evans received 67 first-place votes, 50 second-place votes and 491 overall. Curry received 43 first-place votes, 50 second-place votes and 391 overall. Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings received 12 first-place votes and 204 overall.
Evans played his best during the early portion of the season and joined Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only NBA players to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists as rookies.
Curry delivered big-time during the latter portion of the season and proved his legitimacy as a point guard and a shooter. Jennings had a 55-point game against Golden State and helped lead his team to the playoffs.
Each player has legitimate credentials and brings a very different game to the ledger.
And what now awaits the careers of Evans, Curry and Jennings, who likely will be linked because of their respective dynamic rookie seasons?
The Kings only can hope the words of Evans’ brother, Doc, ring true.
Noting that his little brother has been the MVP of virtually every all-star game he’s played, received the Pennsylvania High School player of the year and was the Freshman of the Year at the University of Memphis, Doc Evans predicted even bigger things ahead.
"One day, ‘Reke is gonna be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player and the Sacramento Kings are gonna be world champions," he said.
There’s no going out on a limb for those older Evans boys.
Tyreke is as humble as they come, unless you count the night he proclaimed the Chicago United Center was his after the Kings overcame a 35-point deficit to defeat the Bulls.
Evans already has plans for improvement. He’s going to work on his mid-range game and his three-point shot.
"This is probably going to be the hardest I’ve ever worked during the summer," said Evans, who turns 21 in September.
Winning the award is one thing; converting it into team success is another.
Pau Gasol is the only Rookie of the Year winner since Tim Duncan in 1997-98 to win an NBA title.
James took his team to the 2007 NBA Finals, but hasn’t yet sealed the deal after losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
Evans is a tremendous building block for the Kings. It doesn’t matter what position he should play or what people think he is.
He’s the Rookie of the Year.