The sky's the limit for Sacramento Kings guard/forward Tyreke Evans. Evans has all of the God-given ability to be an elite NBA player, and he used that skill set to take the NBA by storm in winning the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year.
But an inconsistent jump shot has stood in the way of Evans' development. However, it looks like Tyreke is finally getting the message and has been working diligently to improve his lackluster shooting.
By all accounts, Evans has taken this offseason extremely seriously. A huge portion of that focus is going towards establishing a consistent shot. That's because Evans realized his opponents were giving him room to shoot from the perimeter, in hopes of being able to prevent him from getting to the hoop.
"People just started looking at film and started trying to keep me from going to the basket," he said. "This year, I'm going to have to go to the pull-up (jump shot). I'm still going to go in there, no matter what, but I want to go to the pull-up too." (from Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee)
As Kings coach Keith Smart explains, it's not that Evans didn't care about improving his game in previous seasons; it's that there wasn't the necessary support system in the organization to help him do it.
"(Evans has) always been a guy who wanted to (improve), but you had to give him a plan and a staff that won't leave until the last person leaves the building," Smart said.
Part of that plan was to give Evans a key to the practice facility so he could come work out whenever he wanted throughout the offseason. In fact, Tyreke even earned the nickname "The Cat Burglar" over the summer because he'd show up at the facility unannounced and at such odd hours.
I've always contended that Tyreke could be one of the best players in this league if he just works on nailing down his jump shot.
When you'd watch Evans in the past, you could see that he could get to the basket at will. Then, once he got there, he had the needed strength and agility to consistently finish.
What he lacked was a consistent enough jump shot to keep defenders honest. Eventually they figured that out and began backing off Evans, daring to beat them with his shooting. Unfortunately Evans didn't have the ability to do it.
Nothing illustrates this point better than Evans' shooting percentages, which Jason Jones pointed out in the article: Evans shot 60 percent (295 of 492) within five feet of the rim last season and 27.7 percent (113 of 408) from beyond.
If the work that Evans has been putting in during the offseason begins to pay off with a reliable jump shot, then Tyreke will begin improving upon the promise he showed as a rookie.
That's a scary thought for his opponents considering Evans is one of four players to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists as rookies, with the other three being Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James.
Now, with a consistent jump shot, Evans can build upon that rookie campaign and take his place among the NBA's elite.
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