The word on the street is that Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics are very interested in acquiring the services of Tyreke Evans.
And they are willing to trade up well into the top 10 of this year’s draft to get him.
There are too many variables involved for me to even attempt to address all of the possible ways the Celtics could acquire Evans’ draft rights.
I’m not an NBA specialist (there are plenty others who are), so I will just speculate on the one team that I know a little something about:
The Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizz are in a terrible spot (for them) in this year’s draft.
The only player that the team could really use is Blake Griffin, and if anyone wants to argue that he lasts past the first pick, I will personally go on eBay and buy a straitjacket for you.
Because you’re crazy to think Blake isn’t announced first.
No one else in this year’s draft excites me enough to be the No. 2 pick. After all, Michael Jordan was a No. 3 choice; typically, it’s a sure bet if you manage a top 3 or 4 slot.
Not this year.
Ricky Rubio is a long, skinny project. Hasheem Thabeet is a 7’3” project.
At No. 2, the Grizz need someone who can step in and produce right away. That’s why they should trade the pick.
It says here, if Boston is willing to part with Leon Powe and Ray Allen for the Grizzlies’ choice, Chris Wallace should take it and be ecstatic.
So just what is it about Tyreke Evans that makes him valuable enough to be the second name called in this year’s NBA Draft, selected by Boston, by way of Memphis?
Here’s what I learned about Tyreke during his scintillating single season as a Tiger:
He is insanely talented, even though he does not have off-the-charts athleticism.
He is long and active, and likes to mix it up. He will get you some boards.
He will get at least one steal a night where you think, “Where in the hell did he come from?” because he has great anticipation and is willing to gamble and help out. (This sometimes leaves him out of position, but good coaching will break him of that.)
Tyreke is extremely receptive to coaching (Doc Rivers would love him, and it would be a perfect fit for him to end up with Rivers, a former NBA guard) and he works hard. He’s not happy with being good; he wants to be great.
Of course, Memphis ran DDM and Doc actually modeled his offense after Calipari’s to a large degree. My understanding is that the Cal and Doc stayed in pretty close contact as Boston was implementing the offense—and as he has shown, Reke is perfect for it, in many ways.
When he wants to get into the lane, it’s almost impossible to keep him out. He has a quick first step, is stronger than most guards, and is slithery and very clever.
Evans is a totally different player from Derrick Rose (to whom he is often mistakenly compared), because he doesn’t have the same blinding speed, but the result is almost the same, because they both have so many ways to penetrate and finish at the rim.
Now, for the negatives: his jumper is ugly and inconsistent. I would expect that he needs to totally revamp his stroke if he wants to be a complete NBA scorer. That will take years. I personally feel he will be okay in time, due to his work ethic.
Additionally, Evans sometimes gets a bit lazy and relies far too much on his spotty three-point stroke. He was second on the team in three-point attempts (134) yet only third in makes (34), an unacceptable 27.4 percent.
He does need to dominate the ball in order to be effective, which means either making him the point guard (not an option with Rondo around) or at least running a number of plays where he is the primary ballhandler.
How Doc would make that work is anybody’s guess, but I think he can figure it out.
Reke’s penchant to gamble for the steal would drive Rivers nuts because Doc believes in good fundamental, positional defense. Again, that can be worked out. I like his potential as a defender; someday, he will be a lockdown-type if he puts his mind to it.
He is a very complete player, a magnificent scorer, and certainly no more prone to sloppy play than any other kid his age. Wherever Boston selects him, I think he will be a good value, even at the 2.
There are only a select few situations that are ever truly "perfect" for both sides, but from where I'm sitting, Tyreke Evans to the Celtics fits the mold.
Evans could very well be the missing link that pushes the C’s back to the NBA Title.
Tyreke Evans key statistics while at Memphis
37 games played, 35 games started, 1,072 total minutes (29.0 average, third on team)
632 total points (17.1 PPG, first on team) on 230-505 shooting (45.5 percent from floor)
138 free throws made, 194 attempted (both led team), 71.1 percent converted (fourth)*
* Among Tigers with 100 or more attempts
This article is an excerpt from a piece I published on TigerSportsReport.com, the Memphis affiliate of Rivals.