Draft day is only a few days away, and as I go around and survey the most plausible mock drafts, one name that constantly pops up for my Minnesota Timberwolves is Tyreke Evans.
Evans is a 6'5'' PG/SG that's coming out of Memphis. He's projected to go anywhere from fifth to 12th, but becuase of the workout that he had with the Wolves, I think it most likely that he'll land in Minny.
The list of Tyreke's credentials is enormous, but here is a short list to break it down:
- Offensive strengths: scoring mentality, ability to get to the free-throw line, pick-and-roll play, ability to create his own shot, ability to create for others, transition play, assertiveness, and hesitation moves
- Defensive strengths: big for a point, NBA body, versatility to defend multiple positions, lateral quickness, wingspan, and a high steals average (2.1 per game at Memphis, 2.6 to 3.0 per 40)
Evans has a lot of upside being only 19 years old. However, he does have weaknesses:
- decision making, dominant ball-handler, occasional lack of control, shot selection, poor assist-to-turnover ratio, poor perimeter and FT percentages, and uncertainty of optimal position (PG or SG)
One thing about being so young is that you have many years to grow in the NBA; if you think about it, he has 6 years in the league before he's no longer considered "young."
Watching Tyreke Evans, I see a lot of characteristics in his gameplay of a Brandon Roy with a Derrick Rose passing ability.
He appears to be fast though he's not the quickest. He doesn't have Brandon Jennings handles, but he can cross you if you're not 100 percent on your game. He appears to be a streaky shooter but has a nice form and rhythm to his stroke.
Evans has an underrated passing ability, and I think he could average anywhere from four to seven assists per game next year. If the Timberwolves draft him, here's their lineup:
PG: Tyreke Evans (backups Sebastian Telfair and Bobby Brown)
SG: Randy Foye (backups Mike Miller and Rodney Carney)
SF: Ryan Gomes (backups Craig Smith and Corey Brewer)
PF: Kevin Love (backups Brian Cardinal and Mark Madsen)
C: Al Jefferson
Of course, the Wolves' other picks this year will help provide depth at any of spot.
How Can Randy Foye and Tyreke Evans Succeed Together?
We all know Randy likes playing without the ball in his hands, and he feasts upon catch-and-shoot situations. Foye is too small to defend the dominant SGs of the league, as he does not possess the necessary defensive skills, but he can score with his smoothness no matter who's guarding him.
Evans is the guy to fit perfectly with that. Tyreke will run the offense, and the two will switch off positions on defense so that Evans can be on opposing twos and Foye on the ones.
This would increase the defensive productivity of the team due to Randy Foye already averaging a steal per game last season and occasionally posting a flashy block on the league's point guards. Yes, Randy does block shots on point guards, and he's a developing defender, but due to his lack of freakish athleticism (like that of Dwyane Wade), he cannot effectively and consistently guard SGs.
Both Tyreke and Foye are both excellent rebounding guards. Foye broke the Timberwolves single-game franchise record for rebounds by a PG/SG with 16 against the Spurs last season.
How Will Tyreke Evans Do?
Well, David Kahn has already said that he's going to have to let the rookies play if the Wolves are ever going to get better as a whole. Tyreke is highly competitive, despite the fact that sometimes he does not have to be. He had a single private workout for the Timberwolves, but instead of performing by himself, he chose to compete with the best PGs in the draft, and in fact excelled.
If Tyreke sees anywhere from 29 to 36 minutes per game, he could develop quickly. He has made himself into a top pick in only one year at Memphis, and we could see player that averages anywhere from 12 points and five assists per game to 16 and seven (like last year's ROY, Rose).
Quotes From Tyreke (courtesy of Timberwolves.com)
“I just wanted to let people know that I’m not running from nobody. I wanted to work hard against the top people and go out there and work. I’m willing to take the challenge against the guards, big men, center, shot. You can put anybody out here, I’m ready to play.”
“I think I can bring a lot of defense and a lot of offense. I’m a great passer, a great scorer, a great player, a team player. I’m just going to come in here and help you guys win.”
“Ed Pinckney, I’m good friends with him. I would like to be here in Minnesota. Something different for me. I’m just willing to play with the coach and win a lot of games.”
Thanks for reading!