Has the Sacramento Kings' Tyreke Evans Become Magic Johnson Lite?

Scott RedickContributor IApril 10, 2017

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Tyreke Evans can do things that few have done before him.

After a fantastic rookie season in which he averaged 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game, Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans was named the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year.

The 20-year-old Pennsylvania native became the first Kings player to win a postseason award since 2003. Not only was his Rookie of the Year award impressive, but so was the way that he won it: He became the fourth rookie ever to compile a season average of (20-5-5). The only three before him were Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Also there were other contenders for the award including lead contender Stephon Curry and Brandon Jennings who poured in 55 points in one game during the season.

He has received a lot of praise from players around the league including Kobe Bryant saying "Tyreke Evans is going to be a hell of a player, [the Kings start] with him, so he has a really bright future."

He reminds me of a player that many shy away from comparing others to: Magic Johnson.

In Johnson’s rookie season he averaged a similar stat line of 18-7-7. Evans has that rare combination of size, scoring ability and court vision that Magic had. He may not be as good of a passer, but what he lacks in that department he makes up for with pure scoring ability. Like Magic, he is not a flashy dunker or otherworldly athlete. He is a crafty finisher around the rim and has the ability to change instantly from a shot to a pass.

While Evans will never be the same level or passer or have the same court vision that Magic had, he does have a chance to be better in other phases of his game.

He spent most of this summer improving the parts of his game that lacked during his phenomenal rookie season. Namely, his jump shot.

It is still early in the season, but Evans has seen a dramatic improvement. This is crucial because a lot of what the Kings do on offense depends on Evans drawing defenders away from the rim to create room for his drives as well as clear space for Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins in the paint.

Through the Kings' first eight games Evans was shooting 37.5 percent on mid-range to long twos while he shot 33.1 percent last year.

He has continued to struggle with threes, but as we have seen with players like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo it is more than possible to improve those numbers.

If Evans can continue to improve at the rate he has been, we may see the closest thing in almost two decades to the great Magic Johnson.