By Frank Luna
Now that we can put the downtown arena discussion aside for a couple of months, how about a closer look at the players we expect to see on that shinning new floor in 2015.
Take Tyreke Evans, former rookie of the year and currently slashing through his third year with the Kings. While the highly touted guard won most of his accolades through his offensive prowess, particularly his ability to take the rock to the hole in any number of different spectacular ways, I was intrigued to hear Kings Head Coach Keith Smart talking in a postgame interview about Tyreke’s defensive potential.
To paraphrase, he said Evans could easily be a perennial all-star defender if he set his mind to it. After watching Tyreke’s recent play against the Hornets and the Nuggets, I whole heartedly agree. While you might expect Evans to score the winning bucket as time expires, there are any number of players on the Kings that are better closers, namely Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins. As Smart alluded to, Tyreke will win games on his defense, and he already has.
I can remember in his first year, shutting down players with key steals or stops in the final seconds. While not credited with a game winning shot, he certainly produced some game winning stops. Tyreke’s no Kobe, Jordan or LeBron, but he has defensive skills equal to the best in the league.
Under Smart’s guidance, Evans could very well make his mark as a world-class defender with some formidable offensive skills to boot. That’s a player you can build a team around.