Tyreke Evans 2019 Season Review

Pacers guard Tyreke Evans talked about his 2018-19 campaign and explained what he has planned for his offseason.

Tyreke Evans 2019 Player Review

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Tyreke Evans 2019 Season Review

Pacers guard Tyreke Evans talked about his 2018-19 campaign and explained what he has planned for his offseason.
May 10, 2019  |  02:50

Tyreke Evans 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Tyreke Evans' 2018-19 season.
May 10, 2019  |  01:00

Tyreke With the Stepback 3-Pointer

April 10, 2019: Tyreke Evans shakes the defender with the stepback and drains the 3-pointer.
Apr 10, 2019  |  00:39

Player Review 2019: Tyreke Evans

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer

Age: 29
Years Pro: 10
Status: Free agent
Key Stats: Averaged 10.2 points on 39 percent shooting. Played in 69 games, starting 18, for an average of 20.3 minutes.

Tyreke Evans got the role he wanted, or at least was expecting, when he signed with the Pacers last summer. The results, however, weren't what anyone wanted or expected. Until the playoffs, anyway.

Evans generated plenty of intrigue when he signed a one-year contract to take over the backup guard spot vacated by Lance Stephenson. He had been the fourth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, had been voted Rookie of the Year in 2010 at age 20 and was coming off a strong season with Memphis in which he had averaged 19.4 points on 45 percent shooting at age 28. Surely he was capable of contributing as a backup guard for the Pacers.

He did, just not as consistently as anticipated.

PHOTO GALLERY: Tyreke Evans 2018-19 Season in Photos »

Evans had one of those seasons that teases fans. Just when it looked like he might have hit stride, found a groove, whatever you want to call it, something happened — an injury, a new role, or simply a few sub-par games. His assets were obvious. He made plays nobody else on the roster could make, his defense and 3-point accuracy were at least acceptable, and at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds he brought a needed physical presence to the backcourt. But, man, those missed layups.

He hit just 43 percent of his 341 shots at the rim. The league average was 58 percent. Had he managed to achieve the league norm he would have scored 100 more points, which might have come in awfully handy when sprinkled over the course of the season.

Those missed shots contributed to a 39 percent overall field goal percentage that was the lowest of his career, and wasn't significantly better than his 3-point accuracy (.356). Toss in a poor assist-to-turnover ratio (166 assists, 118 turnovers) and you have a Player Efficiency Rating of 11.5 — 11th among the Pacers — that plunged from 21.1 the previous season. The Pacers obviously were hoping for something more along the lines of 21.1 when they signed him last summer.

Tyreke Evans

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Nate McMillan did what he could to bring out Evans' best by putting him in charge of the second unit's offense, telling him to "play like he did in the playgrounds in Philly." That meant having the ball and running pick-and-rolls at the top of the key, usually with Domantas Sabonis, or attacking the basket whenever he saw an opening. Or, even when he didn't.

It didn't work out as hoped, at least not consistently. And that was the frustrating thing about Evans' season. He would have the occasional big game, such as by scoring 19 points while hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers in an early win at San Antonio, or contribute 23 points, 10 rebounds, and just one turnover in a win over Miami. But games such as those were interspersed with poor shooting and/or turnover-prone performances.

Health was an issue at times. He missed two games in December with a sore knee after Philadelphia center Joel Embiid fell on it. He received an injection of platelet rich plasma while the team was in New York, and came back to score 19 points while hitting all four 3-point shots in a victory in Atlanta. He went on to score in double figures in 11 of the next 13 games, but his play dropped off after that. He had another knee injection over the All-Star break in February and came back with 17 points in the first game after the break. With hopes raised again, he hit 1-of-6 shots in the next game.

He later missed three games for reasons that never seemed clear, but then returned and played well in several of the remaining games. He scored 19 points against the Clippers in Los Angeles and followed with 20 points at Golden State. He ultimately finished off the regular season in Atlanta with the flourish of a 27-point effort that featured five 3-pointers in eight attempts.

That time, momentum carried over. Evans was the rare Pacer who stepped up his performance in the playoff series with Boston. He had, in fact, the best PER on the team, at 17. (Thaddeus Young was second at 16.) He averaged 15.3 points, hit 55 percent of his 3-pointers and finished the swept-up series with 21 points in Game 4. Layups were still an issue, but his overall play was strong. Now, fan opinion seems to run the gamut from "he should be starting" to "he needs to be gone."

All in all, a confusing season from an enigmatic player. One that makes his future anybody's guess.

Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.


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