Despite being selected fourth in the NBA Draft this past season, there was no better rookie in the NBA than Tyreke Evans. The Clippers probably feel good about Blake Griffin even though he missed the entire injury because of injury, and the Thunder may feel good about James Harden because he fits that team well, but the Grizzlies have to be kicking themselves. Even though they have a glut of guards on their roster and need a big man, Hasheem Thabeet is no Tyreke Evans and may never be.
Evans has made every team pay for passing on him and he has made the Sacramento Kings look brilliant for taking him over some of the other players that they could’ve selected like Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, or even Jonny Flynn. Evans took the league by storm this year, became the face of the Sacramento Kings, emerged as the league’s best rookie, and also emerged as one of the best players in the entire Western Conference in just his rookie season. Evans finished this season averaging over 20 points per game, five rebounds per game, and five assists per game. The only other players this season to accomplish that feat were Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. It was a tremendous rookie season for Evans and it earned him well deserved Rookie of the Year honors in the NBA. Tyreke Evans joined KHTK in Sacramento to talk about staying humble despite the accolades he has received, on how he thinks the Kings can improve in the off-season, and becoming more of a leader for the Kings in his second season.
On how he stays so humble and grounded despite the success that he has had:
“I mean, it’s not that hard for me because I’m a laid back person. I don’t really do too much. Sacramento is the perfect place for me. It fits me well. I’m really not out here running around crazy. I’m just hanging out with my friends, at the movies, or at the mall, or something like that. I’m not doing too much when I’m out here.”
On how the Kings can get better in the off-season:
“I don’t really know. That’s up to Geoff (Petrie) to pick who we’re gonna pick up. There’s a couple of picks in there that we could use in the draft. I heard people talking about DeMarcus (Cousins) and things like that, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna let them handle it. Hopefully we do get something good that can help the team out and that can help us out a lot. Hopefully if they make a good move, we can come back next year strong.”
On whether or not he hates losing:
“Yeah, it’s tough.”
The Host guesses he would trade his Rookie of the Year for a playoff appearance:
“Somebody asked me that the other day, I told them that.”
On the possibility of being a future MVP:
“That’s a good one. I hope so. That’s what I’m working on my game for to come back strong.”
On the fans expectations being raised for him in Sacramento:
“I agree. For me to be the best player on the team or a leader, I think they expect me to get them back to the playoffs. I’m young, but like you said, it’s different on the court. It’s a man’s game. (Host: Are you OK with those expectations?) I mean it’s a little pressure. Just being 20 and trying to get the team back to the playoffs, it’s gonna take maybe one or two years to rebuild the team. We’re young still. When (Mike) Bibby and those guys did it, they were veterans and they were with each other for a long time. So it’s gonna take awhile.”
On becoming more of a leader:
“Definitely. Got the first year out of the way. Next year I’m coming back being more of a leader than last year. I wasn’t comfortable with being a leader yet. Next year I know that coming in I’m gonna have to speak up more and talk to the teammates more. I’ll be prepared for that.”