It was just a few years ago the basketball world was buzzing with hype about the possibilities for the Sacramento Kings with a can’t-miss combo of Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans as the core of their franchise. Fast forward to this past week as the Kings ship off Cousins in a lopsided deal that sees Evans return to his old stomping grounds with little buzz left to spare.
Evans made a name for himself during his one season at Memphis. The Conference USA Freshman of the Year was the only freshman finalist for the 2009 United States Basketball Writers Association’s national player of the year award (some guy named Blake Griffin won the award instead).
By the time the 2009 NBA Draft rolled around, Evans was a hot name on the board, as expected. The Sacramento Kings, with the fourth pick of the draft, felt they got a good one after seeing Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet and James Harden go off the board with the first three picks.Folks on Twitter sure seemed to feel the Kings got a good deal, especially when Demarcus Cousins was set to join him the following year.
Demarcus Cousins is in the best position of the top 5 draft picks! he's got a STAR in Tyreke Evans waiting for him in Sacramento! #NBADRAFT
— Daniel Dudley (@DDisBORED) June 25, 2010
Cousins gets essentially a better version of Wall in Tyreke Evans.
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) June 25, 2010
DeMarcus Cousins is heading to California with the Sacramento Kings. Talented big man in the middle with Tyreke Evans at the point, uh oh.
— Camron Smith (@camronsmith) June 25, 2010
Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke on the same team sheesh
— Jarrel (@_JarrelHarris) June 25, 2010
Unreal the Kings' draft luck. They get Tyreke to fall to them last year, Cousins this year. That's what I call a "core," Griz fans.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 24, 2010
Just curious, which players in the NBA would you trade the top pick for? I'd say LeBron, Howard, Durant and maybe Tyreke. -Jake
— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) May 19, 2010
During Evans’ first year in the league, he was quick to leave quite the impression, drawing comparisons and debates against some players who would prove to be some of the top players in the league.
I'll just call you "Paying Attention." RT @khoffman3113: Call me a homer but I'd take Tyreke Evans over Russell Westbrook.
— Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade) April 25, 2010
NBA oddity (or something else?): LeBron James and Tyreke Evans have very, very similar rookie stats. http://is.gd/aem5l
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) March 11, 2010
Yes sir. RT @NBATVRick: Tyreke already plays like a star, a max player, the world just doesn't know it yet.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 21, 2010
Two players that would inevitably draw head-to-head comparisons to Evans would be Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and James Harden, then of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Curry was drafted by Golden State three picks after Evans was picked up by Sacramento. The Thunder picked Harden third overall in the same draft.
@warriorsworld he said on the radio a few days ago he'd take Curry over Evans to have on his team. Lost a lot of respect for him on that one
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 11, 2010
"Steph's a phenomenal player. But Tyreke — that's a grown-ass man." — Kobe Bryant, as quoted by SLAM's @ITSjonsantiago
— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) March 19, 2010
Dear NBA world, stop fetishizing the "chemistry pick" of Harden over Evans/Curry, OKC just screwed up, there's no sense in it
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 23, 2010
@MR_FJG_SON Thanks, well, I think Harden can be good, just not Curry/Reke level
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 21, 2010
Curry went on to become a two-time NBA MVP and was a main cog in Golden State’s phenomenal success as an NBA title contender and champion. James Harden is a five-time NBA All-Star. Evans would later be acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal in the summer of 2013. Evans was no longer the rising star he was projected to be by many during his rookie season, while Curry remains one of the top stars of the league.
It is true, Evans was lighting up the score sheets with an impressive rookie campaign, and the rookie of the year stuff was not pure fluff material by homer media personalities.
Best part of Cavs-Sacto game is watching Tyreke Evans..how can anybody else be ROY, including Jennings?..the Evans kid is no kid..
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) December 24, 2009
If you still aren't sold on Tyreke Evans as a future superstar, the 35-point second-half comeback should have you buying. (via @NBATVRick)
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 22, 2009
As Tyreke Evans contnues to display more of his all-court game, he increasingly reminds me of Dwyane Wade.
— Ailene Voisin (@ailene_voisin) December 5, 2009
The Kings recently welcomed back Evans to their franchise following a trade with the Pelicans that shipped Cousins to the Big Easy. The Kings have since then been a scrambling PR nightmare on top of the years of past mismanagement. Perhaps it is fitting that one of the pieces in the deal with New Orleans is Evans, who comes back to Sacramento for a second tour of duty after being nothing more than a mere throw-in to complete the trade.
Finally, here’s one process you probably don’t want to trust…
I'm getting all of these Kings games from my DVR to my computer and watching in the process. Tyreke Evans is flat out amazing
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) November 30, 2009