By: Justice Bolden
It is widely reported that if Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace had his way back during the 2009 NBA Draft, he likely would have selected former University of Memphis star Tyreke Evans, who spent one lone season in college with the Tigers helping them reel off 27 straight wins along with a Sweet 16 berth in the process.
In fact, I recall running into Wallace in Memphis’ South Main District prior to the 2009 draft and mentioning to him that I like Tyreke and he responded, “so do we”.
Ultimately the late Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley on advice from Tony Barone Sr. and former Grizzlies executive Jerry West ultimately overruled Wallace and selected Hasheen Thabeet, who is considered one of the bigger draft “bust” in NBA history.
Evans, not two-time NBA Champion and former NBA MVP Steph Curry would go on to win the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year award, but injuries have slowed down what once seemed to be a career that would feature several NBA All-Star selections.
The Memphis Grizzlies are continuing their summer roster transformation to a much younger and more athletic team following the additions of former Sacramento Kings guard 6-foot-5 Ben McCelmore, 2017 PAC 12 Player of Year and 6-foot-6 guard/forward Dillon Brooks, 6-foot-10 second round draft pick Ivan Rabb, and the re-signing of 6-foot-five athletic power-guard Wayne Seldon.
The Grizz now look to push the reset button on the 6-foot-6 Evans’ career beginning in the 2017-18 season.
If Evans, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania is able to follow in the footsteps of past Grizz reclamation projects such as Zach Randolph, then Grizz Nation can expect for him to “Reke Havoc” on smaller Western Conference shooting guards using his long arms, 6-6 frame, Rucker Park-like ball handling ability, and an uncanny ability to utilize his patented Euro-step to finish in the lane.
Evans despite having 8 NBA seasons under his belt, is just 27 years-old and should be entering the prime of his career though he has averaged a solid 16.1 points during his time in the league.
He has been traded three times during his career, but has only played with New Orleans and Sacramento (two separate stints) since being drafted with the fourth overall pick in 2009.