Tyreke Evans was considered to be one of the top free agents available this offseason after a monstrous season in 2017-18 for the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite multiple teams being interested in him, Evans had some difficulty finding the right deal. When everything was said and done, Evans decided to sign with the Indiana Pacers on a one-year deal worth around $12 million.
Immediately after the signing, fans and media members began talking about how perfect his fit in Indiana will be. Assuming Evans can stay healthy, he will be the sixth man on a team that nearly beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs last year.
Lance Stephenson was in the same role last season, but was unable to provide consistency. His entertainment was beloved by fans in Indiana, but Evans will bring a much better all-around game. He will also be able to bring consistent production each and every night without the antics that sometimes held Stephenson back.
Bleacher Report has made it clear that they love the Pacers’ addition of Evans. They love it so much that they ranked it as the No. 3 biggest free agency signing this offseason. The only two moves ahead of it was LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers and DeMarcus Cousins heading to the Golden State Warriors.
“Why should we expect a drop-off now that he’s teaming up with Victor Oladipo to lead the Indiana Pacers to an even loftier seed in the Eastern Conference?
“The answer is simple: We shouldn’t. Evans is only 28 years old with a game just now blossoming. Benefited by newfound consistency from beyond the rainbow (43.8 percent with the Sacramento Kings in 2016-17 and 39.9 percent with even more volume for the Grizz), he’s keeping defenders off balance before picking them apart with pull-up jumpers and physical drives to the hoop. Wings already had trouble against Oladipo. Now, offense can come from more directions for a team that could have spacing at all five positions with the right lineup combinations.”
Last season with the Grizzlies, Evans averaged 19.4 points per game, to go along with 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds. He shot 45.2 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 39.9 percent of his three-point attempts.
Indiana needed a legitimate scorer to play alongside Victor Oladipo and come off the bench to lead the second unit. Evans is capable of doing both of those things. He will fit with Oladipo and can take over the reins of the offense when the Pacers’ star shooting guard needs to take a seat.
It was clear that the Pacers wanted Evans this offseason. Letting Stephenson go signaled a move coming to bring in another playmaker. Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ general manager, also noted how high the Pacers were on Evans heading into free agency.
All of that being said, the Pacers got a lot better this offseason. Evans is a major upgrade over Stephenson and Doug McDermott was a sneaky good pickup for the Pacers as well.
Oladipo and company may not be considered championship contenders, but they certainly have a shot to win the Eastern Conference.