Tyreke Evans was one of the best guards available in NBA free agency this offseason and had quite a few teams interested in signing him. Among those teams were the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite all of the interest in him, there was only one team that could offer the full package.
Indiana was the team that Evans chose to sign with. The two sides agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract, as SneakerReporter originally reported.
Evans will be the replacement for Lance Stephenson in Indiana, who saw his player option declined by the team early in the offseason. Kevin Pritchard and company are getting an upgrade at the backup shooting guard position. There are very few players in the NBA with the skillset that Evans brings to the court.
Last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Evans averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. He shot 45.2 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 39.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Evans’ ability to shoot the three has been a huge addition to his game over the past couple of years.
At 28 years old, Evans is in the prime of his career and is going to be a huge addition for the Pacers. Last season the Pacers came up just short to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but with James out of the East, Indiana is expected to be one of the top contenders in the conference.
All of that being said, why was signing Evans such a huge steal for the Pacers?
His Production Was Among the NBA Elite
Evans may not be given a lot of credit for his numbers from last season, but he was among NBA elites with his 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists averages. There were just seven other players in the league with those numbers. In case you’re wondering, the others were LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, and Blake Griffin.
Evans Is Lance Without the Antics
Indiana loved Stephenson, but he brought some bad antics to the court at times. Evans will play the same kind of game and have a bigger impact, but the antics will not be there. He is a much more solid all-around player that will be more consistent than Stephenson was for the Pacers in 2017-18.
Indiana Preserved It’s Cap Flexibility While Still Getting a Difference Maker
Pritchard has made it clear since taking over the general manager job in Indiana that he wants cap flexibility next offseason. Evans signed a one-year deal, which will give the Pacers as much cap room as they can get. There is a decent chance that if Evans plays like he did last season, the Pacers will bring him back, but there is no long-term risk with this deal.
Evans is going to be a fun player to watch for Indiana fans. He may not bring quite as much energy as Stephenson did, but he is a much better player and will help take the Pacers even further in the East.