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NBA AM: Evans Eager For Season To Start
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On September 28, 2012 @ 9:39 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans is entering the most important season of his young career. The front office has opted to wait on giving him an extension, meaning his play this season will largely determine how long his next contract is and how much it’s worth.
While that decision has dominated the headlines, Evans’ offseason dedication has largely flown under the radar. He’s been working out extensively with the Kings’ coaching staff basically all summer.
“I feel great, I’m excited,” Evans said to HOOPSWORLD. “I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready to make an impact and show what I’ve been working on.”
This has been a productive offseason for the Kings as a whole, not just Evans. They started things off strongly by drafting power forward Thomas Robinson fifth overall. Robinson, who plays with a motor that never stops, has the ability to really help the Kings in the rebounding department, where they were out-rebounded by 2.1 boards per game on average last season.
Then, in free agency, they landed one of the best bargains out there in free agent guard Aaron Brooks. Brooks will provide depth at the point guard position behind Isaiah Thomas and ensure that Evans doesn’t have to play out of position any longer.
Those significant additions have Evans feeling really optimistic about their chances to take a big step forward this season.
“I think we can do good things this year,” Evans said. “We didn’t get a training camp last year, so I think this year we just have to learn to play together, once we get that part out of the way where we can play together, I think we can be a great team.”
While a full-length training camp and ample practice time in season is important to all the teams, it especially means a lot to the Kings. It gives head coach Keith Smart, who had the interim tag removed this summer, the opportunity to really put his system into place after having to take over early last season when Paul Westphal was fired. Even though the situation wasn’t ideal, Smart shined and won over the locker room in a big way.
“I’m happy,” Evans said. “He is a good coach. He worked his way up and deserves it. If you need help, he’s going to let you know. He really gets us to believe to trust each other, see the big picture and rally around each other so I’m glad that he’s back because he’s a big part.”
As Evans gets ready for the start of training camp next week, he took a quick trip back to his hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania to team up with VSP Vision Care and announce that they will be offering free eye care and eyewear to all residents without vision coverage.
“It’s good, I like to create these good moments,” Evans said. “Just knowing that I was one of these kids out here playing basketball with my friends. I know this isn’t an easy place to make it out of. I know the kids out here think they can go out and make it to the NBA, but everybody can’t make it, so I just tell them to have other goals too and to just keep working hard.
“It’s been great. We have a lot of kids that come in who have never had an eye exam. For example, one kid, when he first came in his vision was so bad, but he still excelled in the classroom. That can have a big effect on a kid’s learning, so for them to have the opportunity to get free glasses and have better vision is important.”
No matter what happens this season or where Evans ends up if he does become a free agent, he plans to continue his partnership with VSP Vision Care as they look to expand to more cities.
The Down Part of Curry’s Summer: Overall, this was a very good offseason for Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. The Warriors made several big moves to improve their standing in the Western Conference, his ankle healed up fully and he became a father for the first time. But, it wasn’t all great for Curry. There was something that really bothered him that could serve as motivation moving forward.
“I was surprised,” Curry said to Big Lead Sports about not receiving an invite to try out for the Olympic team. “I couldn’t believe it. I was very frustrated I didn’t get an invite, and I never got to have a conversation with them about it. Coach K and Mr. Colangelo put together a great roster for the World Championships in 2010, and I was fortunate to be a part of it and win a gold medal. I thought I played well and I thought I’d get a shot at making the Olympic roster, but it didn’t happen for me. I definitely had it in my sights. When they started making the decisions in April, I was out with the ankle injury, but the invite decisions came down before that.”
As much as Curry would have liked to represent the United States again, the Warriors are probably relieved he wasn’t able to. And, it may be for the best for him as well. He’s eligible for an extension this year and in order to receive an offer in the range he’s looking for he’s going to have to have a big year and, most importantly, stay healthy.
“I get asked about it often, but the answer is always the same – this is where I’m eligible for an extension,” Curry said. “I want to stay in Golden State and secure a future with the team. I’m not going to let the negotiations [interfere] with what I’m doing on the court. When the right offer comes, I’m ready. If not … then we’ll wait until next summer.
“Some other fourth year players that are having the same conversation. And it’s a good conversation to be part of. I’m an NBA junkie and I know all of the latest news and contract situations. But I won’t base my decision on, ‘oh, this guy makes a certain amount, I need to make more’ or that kind of thing. It’s about timing in the NBA and the right situation, and winning more than money. But yeah, I know everybody’s contract, that’s common knowledge, but it doesn’t impact my situation.
“I keep up with the latest news by following a lot of reporters and team feeds and other players on Twitter. That’s where I get most of my information. I go on the internet to stay in the know – hey, it is a business, and you need to know what’s going on in the business.”
If Curry can play the whole season and lead the Warriors back to the playoffs, he’ll be lined up for a big pay day. The Warriors obviously value him greatly, but just want to be sure they can depend on him before they make a big financial commitment. Curry’s ankle has kept him from being on the court as much as they wanted, but he’s hoping that’s an issue of the past now.
“The ankle is perfect,” Curry said. “I was cleared last week to resume all activities with no limitations but I obviously can’t jump back into playing 48 minutes a night right away. But it’s all been good news, and I’m getting ready for training camp. Rehab was frustrating. For the first two months I couldn’t put any weight on the ankle, and there was a lot of sitting around doing nothing. Once I got the boot off, it was 2-3 hours a day of icing it and some upper body strength work. Eventually I got more active and started to do more lifting and core work and coordination drills.
“It definitely tested my patience. I’m the type of guy who wants to be involved in everything, and I missed offseason workouts. I’ve never had injuries in my career – maybe I missed a game in high school and one in college. Dealing with the time off … it was really frustrating.”
Fines For Flopping: NBA fans will be relieved to know that one of the biggest issues plaguing today’s game, flopping, is on the verge of becoming a finable offense according to Howard Beck of The New York Times. There will not be any in-game punishment, but they will be reviewed after and a fine will be possible.
Getting rid of flopping has been a major topic of discussion over recent years. Hitting players in their wallets, where it hurts the most, may be a good start to ridding the game of this dishonest technique.
Free Agency Update: While several teams have finalized their rosters for training camp, there are still a few experienced players who are unsigned. Here’s a quick update on their statuses.
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