Most underrated NBA free agent available | Bonehead Picks

The most underrated NBA free agent available for the summer of 2018

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This summer, the NBA free agency of LeBron James will loom over much of the sports world. James opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers to pursue unrestricted free agency this summer. He is joined by a number of NBA All-Stars and likely future Hall of Famers like Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Paul George during a summer in which many of the NBA’s best teams have little salary cap flexibility. Regardless, there will be player movement and there are other free agents available this summer who can play an important part in improving a NBA team during the 2018-19 season. One free agent that has flown under the NBA radar is a former NBA Rookie of the Year and top five NBA Draft pick who can definitely help a team.

Former University of Memphis swingman Tyreke Evans was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. The same 2009 NBA Draft that featured Blake Griffin as the number one overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers and contained two future NBA MVPs in Stephen Curry and James Harden. It was Tyreke Evans that won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award over guys like Curry, Harden, and DeMar DeRozan from that NBA Draft class as Blake Griffin missed the 2009-10 NBA season due to injury. Evans had a very productive rookie season with the Kings in which he averaged over 20 points a game, 5 rebounds a game, and 5 assists a game as a rookie. He was the fourth rookie in NBA history to post those numbers joining some NBA legends in Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Given that production, NBA superstardom seemed inevitable for Tyreke Evans but it wasn’t to be.

Early in his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings, Evans spent his first four years in the chaos of the Kings organization with multiple head coaches and a young, combustible DeMarcus Cousins as a teammate. He was unfortunately part of a three team trade on July 10, 2013 when he was sent to the New Orleans Pelicans. However, he was unable to provide a consistent scoring option next to a young and ultratalented Anthony Davis. He also faced a number of injuries in New Orleans before being traded back to the Kings in 2017 in the big DeMarcus Cousins trade. He signed in the summer of 2017 with the Memphis Grizzlies for a mere $3.2 million.

During the 2017-18 season, Tyreke Evans was the second leading scorer on a Memphis Grizzlies team that struggled greatly with injuries and instability following the firing of former head coach David Fizdale. Evans also shot just under 40 percent from three and added five rebounds and five assists a game. He can help team as a key role role player with the versatility to play either the small forward or shooting guard position. He isn’t a plus defender but he isn’t a defensive liability either and he would be a potential good fit for teams like the 76ers, Lakers, or the Clippers.

 

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