Evans on pace for 20-5-5 season

In his NBA Awards Watch, ESPN’s Maurice Brooks notes that Tyreke Evans is on pace to join LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson as the only first-year players to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season. (Note: Evans is actually averaging 20.5-4.9-5.4, but he averaged 5.8 rebounds in February, so if he keeps that up, he shouldn’t have any problem averaging five boards a game.)

Unfortunately, this fine play has not translated to wins. The Kings have lost 25 of their last 32 games, and are now just 20-40 on the season.

Still, it makes me wonder how a 2009 NBA Draft Re-Do would go. The last one I saw still had Blake Griffin going #1 with Evans going #2. Would the Clippers really pass on a player like Evans — who really could have been named to the All-Star Game in his rookie season — for Griffin, knowing that the former Sooner was going to miss his first year with a knee injury? Griffin still projects to be a star, but Evans is the proverbial “bird in the hand” at this point, isn’t he?

In his ROY race, Brooks ranks Stephen Curry second (22-5-7 in Feb) and Darren Collison third (22-4-8 in Feb). Brandon Jennings (11-4-6, 31% shooting in Feb) has lost his touch and is ranked fourth. DeJuan Blair (11-5, 60% shooting in Feb) comes in fifth, but if Antonio McDyess misses any time with a sore knee, Blair should get some extra minutes.

In my Top 10 Head Scratchers of the 2009 NBA Offseason, I wrote the following about Blair:

10. Six teams pass on DeJuan Blair IN THE SECOND ROUND!
When I first heard that there were concerns about Blair’s knees, I thought he might fall into the bottom third of the first round. Even if the guy is missing ligaments in his knees, he was still one of the best rebounders in all of college basketball last season and he ate up #2 pick Hasheem Thabeet in Connecticut. When Blair fell into the second round I was stunned as the Kings, Wizards, Blazers, Nuggets, Pistons and Grizzlies all passed on Blair. A second round pick doesn’t require the same kind of financial commitment as a first round pick, so there’s very little downside if the guy doesn’t pan out. Blair fell and fell, right into the inviting arms of the Spurs, who will be lucky to have him on the roster for the foreseeable future.

Teams just could get their heads around the fact that Blair has no ACLs in his knees. While I sort of understand not wanting to commit first round money, it doesn’t make any sense for the aforementioned teams to pass on him in the second round, where there is very little financial investment. This goes double for the two “contenders” on that list — I’m looking at you Portland and Denver — who should be worried about the short term and not the long term impact of their second round picks. Blair would give the Nuggets some much needed toughness, and he’d sure help in Portland, where half the front line is out for the season with injury.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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