Tyreke Evans often attacks the basket, but the Indiana Pacers guard is struggling to do well what he does the most and might be the worst in the NBA at it.
The story of Tyreke Evans and the Indiana Pacers isn’t a particularly positive one. After a very rough start — he is finally shooting above 38 percent — he got back to a point where he didn’t feel like a drag on the bench’s offense.
February had its ups and downs as the team adjusted to life without Victor Oladipo, but Evans’ downward trajectory continued into March. The absence of Domantas Sabonis exposed many of the bench’s and Evans flaws, giving us a nagging feeling that Evans does more harm than good to the Pacers.
This is mainly because of the fact that a few of the things he does the most is what he is truly awful at.
His inability to finish at the rim — a 48.5 field goal percentage from that range — plays a key role in his struggles. Out of the 247 players that have attempt two shots a game in the restricted area, Evans is effectively dead last with a 44.9 FG%. Inside of 8-feet, only one other player in the NBA is worse.
Out of the 193 players that drive to the basket at least four times a game, Evans ranks dead last in field goal percentage on that type of play. With nearly three drives a game resulting in shot attempts, Evans is posting a 33.5 FG%. Around a fifth of his shots come on driving lay-ups, but unfortunately, he shoots 27.2 percent on those attempts.
Even when he goes for pull-up jumpers, he ranks near the bottom of the league at 31.8 percent on his pull-up attempts.
For the volume at which Evans tends to drive towards the hoop, he isn’t particularly good at scoring once he gets there. On the bright side, he doesn’t turn the ball over often in those situations, but he isn’t creating assists very often, either.
Why does he keep doing this? It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Early in his career — and after winning Rookie of the Year — Evans was shooting over 60 percent when he got to the basket. But it’s been an all but completely downward trend the past four years for him when he attacks.
Evans is running head first into a wall by continually driving to the basket and into the paint. When he plays with Sabonis there is at least more space or the opportunity to find an open shooter. But even then, it arguable that Evans is breaking even and Sabonis is carrying the bench’s overall success on his shoulders.
Outside of his 3-point shooting, a respectable 35.1 percent, the things Evans does the most are some of his biggest weaknesses. If he didn’t play serviceable defense — he isn’t afraid to use a little physicality to disrupt his opponents. — he would likely be a major drag on the bench’s production. To his credit, the team has a positive net rating when he is on the floor, but nearly the entire roster can say that.
Evans might not be dragging down the Pacers, but his inability to score on shots that make up nearly half of his field goal attempts certainly doesn’t raise Indiana’s ceiling.