Every year I have that one guy who looks like a steal in the spot I picked him, but then ends up giving me not only Larry Demic-type numbers, but a bleeding ulcer as well. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Tyreke Evans, who fell to me in the middle of the third round of the Damn Lies draft.
I really didn’t see much of Evans as a rookie. I knew he put up some pretty fancy numbers, and although I heard that he couldn’t shoot straight, he did manage 45 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the line; definitely livable. This was the third round, and despite some mild plantar fasciitis in training camp, I thought for sure he’d be gone. I was licking my chops for either Monta Ellis or Derrick Rose, but they were both selected earlier in the round, Rose just two spots ahead of me. I’ve since left my chops alone.
If you’re an avid reader of Fox Unbalanced, you know that I harp on the fact that numbers do lie. In the case of Evans, we have the paradigm. I swear he puts up 11-1-3 on 5-of-17 from the floor every night, but he is somehow averaging 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists on a grotesque 40 percent shooting. His shot selection is an atrocity, he has zero touch, he is selfish, and he prances around the court as if he’ll get tasered if he does anything full speed. Beyond that, he’s fantastic. The plantar fasciitis and his other ailments to his lower extremities aren’t going away anytime soon, so I guess I’ll be wallowing in it until I can figure out a way to exorcise him from my squad or Paul Westphal from Sacramento. He went for a precautionary x-ray on Tuesday and a precautionary MRI today on his feet. Tomorrow he goes for a CT scan on his bruised ego.
Evans is not the only high draft pick who is crushing his owners’ hopes and dreams. Let’s examine a few others who are smelling up the room.
Fox Unbalanced All-Lysol Team (Pick # is from Damn Lies draft)
Brook Lopez (Pick #13), C, NJN (18.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, .439 fg)
A 76-year old Bill Russell could come out of retirement and average more boards than Lopez given the same 35.5 minutes a night. How is this even possible? Shouldn’t at least seven easy ones fall into his lap every night? More troubling is the 44 percent shooting, which is killing his owners. He desperately needs to change his demeanor on the court; maybe go Edgar Jones on us before Avery Johnson completely ruins his career. Forget Russell! Wilt could still corral double-digit boards from his bordello in the sky.
Brandon Roy (Pick #23), G, POR (18.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, .414 fg)
In defense of Mr. Roy, he has the knees of Peter Stuyvesant and is still kind of carrying the load in Portland. He is not on a minutes restriction and we’ll see if he’ll be able to play in the second of back-to-backs. His current numbers mark the worst of his career and it doesn’t look like the picture is going to get any rosier over time.
Jason Kidd (Pick #25), G, DAL (8.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 8.9 apg, 1.6 spg, .352 fg)
Kidd’s salad days as a fantasy monster appear to be over as he is averaging career lows in points, rebounds, field goal percentage and free throws attempted (1.0). He has looked 37 since he was a college sophomore, but he is now producing as if he is 37, in dog years. I still expect a bit of a bounce-back this season, but he’s pushing 1,400 career games, including playoffs.
Joe Johnson (Pick # 29) G, ATL (17.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 0.7 spg, .409 fg)
This past summer I did say that it would take Hawks management a good night’s sleep before realizing they committed an error of monumental proportions by signing Johnson to a max contract. It actually took about a month as Rick Sund just purchased a timeshare in southern Mars. The 10th-year shooting guard is putting up his worst numbers as a member of the Hawks and is now lost for four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right elbow. If Larry Drew keeps Johnson’s innings to a minimum, he should be okay for the stretch run.
Chauncey Billups (Pick #30) G, DEN (14.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 5.2 apg, .358 fg)
Mr. Big Shot appears to have lost a step in his age 34 season. His numbers are down pretty dramatically across the board, particularly in field goal percentage, and owners who wasted a third- or fourth-round pick on him are welling up as we speak. I would hang on to him though, as not only is his value low, but there also aren’t too many guards capable of 2.0+ threes and 90 percent accuracy from the line.
Darren Collison (Pick #40) G, IND (14.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.0 apg)
We weren’t sure if Collison’s freakish numbers while starting for an injured Chris Paul last year in New Orleans were real. Now that he is running the show in a helter-skelter system in Indiana, it’s becoming clear that he will be a serviceable starter, but not good enough to justify the fourth-round selection that most made on him. His percentages are solid, but he is simply not attempting enough threes (1.5) and his lack of assists is a mystery.
Fox Unbalanced will appear in these pages every Thursday. If you or someone you know views a Grizzlies/Raptors game as a religious experience, this could be the perfect destination for you. Feel free to chime in with some feedback.