Evans is the perfect piece on an imperfect Raptors team that slowly is changing its image and culture.
General manager Bryan Colangelo has taken a lot of heat, but his acquisition of Evans, which cost the Raptors the services of Jason Kapono, is such a good move that only the most idiotic of basketball observers would dare offer a dissenting opinion.
Evans will push the team’s bigs like no other in recent history.
The guy doesn’t have to score a single point, but his presence alone gives the Raptors an edge that sorely has been lacking.
Evans will practise like he plays — hard.
He’ll set hard picks and put a body on an opponent.
"The only way you’re going to succeed in this game is certain people have to bring certain things to the table," Evans said yesterday after taking his physical at the Air Canada Centre, the final step to completing the deal for Jason Kapono.
"Like Chris Bosh: We look to him to get buckets, rebounds, that’s what he (does). Everybody has their different roles on a team, mine are to rebound and play some of the tougher guys at my position.
"I have fun doing that, I don’t mind doing that, I love doing that. It’s a perfect fit … it’s going to be fun."
The personable big man doesn’t mind rubbing people the wrong way in practice either, making him a necessary piece of sandpaper in a dressing room that has been short on grit recently.
“I don’t bite my tongue,” said Evans, 29. “If I feel something isn’t right, I’m not going to look to the coach: ‘Coach, can you tell him.’ I’ll tell him myself. The only way to get better is to work hard. If you want to relax, go sit down or go home.”
Oakley, the highly quotable, equally grimy forward, was a key part of the Raptors from 1999 to 2001. Evans spots one key difference.
"Comparison-wise, I don’t know, because he had a jumper," said Evans, who met with the media yesterday after being acquired a week ago from Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Kapono. "He could shoot a 17-foot jumper, 15, 17 feet. So you couldn’t really leave Oakley. So we don’t really compare. I defer a lot of jumpers. Pass it, set a pick … I’m not going to say I’m not going to shoot. I’ll shoot one now and then, every blue moon … I’ll give you a shot a month."
9 – Toronto Raptors - Tyreke Evans
Evans will have a nice career, but I question his shot selection and ability to run the point. He’s going to be a lot like Larry Hughes; He thinks he has a jump shot, but he doesn’t. There lies the shot selection issues. But even if Evans can’t play the one, the Wolves have a vacancy at the shooting guard spot too. I like Demar Derozan more for them here, but his stock has dropped.
Evans’s reputation preceded him on the Raptors because forward Chris Bosh told reporters he hated playing against him.
"That is a good thing," Evans said with a hearty laugh. "That lets me know I’m doing something good."
"When Chris says he doesn’t like me, I don’t like Chris. I like him now because we’re teammates, but I didn’t like him either.
"There is nothing bad about it. It is a good thing."
9. Toronto Raptors – Demar DeRozan SF, USC – The Raptors need help at the wing because they could potentially be losing Anthony Parker and Shawn Marion to free agency. DeRozan, because is so athletically gifted and could play the 2, could be drafted even higher by either the Wizards or Timberwolves. If DeRozan is gone, the Raptors can look at point guard or someone else to fill their void at the three or two.
7th – Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Charlie Villanueva, F, UConn
New Pick: Andrew Bynum, C, High School
It creates a lot of size in the frontcourt. I’d love to go point guard here, but they had Calderon just waiting to take over. Not to mention that Mike James played 37 minutes a night. This draft doesn’t have much else. And maybe playing alongside Bosh would have helped Bynum’s progression.
Late Monday afternoon Greg Gamble got an important phone call. It was from the Toronto Raptors. They wanted him to come to Toronto and workout for the team Tuesday morning. Gamble drove to Toronto late Monday afternoon.
It was the first workout for an NBA team in his career. Gamble played his high school ball at Niagara Falls. He was a key player on that 2005 Niagara Falls Championship team. Gamble played his college ball at the University of Buffalo.
A position switch before his senior really helped Gamble open some eyes. He was a swingman his first three years but switched to point guard for his senior year.
9. TORONTO: DeMar DeRozan 6-6 211 SG/SF Fr. USC
The Raptors need a wing player who can penetrate and get to the rim. With DeRozan still on the board, he would be a wise choice. The pick would come down to DeRozan and Gerald Henderson. Either one could be a reincarnation of Vince Carter, something Toronto fans would like to see.
The Toronto Raptors announced they have extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent guard-forward Carlos Delfino. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.
In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its rights of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent it must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal in favour of the NBA team for which the player last played.
Jrue Holiday, point, 6?4.5? 200, Fr. UCLA
Toronto is, pure and simple, in need of a good wing from this draft. And DeRozan and Evans (more of a point-wing) are gone. What’s left is a bunch of point guards. Despite having Calderon in the fold, I think the Raptors have to go BPA here and figure it all out later. And BPA, despite his underwhelming freshman year at UCLA, is Jrue Holiday. They aren’t going to want to play him next to Calderon in light of how badly he played the off-guard next to Darren Collison, but they’ll figure something out.
9. Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan, SF, USC – This is a high risk, high reward pick for the Raptors. DeRozan was one of the most hyped freshmans in the nation last year, but had a forgettable season until the end-of-year tournaments started. DeRozan stepped his game up and took USC to the NCAA tournament almost single-handedly. He looked very good in the tournament and in terms of potential, is an elite prospect. DeRozan has the skills to be an excellent, all-star level talent, but he has trouble creating his own shot and had only a handful of elite NCAA performances.
The Raptors could go for a safer pick in Gerald Henderson or Jrue Holiday, but it says here Bryan Colangelo will go for the home run and take DeRozan.
Regardless, if Delfino chooses to sign with Toronto he’ll bring more toughness and perimeter defense to a team in desperate need of both. His stunning good looks and chiseled jaw-line aren’t bad either, it’s ok to man-crush on the Argentinian heartthrob… he is that good looking.
Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis
Tyreke is mature enough physically to handle the rigors of the NBA, and can play both guard positions. Not only can he play the 2-guard next to Calderon, but he’s a significant upgrade at the point guard position for spot minutes, as he’ll come in and instantly be our second best PG. Hopefully he can add some excitement and scoring to help convince Chris Bosh to stick around past this season.
Toronto Raptors – Jonny Flynn (G/Syracuse)
It seems as though the Raptors are in this position year after year. Each new year seems to be the year that the Toronto Raptors should be a team that makes a run, should be a team that makes the playoff, or even a team that’s competitive, but alas, it never is. This team has a nice nucleus of talent around the basket, and even out towards the perimeter. What it lacks though is passion or a spark. That type of grit that can be brought from a floor general, someone who wants to win. That’s why I think the Raptors will select Jonny Flynn.