Next week marks the end of an era in Sacramento. Tyreke Evans is leaving the only NBA city he’s ever known when he signs a new $44-million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. As the Evans era comes to a close, let’s look back at some of the most memorable moments of the soon-to-be-ex King’s career in the capital city.
Tyreke outduels Brandon Jennings
After years of battling on the AAU circuit, Jennings and Evans finally took their rivalry to the pro level. Both players had gotten their NBA careers off to a strong start, with Jennings most notably dropping a double nickel on the Golden State Warriors a month earlier. But in their first head-to-head battle in the league, Evans came away with the victory. He scored a game-high 24 points and euro-stepped his way to this game-winning layup in the contest’s final seconds.
The comeback in Chicago
With 8 minutes and 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Kings trailed the Chicago Bulls by a seemingly insurmountable 79-44 deficit. But the Kings somehow found a way to turn it around in the Windy City with Evans leading the charge. Evans scored 18 of his 23 points in the game’s final 21 minutes, including this jumper over Luol Deng late in the fourth quarter. The Kings and Evans went on to win 102-98, marking one of the largest comebacks in NBA history. In fact, there still hasn’t been a comeback to come close to this 35-point, come-from-behind win in the last 17 years.
A triple-double first
With just a month to go in the NBA season, Evans was one of the leading candidates for rookie of the year and the Kings’ marketing department was in full promotional mode. In an effort to highlight Evans’ push for the award, the Kings christened a meaningless contest against the Toronto Raptors “Rally for RekeROY Night”. Despite the circus surrounding the game, Evans didn’t cave into the hype and recorded his first career triple-double – 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a blowout victory over the Raptors.
Tyreke cements his historic rookie season
Entering a late season game against the Houston Rockets,Evans needed just 24 points to make history. With two made free throws midway through the fourth quarter, he did just, solidifying himself as one of just four players in NBA history to average 20 points, five assists and five rebounds in their rookie seasons. Joining the company of Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Oscar Robertson was both a gift and a curse for Evans. It cemented his case for rookie of the year, but set the expectations throw the roof for the remainder of his time in Sacramento.
The miracle against Memphis
For all the criticisms of his jumper, there was one shot from the perimeter that Evans could be counted on to take – his half-court heave. In an early season match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies, he made arguably the most iconic shot in his four-season stint with the Kings. With 1.5 seconds remaining, Evans splashed in a near 60-foot heave to give the Kings a 100-98 win inside ARCO Arena. What was just as memorable as the shot? Former King Donté Greene‘s celebration before the ball even touched net.
Was there a moment that we missed? Share in the comments below.