Tyreke Evans Can Drive… But He Doesn’t Shoot

In the various American professional leagues’ amateur drafts, attention is paid to both physical and personal characteristics. The NFL is generally thought of as the most egregious offender in overanalysis of prospects, to the point where the 49ers reportedly ruled Matt Stafford out for not being open enough about his parents’ divorce or something.

Drive By Shooting
(Not the right way to get into the NBA, you’d think.)

The NBA’s got its horror stories too, like Arizona prospect Chase Budinger being questioned about whether he had some side action going on (seriously, even if Budinger had three different girls to get down with, would that really affect his draft status? Should it?). Curiously, Tyreke Evans, a medium-to-high lottery pick, doesn’t seem to have been hampered by what would seem to be a relatively major red flag: complicity in a drive-by shooting.

According to the DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES, Evans’ cousin, Jamar Evans, was just sentenced to 9-20 years in prison for a drive-by shooting… where Tyreke was the driver:

The car, in which Evans was a passenger and from where the fatal shot was fired, was driven by his cousin, Tyreke Evans, a standout basketball player this past season for the University of Memphis. He was also a star at the now-defunct American Christian School.

Tyreke Evans was not charged in connection with the case and had been expected to testify in his cousin’s behalf, but has not been present during any of the county court proceedings.

Oh dear. This practically begs for Bill Simmons jokes during tonight’s draft, doesn’t it? In light of the headline, we’re not in much of a position to moralize about this or anything, but it’s just worth remembering that in all of this, someone died, and someone else might not be off probation until his 47th birthday, and that’s assuming there’s nno violations in the interim. Kind of serious business here.

All that said, Evans’ draft stock seems completely unaffected. He’s being talked about near the 5th position, and this is strictly based on ability; we’ve not heard one draft preview where he’s described as a top 3 pick whose value is depressed because of “character issues” or “impression of one of the earlier missions in a Grand Theft Auto game.” And even if that were true and he went, say, sixth instead, um, that’s hardly a penalty.

No, Evans was never charged with a crime, and nobody can seriously expect Evans to pull out a bozack on the court during a game or anything, but if the NBA’s so serious about the players’ image on and off the court, doesn’t Evans seem like the last guy David Stern wants to shake hands with on stage? Seems weird.

(Tip of the hat, no wag of the finger: FANHOUSE.)