Tyreke Evans is hardly a flawless player. Quite the opposite, most focus on his flaws more than his strengths. Evans can get to the basket seemingly at will, so this makes him a ball hog in the eyes of some. Never mind that a drive by Evans is one of the most efficient plays in the Pelicans arsenal. Of course, those drive could, and should be more efficient.
Evans is shooting 54.2% within the restricted area this season. This is below his career average 59.4% and well below his performance in Sacramento, where he shot 62.3% within three feet of the basket. 54.2% is below average in the NBA for shots within three feet. It is also well above average for two point attempts, where the NBA shoots 48.6%.
All this to say while a Tyreke Evans layup attempt (to say nothing of offensive rebound opportunities created) converts below NBA average for that area, in the grand scheme of things it is still an efficient choice. An Evans layup attempt turns into 108.4 points per 100 possessions. League average according to Nylon Calculus is 106.8. Add in that an Evans miss is rebounded by the Pelicans 33.3% of the time and an Evans drive is a top 10 offense by itself.
Where's the Foul?
There is another aspect to this is getting to the foul line. This is an area that Evans excelled at, as recently as last season. In the last two years (his last in Sacramento and his first in New Orleans) had a free throw attempt rate (free throw attempts divided by field goals attempts) of 0.350. This season that number is a paltry 0.245. What's the difference? 82 fewer free throws this season.
For a team like the Pelicans, one with just a +19 scoring margin over 52 games, those 82 free throws are enormous. 56 points at Evans current free throw percentage. The difference of a couple losses turning into wins at minimum can be found where these missing free throw attempts lie.
Some may hypothesize that Evans is taking more jump shots which would naturally lead to fewer shooting fouls. This is not the case. 56.7% of Tyreke's shots are coming within three feet of the basket, the highest rate of his entire career. In fact since arriving in New Orleans Evans has taken an extreme Daryl Morey approach to the game, attempting just 11.6% of his shots from mid range this season, a dramatic decrease from the 23.3% while a Sacramento King.
I have no answers to fix Evans sudden plunge in free throw attempts. If Evans can start getting foul calls that have eluded him to this point, the Pelicans will be a tough out in the last two months of the season. If not, continued frustration is sure to follow.