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While an injury bug has kept guard Tyreke Evans out of the rotation in recent years; he’s looking better than ever as a member of Grind City.

It’s been an incredibly surprising and entertaining start to the 2017-2018 NBA season. There’s been monstrous dunks, last second wins, and unfortunately a huge injury bug. A usual victim to the latter, guard Tyreke Evans is healthy; and balling out of his mind.

Through the first twelve games of the year, the former Rookie of the Year is averaging 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and and 1.2 steals per game.

With his help, the Memphis Grizzlies have maintained a steady 7-5 record (.714) and are 5th in the Western Conference.

Let me take you back to a simpler time, the summer of 2016. The Memphis Grizzlies were coming off an 42-40 year and first round shutout in the playoffs. With cap space in play to sign a max free agent, they set their eyes on forward Chandler Parsons.

Coming off a year where he averaged 13.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in Dallas, he was offered a max deal by the Portland Trailblazers.

Instead, he decided to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies, on a four-year/$94-million contract that would go down in history. Not in a positive light, as it will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the worst contracts in franchise history.

Parsons first year as a Memphis Grizzly consisted of 34 games, and a lowly 6.2 points per game average. The franchise max money had gone to waste, as well as another season of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol’s capability to contend.

Fast forward to this season, where Parsons was expected to make a full rebound, healthy again. He hasn’t.

It’s the Grizzlies’ other fallen warrior, Tyreke Evans, who’s put on a comeback.

He missed over half the 2016-2017 season with the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings with three separate knee surgeries. It wasn’t until January that he found any kind of stride shooting the ball. With four months left on a contract year, it seemed like some bad luck for a guy looking to get paid.

Evans was signed to a one-year deal worth $3.3 million. A simple experiment by the Grizzlies and himself, to see if he’s ready.

Check these highlights from the Memphis win over Portland. You’ll see promising results by all means.

Though on a minute restriction, he has used his 27.1 minutes (on average) to make the greatest impact.

Per 36 minutes, Evans is averaging: 23.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals. That sounds like a player working on a max deal.

That is exactly why he’s been so clutch for this Memphis team and franchise alike. Evans has been the band-aid for the Parsons free agency injury. He can’t fix it, but he’ll be there until it’s just a scar.

His play makes us forget (if only temporarily) that the Grizzlies are paying Parsons $281K a game to put up six points. That, is why Evans will continue to be the most clutch player on the most competitive team in the NBA.

In an interview with Basketball Insiders, he said it’s nice proving teams who passed up on him in free agency wrong.

“Yeah, definitely. I’m gonna make everyone pay for that too. I mean a lot of teams didn’t want to risk it because of the knee, but I mean I want to thank Memphis for giving me the opportunity to show my talent and let me play the game I know I can play. And teams see that wishing they could have me on their team.”

He’s doing a great job of that so far, and health barring, will continue to do so as the Grizzlies inch back towards the playoffs.

In Memphis, Evans has become the guy that Parsons couldn’t. He’s clutch, he’s quick, he’s cheap, and he’s shooting damn well from three (43 percent.)

Simply, he is everything the Memphis Grizzlies embody as a team. Dedicated to the grind, and willing to fight nail and tooth if it means winning.

Welcome back Tyreke. You were worth the wait.

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