Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Most everybody agrees that the top fantasy player out of this year's rookie NBA class will likely be Los Angeles Clippers' forward Blake Griffin, who is averaging 15.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the preseason. But the quest for a challenger to Griffin has no true consensus.
I'm here to tell you that player is likely Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans.
In preseason, Evans is fourth in scoring among rookies, behind forward DeJuan Blair of San Antonio, guard Jeff Teague of Atlanta and point guard Jonny Flynn of Minnesota. But when they start playing for real, Blair will be stuck on the Spurs bench, Teague will be mostly watching Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby and Flynn will share time with Ramon Sessions.
Meanwhile, Evans has a good chance to start in the backcourt alongside Kevin Martin if not on opening day, then by mid-season. Last year's starter at point guard was Beno Udrih, a career bench player with the Spurs, who averaged 11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 4.7 apg. But if Evans' first three games are any indication, the upside on Evans is much better than Udrih. Evans is currently averaging 13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 5.0 apg.
Since Sacramento is a team building for the future with youngsters like 23- year-old Jason Thompson, 21-year-old Spencer Hawes and the 20-year-old Evans, why start the journeyman over the rookie? The sooner Evans gets out there, the sooner he learns and the sooner he produces.
Evans is very strong and knows how to get to the basket, but is still a "work- in-progress" as a point guard. And to get enough playing time to warrant notice from fantasy owners, he will need to be a point guard - he's not going to get much playing time at shooting guard with Martin around.
I'd expect the former Memphis star (17.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.9 apg as a freshman) to be starting by January 1st and producing borderline fantasy numbers even before that.
On Thursday, Evans produced some very "Jason Kidd" type numbers - 13 points, nine assists, eight rebounds in 39 minutes.
In my first fantasy league Evans was selected with the No.151 pick - 13th round. His latest Average Draft Position, now that owners have seen him in action, is up to No.133. Don't forget this "kid" in your fantasy draft.