Kings At The Crossroads With Evans?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – As if there wasn’t already enough drama in Sacramento, the Kings have another issue looming in the near future that has nothing to do with a new arena or squabbling between ownership and civic leaders.

Sooner or later they have to decide what to do with the former Rookie of the Year and former prized point guard Tyreke Evans, the former face of the franchise who has been replaced in the starting lineup by another promising rookie, Isaiah Thomas.

There isn’t a more dangerous gamble than giving up too soon on a lottery pick. Teams do it all the time with mixed results — sometimes that picks turns out to be Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson or Tyson Chandler and sometimes he turns out to be Devin Harris or even Adam Morrison. There is really no crystal ball that allows an organization the luxury of knowing whether they have a championship piece or All-Star, a competent starter or a complete bust.

The jury is still out on Evans, whose skills and size suggest he should be able to determine his own fate based on his performance. But he’s become something of an enigma in Sacramento, where there seems to be a fundamental debate about his best position and whether or not he has the makeup to be a leader for a struggling franchise.

Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee tackles this dilemma facing the Kings head on:

Kings executives will entertain trade offers for Tyreke Evans this summer, and they should.

Evans remains a major asset. His team remains in a major funk. When a franchise finishes near the conference cellar for six consecutive seasons, the general manager needs to make significant personnel changes, or the franchise needs to change its general manager.

But that’s an organizational decision.

Evans, who has a year remaining on his contract, has his own decision to make. He has to figure out what he wants and how badly he wants it. He has to determine what kind of player he wants to be and proceed accordingly, essentially controlling what he can control.

Is he satisfied with his Rookie of the Year trophy? Is it enough to be pain-free for the first time in two years? Is he content being a starter? And, most importantly, will he ever emotionally embrace the shift from point guard to small forward – a total mind, body and soul experience – and become a more engaged, consistent performer?

There is no quick answer hiding behind the locker room doors. Evans is both perplexing and a piece of the Kings’ puzzle. He has a unique combination of skills, an agreeable, accommodating personality and the 6-foot-6, 220-pound physique of a basketball god.

But the primary question asked when Evans was drafted fourth overall in 2009 remains unanswered: Where is he most effective?

“I don’t think it’s any big secret,” Princeton legend and longtime Kings consultant Pete Carril said the other night. “Tyreke’s got to learn to play without the ball. It’s all there. I see some games, and he looks very good. Other games … he just has to work harder. I’d love to see him develop a mid-range game.”

It’s too early to cast Evans off without at least exploring what Carril suggests here. But that also requires some serious buy-in from Evans. He has to be willing to reconfigure his game if the Kings, or any team, wants to make him a central figure in its long-term plans.

What’s also clear is that Evans is not considered a true point guard or even a potential point guard by the Kings. They feel they have a player better suited for that role in Thomas, the last pick of last June’s Draft.

Like many who watched Evans in his rookie season, we were intrigued by the prospects of Evans working as an oversized point guard. At 6-foot-6 and more than 220 pounds, he possesses the size to cause matchup nightmares on a daily basis. But there’s a leadership component, responsibilities as a facilitator, that come with the position. It’s unclear if Evans embraced those things or if he, like many other talented young stars before him, is simply a casualty of a faulty operation.

Remember, DeMarcus Cousins was considered an at-risk player before a coaching change cleared the way for him to become the walking double-double (granted, he still has his own maturing to do) his talent suggested he would be.

Evans has time and so do the Kings. But they’re at the crossroads …

32 Comments

  1. Ted says:

    The coaching staff and the general manager is to blame for all of this. Their backcourt is already clogged. Yet they traded for Jimmer. They were probably better with Biyombo. One more thing, move Thornton to the sixth man spot! Tyreke is an SG. How long are you guys gonna figure it out? He has more potential than Thornton and would have been a lot better if he has been used properly.

  2. Iknowitall says:

    Well has anyone considered this….Tyreke Evans coming off the bench. Everyone is getting way too caught up in where Evans should be “starting”…. Manu Ginobili made his name a legend, has 3 NBA championships, playing for a 4th this year , has made multiple all star appearances and has played many years now in the league as a 6th man. What ever happend to the bench? Its weak pathetic teams like the sacramento kings that dont care about this stuff which is why they have gotten and will get nowhere in this league, alongside all the other pathetic teams who think that their starting lineups alone will win it for them. Get him off the bench, he will be a starter coming off the bench destroying every other teams second units, that way you will have a competitive lineup every time on the floor. Dont listen to me….just look at the NBA’s decade team San Antonio Spurs, tell them otherwise.

  3. Tygger2K6 says:

    If he wants to be a star, then he should embrace what his teams needs. Play the 3 ‘coz other players can’t. He has the qualities of a 1, 2 and 3. It’s just a matter of the mind. If he can show the world that he can do it, then he is really dangerous. As stars should be.

  4. Chaelo says:

    It really hurts when you lose a family member, i still remember when C-Web traded to phillly, when peja, hedu, bobby and mike traded to other teams. They even let Rick Adelma go, the head of the family.. Those guy’s gives sacramento something to cheer on, it’s kings Glory years.. Where are they right now?? There is something wrong with the org. Be patience,try to figure out.. IT’S NOT EVANS…..

  5. Salmal13king says:

    Its pretty sad, the whole tyreke situation. How quickly we forget he joined the likes of lebron james, oscar robertson, and michael jordan as the only rookies to average 20 5 5. If the kings arent able to realize the special talents he has and fit the roster to him (and demarcus cousins) accordingly then trade him and let him be somone elses “problem”

  6. zenobia says:

    Well, I’m not from Sacramento, but what I would do is have Reke play pg, and have Isaiah be pg for the second unit. Tyreke has just been out awhile, and they just have to learn to readjust to him. So, that way both benches should work. I wouldn’t get rid of Tyreke or you will regret it. When someone is not happy playing a certain position of having the ball, it’s hard for Tyreke to adjust. I could see a lot of teams wanting him though. If Deron Williams bolts from NJ, I’m sure the Nets would love to have someone like Tyreke to be the face of the new arena franchise.

  7. Mark says:

    I think a good coach would get the best out of all of these guys… All he would need is buy-in from them. I feel the Kings are being too conservative and structured with their thinking on this. Thomas is small, Thornton is undersized at the two, and Evans is not your traditional small forward… However, NBA history is littered with examples of unconventional line-ups that a good coach was able to mould, and get to play in a way that suited the team and caused havoc for oppositions… A starting line-up of Thomas (who is an excellent facillitator and scorer), Thornton (who can easily drop 20 on any given night), Evans (who could contribute – offensively, at least – in a Scottie Pippen-type manner), Cousins (outrageous natural ability and athletic prowess) and Thompson (a solid enough big man) should give a good coach enough to work with to be challenging the Suns, Jazz, Rockets, Warriors and Blazers at the back end of the West playoffs. Perhaps the unconventional thinking of a certain Mr D’Antoni could work…?

  8. Kris says:

    This is stupid they should be looking to trade Marcus Thorton, the guy shoots them out of more games then he shoots them into. Put Evans at SG and trade thorton.

  9. THIS IS RIDICULOUS!! the Kings are the foolest if they’re to let go of reke. The guy has great talent, its rediculous if you’ll let go of a player as special as Tyreke. What they need is a coach who knows how each and every player on the roster plays, a Coach who can see and knows how to use the talent that he has on the roster.

    Go To Guy / Best Perimeter Defender – Tyreke Evans
    Post Presence – DeMarcus Cousins
    3-point Gunner – Jimmer Fredette
    Playmaker – Isiah Thomas
    Scorer Off the Bench (a.k.a. jamaal crawford/james harden) – Marcus Thornton

    THATS A COMPLETE ROSTER RIGHT THERE!! and there’s John Salmons (became the king’s top scorer when kevin martin was hurt and before tyreke arrived). STARTERS: PG = I.Thomas; SG: T.Evans; SF: J.Salmons; PF: J.Thompson; C: D.Cousins; 6th Man: M.Thornton; Key Reserves: J.Fredette, T.Outlaw, C.Hayes, F.Garcia, etc.

    I think if the couach knows how to use the talent that he has on the roster, this might be a playoff team ala Grizzlies LOL

  10. Tyle Frozz says:

    To the HEAT… He will be good as ever playing around D WAde and King James…

  11. Choker says:

    Evans is great. He just needs the time. Remember that he got a broken foot. Give him time to adjust.

  12. john says:

    lets not forget tyreke had injury problems all his sophomore season, which is what part of his regressed numbers could be attributed to and now he is really lost because he doesnt dominate the ball as much with isaiah thomas at the starting spot. I think, ideally, evans will improve, just need to clearly define his position. thomas is too small for a starting guard tbh, maybe have him off the bench, or thornton could make an awesome 6th man scoring punch off the bench and put evans at 2 but the way it is now, our PG, SG, and SM are all undersized for their position, which is definitely not working

    • James says:

      the Kings have no SF, you’re better off with the bad matchups on defense than you are putting Green out there or Garcia

  13. tdinh says:

    Tyreke has regressed every year since his rookie year. Not only his shot did not improve, it has gotten worst. How can he be the face of the franchise when he hasn’t shown any improvement the past 2 years? Trade him

  14. Number1HoustonRocketsFan says:

    SAC NEEDS A TALENTED SF AND PF NUFF SAID.

  15. ka says:

    this is bad no one should be traded i mean evans has been great like always

  16. jfoster4 says:

    I got the answer….. Trade him to the Lakers .

  17. NBAFAN says:

    The big problem is he is on a young team. If he was for example with the celtics he would be wreckin havoc because he would have the veterans showing him the ropes. Why do you think OKC wanted fisher. to get into Westbrooks head when he starts going to wild. Evans just needs to be around vets. They should trade him to the Celtics. Then watch him turn his game around.

  18. naik_31 says:

    Try to make Isaiah Thomas as a 6th man then Fredette will be the starting point guard, swap the positions of Evans and Thornton (Evans is SG, while Thornton is SF), Cousins at center, and try to acquire a talented power forward that will fit to their team (like Aldridge, Millsap, or if they acquire the 1st overall pick in the lottery, they need to select Anthony Davis). Keith Smart is a good coach for them. Improving their team is the solution for their struggles.

    • TheKidd says:

      Really? Jimmer the starting point? Thornton at Small Forward? With that line up then you might as well give the Kings the worst team in the NBA. What needs to happen is that Tyreke should play the 2 and improve his Jumpshot, which results in Thornton coming off the bench. If Tyreke does not show improvement or a drive to get better than trade him for a small forward, like Paul George. Also we need a legit shot blocker, Cousin’s can’t block anybodys shot. So we need to move Cousins to the 4 unless the draft is kind and we are able to select Anthony David but other than that move Cousins to the 4 and acquire a Center that can block shots.

  19. Mo says:

    Start Thomas at the PG Thorton at SG Tyreke at SF Cousins at the PF and JT at C … Jimmer , williams , Garcia , Hayes off the bench dont trade any one , and make sure you draft good, and in 2-3 years you will own the league .Thorton can score with the best of them and thomas gets it done at the Pg Tyreke can improve, and cousins well youhave seen him when hes into the game double double every nigh and jimmer can shoot from the locker room. mark my words kings will be in playoffs 2-3 years, all they need is to sign a vetern who demands respect and he will put the younger guys in there place

  20. N.YMARK says:

    I agree with Dominic. He needs a respected coach to get his head on right and take his basketball career for granted. Maybe he doesnt have the desire to be the best. I said the same thing about Blake this year. Last year when he won rookie of the year Blakes post game jump shot was crazy. This year he looks like he has taken several steps back on his post game. Now gets it in the post and does some 360 spin craziness. Not comparing Blake to Tyreke just the fact that they both seem to take steps back after their stellar rookie seasons. Btw Blake has way more drive than Tyreke could be the veterans on his team. Kings have more s.g and s.f than any team ive seen.

  21. dominic says:

    Sacramento Kings can duplicate the Detroit Pistons… Pistons before have Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson and now Kings have Isiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thorton at guard position… then they have Jason Thompson and Demarcus Cousin just like Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer… what do you think?

    • dominic says:

      Sacramento need a mature experience coach just like what Minneosota and Philadepia did.. They hired veteran and experience coach that will guide younger and immature players…

  22. ko0kiE says:

    I’m also a little disappointed by his development.. after his rookie year I thought he would take the next step but it didn’t happen yet. but he is still young and somehow a unique player.. I think there is a place for him in this league.

  23. vamos a la playa says:

    well … the sacramento kings are betting on thomas as pg, thornton as a sg (18.7 ppg) and so t. evans should adapt his game to a number 3 posizion. working without the ball requires a complete different attitude.

    by the way thornton was born in 1987, cousins in 1990, thomas in 1989, evans in 1989.
    a very young talented and raw team …

  24. NiSo says:

    I agree with Chuck. Why does he have to switch positions? He used to be so effective at the guard spots and the offence was looking so much better than it does now.

  25. Óscar Morgado says:

    This one is so simple it shows the lack of professionalism of the King’s organization. Evans weighs the same as Wade, but he’s longer than the latter, even more cut (but less bulkier). As Wade, Evans is a slasher, one of the very best in the league, and he’s got some absolutely mad skills with the ball. For me, he is the new Dwayne Wade, period. Just get a decent coach to put him on his right mind and he will be a star. He’s not a point guard, he’s no Magic Johnson, nor is he a Lebron James as a point forward…but he is kinda like Wade. Put him at the 2 already, and yeah, he can have a decent point guard like Thomas calling the shots, but he can bring the ball upcourt 1/5 of the time. He can break another 3’s ankles if one is in front of him, but he’s a more balanced matchup on both ends of the court at the 2. Just put him there already.

    • Kel says:

      Because he’s bigger than Thornton, who is their SG. For Sac, it’s what fits. They need a guy who can play off the ball now and they are in more need of another big to compliment Cousins. Sac has too many players that do the same thing. You can’t have three balls on the court at once. Thomas is more of a pure PG, and the offense picks up when he’s running the show. It’s more of a matter of getting pieces that fit, and it appears as though they will take Thornton over Tyreke. But it’s clear that they need a player who can get his shots off the ball like a Ray Allen type player.

  26. Chuck says:

    Why must he jump from PG to SF? What happened to the golden age of 6-6/7/8 SGs like T-Mac and Vince? Play him at SG, he can play off the ball when Isiah is on and play with the ball with Jimmer on, letting Jimmer do the cuts.

    • James says:

      he plays the 3 because they play marcus thorton at the 2 spot, Sac is a small team they dont have anyone who can really play the 3 so they put he and thorton on the court together