On July 10, 2013, the Sacramento Kings traded guard Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal, sending big man Robin Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers and point guard Greivis Vásquez to the Kings.
For most of the season with New Orleans, Evans has been less than impressive, logging minutes at both point guard and shooting guard at different points off of the bench due to a crowded roster. For the time of the season where he was mostly relegated to bench duties, the University of Memphis product averaged 13.1 points per game and 4.6 assists per game.
Now don’t get me wrong, those are decent numbers, but they’re a far cry from his Rookie of the Year season when he posted an impressive 20.1 points per game. But Evans recently caught a break, in a way ravaged by injuries.
With Pelicans star players Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson out, there’s been a need for players to step up and ever since Tyreke Evans has been inserted into the starting lineup, he’s done all that and more. Evans has shown the ability to play a range of positions. He’s run the floor at point guard, but with his size (6’6”) he can also play off the ball at either shooting guard or small forward. Despite his range of abilities, most believe he is best suited for either the shooting guard position, or maybe even the point guard spot, but with All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday on the roster, starting point guard won’t remain his position for too long.
In the month of March alone, in which he has spent the majority of time in the starting lineup, Evans has posted numbers of 22.5 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 6.2 assists per game, all in around 38 minutes per game. Not only has he been consistently averaging those numbers, but on some nights, Tyreke has exploded, like on March 24 against the Brooklyn Nets, when he dropped 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Pelicans to a 109-104 victory.
The numbers Tyreke has posted ever since he stepped into a full time starting role do not only exceed the numbers he’s posted so far in the Big Easy, but would be better numbers than the best season of his career (2009-2010). A young team like the Pelicans needs a player like Tyreke Evans, who can play off of point guard Jrue Holiday, and if Evans can keep up the torrid pace he is currently at, this allows Anthony Davis to do what he does best in the paint.
And yes, I do know that his one month run as a starter is only a small sample, but is it enough of a sample to justify a permanent spot in Monty Williams’ lineup? Well, unless Tyreke suddenly crashes and finishes off the season with some bad games, it’s gonna be hard to not argue his spot as a starter come next season.
Shawn McFarland covers the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, the Orlando Magic, and the NBA Draft for HoopsHabit.com. Follow on Twitter @McFarland_Shawn.