A few things made the last few seasons in Sacramento tough for Tyreke Evans.
First, there were a series of injuries that slowed him down. There was a coaching change and just a general instability with the franchise as the Maloof era sputtered to its inevitable end.
Then there was how Evans had different things asked of him all the time by the coaching staff.
“It was definitely hard for me going from the point to the three, back to the two. It really was a challenge for me,” Evans told ProBasketballTalk while speaking from his youth summer camp sponsored by VSP Vision Care. “I think I handled it well, didn’t complain, just went out there and played. So this will definitely be different.”
What will be different is New Orleans, where Evans is headed as part of a sign-and-trade, where he will sign a four-year, $44 million deal.
Evans has yet to speak in any detail with Pelicans coach Monty Williams, but with Jrue Holiday at the point and Eric Gordon at the two (for now, he is reportedly being shopped), Evans is hoping he gets a defined role to fill.
“Pretty much,” Evans said of his hope for some definition of what he will be asked to do. “I’ll have a talk with coach and see what kind of role he wants me to play, it can be any type of role. We got a lot of ones out there, so it’ll be interesting to see kind of role he wants me to play. He’ll quite sure he’ll have me switching a little bit.”
Evans is headed to New Orleans as part of a three-team trade. The Pelicans will send Greivis Vasquez to the Kings and Robin Lopez to the Trail Blazers, while Portland will send the rights to sign No. 39 pick Kansas center Jeff Withey to New Orleans, and a future second-round draft pick to the Kings.
Evans averaged 15.4 points a game last season and played a little better on offense at the three than at the two. However, at times he struggled to defend threes. However, he is now heading into a different system with the Pelicans.
What Evans expects is an up-tempo team that, in his words, will just get out there and play basketball.
“I definitely think we’re going to be a running team,” Evans said. “We got point guards and players who can finish in the open court, and Anthony Davis who can jump and you can throw lobs to him in the pick-n-roll. I think it’s going to be fun just going out there and playing basketball.”
Evans is spending his summer he said working on his all around game, particularly his shooting (he shot a career best 33.8 percent from three last year and wants that part of his game to be more of a threat).
But first he is doing what he has done the past three summers — working with at-risk youth in the Sacramento area at a free camp sponsored by VSP Vision Care.
“I been working with VSP for three years on the camp. I’m pretty excited about it’s, it’s for the kids and it’s free…” Evans said. “They all get an eye exam as too, so that’s a good thing.”
Those kind of health checkups can find things that often may be missed otherwise, Evans noted. The camp is more than just hoops, they get with school supplies and some Nike gear, all paid for by VSP and Evans.
These are youth trying to overcome disadvantages and Evans wants to share with them from his NBA experiences that what pays off is hard work;
“That’s number one thing, beside school, it’s about putting the work in,” Evans said. “What you put in is what you get out. I wouldn’t be in the NBA, I mean, I’m talented, but I worked hard. I tell them if you work hard you get better, and that’s the key to push themselves and just never stop chasing your dream.”
Sometimes, those dreams lead to New Orleans.