Tyreke Evans received a DNP-CD in the Pelicans’ loss to the Nets on Sunday, and New Orleans coach Monty Williams called it “internal” issue.
Evans doesn’t quite see it that way, turning it into an external issue in a hurry.
“He’s trying to figure me out still,” Evans said of his head coach. “Most of the guys that came here are pretty much new [to the team] so he’s trying to fit everybody in and put me in the best position he can.”
But when asked whether he and Williams ever discussed his best role on the team openly, Evans said it’s never been brought up.
“No, we never talked about that,” Evans told Sheridan Hoops. “I haven’t talked to him about it. We talk here and there but I haven’t talked to him about what role is whose on the team.”
Evans has a responsibility here, too.
When Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudemire went public with their desires for bigger roles, they’d already spoken to their head coaches about it. That’s an essential step in resolving these types of issues.
Could Williams do a better job of communicating with Evans? Probably.
But I don’t see how Evans is helping the situation, even though I understand where he’s coming from. I’d probably be just as headstrong in the same situation. This far into the season, a player shouldn’t feel his coach has never explained his role.
If Williams hasn’t, that’s a mistake. If Williams has, the coach must still address why Evans believes the opposite. The burden does, and should, fall on Williams.
Yet, Williams coached Sunday, and Evans didn’t play. Evans, who’s having the worst shooting season of his career, isn’t positioned to change his fortunes this way.
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When the Pelicans signed Evans, it should have been made clear there would be growing pains. Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Evans have plenty of overlapping skills, and all three of him them will have to take a backseat to the other two at different times.
With the right combination, the Pelicans could be pretty good. But they’re just 22-28 and even if frontcourt injuries are the major factor holding them back, they need more time to find the right roles for their guards.
That process would get much easier if Evans and Williams just talk about it.