LOS ANGELES – Tyreke Evans(notes) attended the Sacramento Kings’ draft party and watched as the team's fans celebrated the selection of BYU guard Jimmer Fredette(notes). Evans was smiling that night, but he was also confused.
Did the Kings really need another scoring guard?
Evans has welcomed the addition of Fredette, college basketball’s consensus 2011 national player of the year. But a month after the draft, Evans also has some questions: Is he still the Kings’ starting point guard? Or, is he being moved to shooting guard to make room for the heralded rookie?
Team officials gave Evans no answers after the draft, and they can’t speak to him until after the lockout ends.
“I don’t know how we are playing it,” Evans said. “Am I going to be the point? Is he going to be the point? At the end of the day, whatever one they lead me to, I’m just ready.”
Evans was the NBA's 2010 Rookie of the Year after the Kings drafted him fourth overall in 2009. Though he has averaged 19.1 points, 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds his first two seasons, scouts have often debated which guard position Evans is best-suited to play. The Kings sometimes played Beno Udrih(notes) at point guard with Evans last season, but dealt Udrih to the Milwaukee Bucks on draft night. Sacramento is also expected to re-sign restricted free-agent shooting guard Marcus Thornton(notes), who started 23 games after being acquired in the middle of the season. Evans and Thornton played well together which led to the expectation they could become the Kings’ backcourt of the future.
[Related: Video: Jimmer Fredette wows summer campers]
But after Fredette was drafted, there was some thought the Kings could play him at point with Evans at shooting guard. One league source said the team will likely begin the season with Evans and Thornton starting, and Fredette coming off the bench.
“They made the decision they wanted,” Evans said of the Kings’ drafting of Fredette. “I can’t do nothing about, but I didn’t have any issues with it.
“I like him a lot,” Evans said of Fredette. “He’s going to help a lot. …He definitely takes a load off of me. When I create, I can find him, and he can knock down that open shot.”
Evans and Fredette haven't spoken since the draft. The young Kings don’t lack offensive options: Evans, center DeMarcus Cousins(notes), new forwards John Salmons(notes) and J.J. Hickson(notes), who were both recently acquired in trades and Fredette and Thornton (assuming he’s re-signed). The question is whether they will fit together.
“There is only one way to find out – when the season starts,” Evans said. “I don’t know how [Fredette] plays in the NBA, so we’ll have to adapt to each other.”
Evans has been working out with trainer Rob McClanaghan and Lamont Peterson, his strength and conditioning coach, in Santa Monica, Calif. Evans said his foot injury that bothered him last season is fully healed.
Evans has received some interest about playing professionally in China during the lockout, but there has been no formal offer. He recently joined Kobe Bryant(notes), Kevin Durant(notes) and Derrick Rose(notes) to play two exhibition games in the Philippines. Evans has also played in two games in the pro-am Drew League in L.A.
“I don’t want to slack off and not work out,” Evans said.