NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Pelicans are looking to snap a nasty losing streak Monday night when they take on the Sacramento Kings, and the team will likely rely heavily on their newest addition to the starting lineup.
Swingman Tyreke Evans will log his third start for New Orleans in Sleep Train Arena, and the 2010 Rookie of the Year has been making the most of his opportunity.
Evans had a team high 22 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans versus the LA Clippers Saturday night and if history is any indication, he'll build on that versus his former team. The Kings drafted Evans in the first round of the 2009 Draft with the 4th overall pick. Evans helped lead Sacramento for the next 4 seasons until arriving in New Orleans in a reserve role at the beginning of this season.
Playing off the bench, Evans recorded a season-high 25 points in his first trip back to Sacramento on December 23, then followed that up by scoring a team-high 17 versus Sacramento on January 21 in New Orleans.
Evans plays his old team tougher than any other foe in the NBA.
Tyreke Evans, Most PPG vs Any Opponent: 2013-14
vs Kings 21.0
vs Trail Blazers 20.5
vs Knicks 16.0
vs Jazz 16.0
vs 76ers 15.5
Now, Evans will do his damage versus the Kings from a starting role, which should afford him more minutes and more opportunity.
Coach Monty Williams acknowledges it was tough to promote Evans and demote Al Farouq Aminu, but he also recognizes it was the correct decision.
''There is an emotional attachment with guys, even though they may have holes in their game,'' Williams said. ''As head coach, you have those attachments. But I had to overlook and try to change up some things that are going to help our team going forward.''
Aminu has struggled to produce consistent offense, averaging just 7.4 points per game and his defense has also been lackluster at times.
''It's a change that I think can help our team,'' Williams said of Evans' promotion. ''We're just looking for some flow.''
Evans doesn't just provide a scoring prowess for New Orleans; he's also a facilitator. The good news for the Pelicans as they wrap up this Mardi Gras road trip with face-offs between the Kings and Clippers is that Evans is better distributor of the ball on the road this season than at home.
NBA, Largest Difference in Assists per Game, Home < Road - 2013-14
Player, Team(s) Home Road Diff
Tyreke Evans, NO 3.5 (83/24) 5.3 (137/26) +1.8
Jameer Nelson, Orl 6.1 7.6 +1.5
Damian Lillard, Por 5.1 6.3 +1.2
Nick Calathes, Mem 2.4 3.4 +1.0