Tyreke Evans throws down a fast-break dunk during Game 3 of the playoffs vs. Golden State

Pelicans Media Day notes: Alvin Gentry sees Tyreke Evans primarily as point guard for Pelicans

by Jim Eichenhofer

In recent years if one were to ask Tyreke Evans what position he plays, he may have responded with a quizzical look. At times, including his Rookie of the Year campaign with Sacramento, Evans was a point guard. In other instances, he plied his tough-to-stop offensive game at shooting guard and small forward.

Although his versatility allows Evans to fill an array of roles, new Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry said Monday that he sees the University of Memphis product primarily as a point guard in 2015-16.

“He’s going to mostly be a point guard,” Gentry said. “Obviously there are going to be situations where he may play a couple other positions, but I think right now I see him mainly as a point guard, with potential to really push the ball.”

With Jrue Holiday on a restriction of 15 minutes each game from now until January, Gentry indicated that Evans will start at point guard. Asked how Holiday’s status will affect Evans as it progresses, Gentry responded that he’ll need to wait and see.

“Right now, Tyreke is going to be the guy that’s our point guard,” Gentry said. “We’ll go from there. Hopefully will be a situation where both (Evans and Holiday) play great, and we have two very good players at that position, along with Norris (Cole). He’s also a very good player at that position, and he has the capabilities of playing both (guard) spots.”

Gentry on Evans’ game being suited to a fast pace: “If you go back and look, even during his Memphis days, he was very effective when the ball was being pushed. I think he’s very capable of getting the ball to the basket against just about anyone. He’s a great finisher, has good size. So I think an up-tempo situation suits him well.

Other notes from Monday’s press conferences:

  • Gentry reiterated that Dante Cunningham will most likely start at small forward, with Quincy Pondexter sidelined short-term after offseason knee surgery. Similar to the situation at point guard and Holiday’s progress, Gentry said he will need to evaluate Pondexter when he is able to return to the court and how that impacts minutes at small forward.
  • Stressing the importance of accountability, particularly on the defensive end – where the Pelicans have not adequately progressed in recent years – Gentry said he and lead assistant Darren Erman have told players, “If you can’t get the job done, there has to be someone else that (coaches) try. We’ve made that perfectly clear. Coach Erm has made it perfectly clear, that we’re going to simplify everything we do. It won’t be a situation where (players say), ‘Well, I thought…’ They will know exactly the rotations and rebounding position. We have to get better in that area.”
  • Already proving adept at one-liners, Gentry pointed out one major Media Day difference for him of becoming a head coach, compared to being an assistant last season: “Last year on this day, I took two pictures and was able to go home.”
  • Anthony Davis on adding roughly 20 pounds in the offseason: “I haven’t put it to the test yet. I will try to test it out during training camp and preseason and see how it feels. Hopefully it feels good. I feel great right now. I feel explosive, quick.”
  • Davis on similarities between Gentry’s system and the way he played at Kentucky during his 2011-12 championship season: “At Kentucky, we just ran all the time and that’s how we were able to get a lot of fast-break points and score a lot of points.”
  • Davis on adding three-pointers to his repertoire: “I’m not going to fall in love with it and be out there (shooting as many as) Ryan (Anderson). Ryan is a way better shooter than me. That’s what he does. I’m going to be on the blocks, the elbows and try to work from there, but step out (to shoot) every now and then.”

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