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NBAGround >> Article on coach Smart's advice for Evans


1/31/12 12:34 PM
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Floppy Divac
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www.sacbee.com/2012/01/30/4224264/kings-evans-receives-smart-advice.html
1/31/12 12:34 PM
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Floppy Divac
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Kings' Evans receives Smart advice
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By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Jan. 30, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Jan. 30, 2012 - 10:43 am

The evolution of Tyreke Evans' game can be traced back to Indiana.

That's where Kings coach Keith Smart, as a college player, met Indiana University legends Isiah Thomas and Quinn Buckner, two of the best point guards to come through the program.

They introduced Smart to the idea of mapping out the floor. Rather than just drive to the rim with no plan, they told Smart he should know where to deliver the ball at all times based on where defenders rotated from.

"When you make a move in one area, you're going to cause a response," Smart said.

Smart has made it a priority to pass along that knowledge to all the Kings – especially his guards, with Evans a focus.

Evans has always played point guard, but Smart wants Evans to play more like one than he has in the past.

In his first two seasons, Evans was asked to carry the scoring load. Smart is asking Evans to cut back on scoring and get his teammates more regularly involved.

Evans is still learning the balance, but under Smart, he has gained a better understanding of where and how to set up his teammates.

Smart doesn't want Evans to turn down every shot. Rather, he wants him to pick his spots better.

It's a work in progress, but Evans is understanding how Smart wants him to map the floor.

"My vision was I would look to score first, and then I'd kick out," Evans said. "Sometimes he tells me I get in the habit of thinking pass first and I'm not aggressive. I've just got to be aggressive."

To help the Kings with mapping the court, Smart has a drill in which cones represent a defender. Depending on which cone the player is at, he has to know where the ball should be passed.

Smart expected there would be ups and downs in the process. There are still times when Evans shoots too quickly without moving the ball. But overall, Smart is pleased with how Evans has accepted the coaching points.

"You've got to be selfless to do it because, one, I didn't say this is how you score; this is how you get somebody else the ball," Smart said. "So I'm telling a guy who averages 20 and can have a huge night any night when his driving game is good to step back and give up that portion to get somebody else involved."

Evans averaged 14.3 points and three assists in the first seven games this season before Smart took over for Paul Westphal. In 13 games under Smart, Evans is averaging 17.9 points and 5.7 assists.

Evans' ability to drive to the rim was a big reason he won the Rookie of the Year honor in 2010. But as he's dealt with injuries and defenses have adjusted to him, Evans' scoring average has dipped since his 20.1-point mark as a rookie.

Smart said Evans has to be aggressive, but he doesn't need to come out every game looking to get himself going offensively.

"The floor is open for him," Kings forward Francisco Garcia said. "Coach has given him the green light to make plays for us, and he's making plays."

Smart also wants Evans to push the ball every chance he gets in transition to create opportunities for himself and teammates. And if the lane closes, the Kings can set up in their halfcourt offense.

Smart is trying to develop Evans' skills off the ball, but for the Kings to improve, Evans knows he has to continue to facilitate better.

"I notice that when I get in the paint, they're (defenders) collapsing on me, so guys are open," Evans said. "I've just got to look for them."

Smart stresses Evans is only in his third season after just one season in college. Having coached against Evans with the Warriors and now working with him, he is impressed with Evans' willingness to learn.

"I've always loved this kid from a distance, and now I've got a chance to be hands-on with him and feed him what I think he needs to see as a point guard, as a combo guard," Smart said. "And he's growing. He's trying to do it because he wants to be good. And not just be good as far as 20 points a night, but good as far as moving the ball to the right people and then making plays for himself."
1/31/12 12:39 PM
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Floppy Divac
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 I know I have been somewhat vocal in saying that I've given up on Tyreke ever becoming a true point guard but I'll give it till the end of the season to see how it goes.  In fairness the last few box scores I've checked in a couple weeks I've actually seen a few where Tyreke has improved his assist to turnover numbers a bit.  Too regularly I'd check it out and see him with shit like 6 assists and 5 turnovers or 8 and 6.  Just crap all around.  It's definitely not been consistent improvement from him these last couple weeks but I'm willing to see how it turns out. 
1/31/12 3:32 PM
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PoundforPound
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Good article.

Point guards in the old days developed a map of the court in their head naturally I think. Just by playing the position like it's supposed to be played.

Apparently it has to be taught now. But I hope Keith Smart can get it to work.

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