Tyreke Evans' fit with Pelicans a work-in-progress

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans will have an offensive upgrade with Tyreke Evans but will have questions defensively if they play him with the other talented guards on the roster.

Tyreke Evans' fit into the New Orleans Pelicans will be a point of inquiry until the season begins. Coach Monty Williams has a new starting backcourt duo seeming in place with former Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday and the incumbent Eric Gordon. So, where does Evans slide in?

Unlike Gordon last summer, who signed an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns that was matched, Evans at least wants to fit with the Pelicans. For that, Williams is happy, according to the Associated Press.

"It's always important that we not only bring in talent like Tyreke, but we also have somebody that wants to be here," Williams said. "That's something that's paramount for me as a coach."

Back to those questions. Do the Pelicans play with a trio of hybrid guards, who all have a good deal of athleticism and passing ability? Does that lineup neutralize each players' capabilities because all three like having the ball in their hands?

Offense isn't the worry for Williams.

"I think the offensive side, guys just figure it out," Williams said. "Defensively, that's where I'm more concerned, where you have to switch in situations, guarding bigger guys."

Evans isn't statistically the best defender. He has put in defensive ratings of above 109 points per 100 possessions in all four of his NBA seasons, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Williams told the AP that late-clock situations will be the most dangerous when going with a small lineup. The tendency for NBA teams to have caused a switch with the power forward and small forward means Evans could be on the back of someone who is 6'9 or 6'10.

But the Pelicans might be able to live with that because of the offensive advantages.

Evans played the last few seasons at shooting guard and small forward after playing point during his rookie season. His averages have steadily dropped off from 20.1 points his rookie year to 15.2 in 2012-13, but last season he seemingly figured it all out from an efficiency perspective.

Evans' usage percentage -- the percent of possessions ended with a shot, drawn foul or turnover -- has also dropped off, but last season both his true shooting percentages and effective field goal percentages increased significantly to the best numbers in any of his four seasons, according to both NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com.

Much of that had to do with much better three-point shooting. In his first three years, Evans never shot better than 29.1 percent but hit 33.8 percent last season. While that is still poor, in relative terms it's a significant step forward in playing with a small lineup -- and that's discounting the space Evans will have to operate within as a slasher and midrange shooting from stretch power forward Ryan Anderson.

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