The New Orleans Pelicans landed Tyreke Evans this summer as part of a sign-and-trade, inking the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year to a pretty hefty four-year, $44 million contract. With he and Jrue Holiday coming into town for the 2013-14 season, so came high hopes for this Pelicans team.
Partially due to a slew of devastating injuries and partially due to inconsistency, though, the Pelicans haven’t had nearly the year that they’d hoped for. Through 50 games, the Pelicans sit at just 22-28, well out of the playoff-picture in the Western Conference. Most recently, the Pelicans fell to the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 93-81 on Sunday night.
Against the Nets, a healthy Evans didn’t see the floor due to what head coach Monty Williams called an “internal issue.” Evans elaborated on the situation, one that involves an inconsistent role for Evans with this team, in an interview with Shlomo Sprung of Sheridan Hoops. Evans told Sprung that Williams is still trying to figure things out with all of the new pieces with this team and how all of the players fit into what they’re trying to do, including Evans.
As if the notion of a coach trying to figure out roles 50 games into the regular season isn’t concerning enough, Evans also added that he and Williams have never had a discussion about who plays what role for this Pelicans team, a communication issue that “has to get better” according to Evans.
Evans has come off the bench in all 42 of his appearances for New Orleans this season after starting all but 10 of his games over four years with the Sacramento Kings. Evans said that coming off of the bench coupled with the lack of communication regarding roles has put more pressure on him when he’s on the floor because he feels obligated to fill a plethora of different niches within the team.
While Evans may be overpaid slightly and while his performance hasn’t been great by any standard, the bigger issue here is Williams’ coaching of this team. A head coach has to have control of his team and has to communicate with them effectively. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have if that doesn’t happen. The Pelicans’ lack of success this season seems to be a prime example of the results you get when the head coach isn’t fulfilling those duties.