Dell Demps stopped by to chat with the Black and Blue report this afternoon on Pelicans.com and among a few interesting thoughts included the fact that despite Monty Williams objections in the past, Tyreke Evans will definitely be seeing time at small forward this season, as most people expected.
For the small forward I think we will have an opportunity to see Tyreke play some there. I think he did well when he played there last year when you look at what he did and some of the games he had there last season. I think he is a little undersized there but with all the intangibles and things he does I think that will be a bright spot. Then we are going to have John Salmons come in as a veteran, we are finalizing his contract right now so I am not supposed to talk about that right now, but we are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on that but that should be soon. Then there are going to be guys like Darius and Luke they are going to have an opportunity to compete and there are going to be minutes there.
The decision makes a lot of sense as out of all the players that Demps listed who could see minutes at the spot Evans is by far the most talented. In the past the team has worried about the defensive impact of playing Evans at small forward due to the size mismatches it causes but with new acquisition Omer Asik joining Anthony Davis to sure up the defense it could allow Evans to be ok on that end. The inclusion of Evans with the small forwards could lead to him starting alongside Eric Gordon as well after Evans played so well as a starter to end last season. Evans wouldn’t bring the typical floor spacing that Salmons would from the small forward spot but with a healthy Jrue Holiday returning with a career 38 percent mark from three-point range things could work out nicely for the Pelicans.
The interesting part of the quote was inclusion of Luke Babbitt in the small forward group. After his acquisition last season, Babbitt played mostly as a stretch-four for the Pelicans and was productive in that role. But with the return of Ryan Anderson and the signing of Patric Young minutes at the big man spots are going to be hard to come by for Babbitt meaning if he wants to play it has to be at small forward, and the Pelicans see that. In the past Babbitt has struggled athletically to defend small forwards so if his only way to make the roster is as a small forward things may be tough for him.