NBA / Sep 22, 2010 / 10:30 am

Tyreke Evans is a shooting guard, says Sacramento Kings coach

Tyreke Evans (photo. Nicky Woo)

Until the game of basketball reaches Kobe Bryant‘s vision and there are no more positions, we will still have arguments that get unnecessarily heated over which boxes certain players should be assigned.

Tyreke Evans may be the best example. Ever since Tyreke started to distance himself as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year front-runner in 2010, it seems every discussion and Internet post about him eventually turns into a debate on whether ‘Reke is a point guard or a shooting guard.

Yes, Tyreke began his pro career playing the point, he is the true initiator of the Sacramento Kings’ offense, and he averaged over five assists per game on a team that didn’t have a lot of big-time scorers. But with his 6-6, long-armed build and scorer’s mentality, a lot of people refuse to call Tyreke a real PG, allowing at best that he’s masquerading as a one until the Kings get somebody who will let ‘Reke move to his natural two-guard spot.

For what it’s worth, Kings coach Paul Westphal has indirectly addressed Tyreke’s position status in a couple of recent interviews.

“One of the things I like about him is he’s not a specialist,” Westphal told NBA Fanhouse in August. “He’s an all-around player who comes out there to win. And the more experience he gets, the better the players are around him, the more the team settles into a consistency, the more we’ll see him be who I think he can be in this League — which is somebody who can help you win games in a whole lot of different ways.”

Then, talking about Beno Udrih — who became a full-time starter after Kevin Martin was traded last February and racked up five double-digit assist games at the point while Tyreke played a lot of two-guard — Westphal told the Sacramento Bee this week that Udrih should resume that same role.

“(Udrih) made a good case for being a starter (this season), and looking at the makeup of our roster now, that’s how I view him,” Westphal said.

Listed at 6-3, 205 pounds, Udrih would at least defensively have to match up against point guards and let the 6-6, 220-pound Evans stick opposing two-guards. Offensively, Udrih shined at times playing the point late last year, while Evans’ scoring and field-goal percentage splits dipped slightly when he was primarily playing the two. But you could attribute that to Evans being a rookie and getting fatigued in the latter stages of his first 82-game season. This summer he’s added some muscle and is working on improving his outside jumper, both indications that he’s preparing to make a definitive position change to two-guard. At least for the moment.

What position do you think Tyreke Evans should play?

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  • i luv ur mummy

    yayaya tyreke is da bestttt sike
    curry will hav a better career


  • http://www.drakesucks.com Chicagorilla

    Been telling everyone this all last season. He is a playmaking SG. But I guess his coach had to make the statement before anyone believed it.

  • jace

    2guard. i always believed he was a 2. i dont classify anybody as a point unless theyre a true point…. meaning pass-first guards. everybody else is just pretending.

    sure a scorer could play point.. but i still wouldn’t classify them as one. just combos/hybrids or specialists. example: stuckey. hes not a point.. he just plays it.

    stuckey? combo. eric snow? specialist.

  • JAY

    Double standard…
    If there are point forwards… Why can’t Evans be a point 2-guard?

    He IS a point guard, just not a 1. Feel me? Same shit as Chicagorilla saying a playmaking SG.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Another shooting guard with no jump shot.

    Who gives a crap what his position is? Dude is a monster on the court. Give him the ball and good things happen.

    He is like B.Roy, he is gonna make plays. Call him whatever you want, but his real title is beast

  • jace


    i see where ur going.. a point 2-guard isn’t the same as a point forward tho. unless u meant a point small forward.. or point power forward.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Did I miss something here? Did Westphal actually say that or was it inferred from the rest of his comments? I mean, Evans played PG most of last season. And the quote about Udrih is about him starting, without mention of whether he’d be the starting PG or SG. It just kinda seems like Westphal was avoiding the use of the term PG because it’s gotten a little blurry in their system.

    We’ll see when the season starts. This is a pretty stupid argument to have.

  • shuttles

    Dang it Dime, your headlines are always so freaking misleading. Westphal didn’t say Reke is a SG, he basically just said that Udrih is the 2nd best guard on the roster (and it’s really not close) so he’d be starting.

    I like the idea of Tyreke playing PG long term with a big SG along side him because he’s a matchup nightmare for other PG’s but he can obviously play both positions.

  • Brown

    He plays the same position Jordan played. So long as the other guard can shoot and not turn the ball over, they’re good.

  • JAY

    @ jace…
    I guess we’re gonna get technical about shit. Lol.

    A shooting guard is a guard. Like a small forward is a forward.
    When Grant Hill ran the point as the small forward for Detroit, we referred to him as a point forward.
    When Evans runs the point as a shooting guard, i don’t see why we can’t call him a point guard. He’s still a guard… but a 2-guard running the point duties.

    As I said, double standard. Think out the box fellas.

  • Promoman

    Tyreke’s a very skilled guard but he’s more of a shooter than a facilitator. He can play either guard slot but he’d be a shooting guard on nearly any team other than the Kings.

  • peacock

    PG or SG hes still way better than Rose.

    People are just looking for excuses so they don’t have to shit on Rose’s bandwagon.

    It doesn’t matter if he starts at SG, he is still a PG, the only reason he’s playing the SG position is because Udrih is too small to. It’s the same as Gstate, ellis is not a SG but he will play SG position because curry is too small.

  • Qrentis

    I would rather like to see him play the point..

    Might as well keep him there and let him learn..

    Lebron played pg his rookie year and I felt lik they should of kept him there..

    Y not let a talent lik lebron and tyreke bring the ball up and observe the court and make plays..

    But he’s gonna be effective anywhere on the court

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    You guys do realize that Udrich played the actual PG position for Sac-town after Martin was traded right? That’s over half the season. Tyreke ran PG when Udrich wasn’t on the floor and he got a lot of his 5-6 asst from posting up and passing out the double team.

    No way is he a real Pg, he’s like DWade in that he’s a good passer (with a good..not great handle)from the 2guard position. I think his scoring will go up (23-25ppg) and his assist will go down (4asst) this year but those are still phenominal numbers and better than I ever thought he could put up.


    he’s a true combo guard. not one of those 6’1 gunners who are 2’s in a 1’s body. He can play and defend either position well, so its down to the coach, whatever position he wants him in is what he will be.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla


    He can’t defend any PG. Lets keep it real. He’s a decent defender of 2guards, but He ain’t even checking the likes of Ray Felton and DJ Augustine let alone top flight guys. Give Reke his praise for being a combo guard or a 2guard or what have you. but don’t go overboard. If he had a better shotblocker behind him like Marcus Camby…then he’d be able to defend PG’s.

  • jace


    hahaha.. yea i kno exactly what ur sayin.. i was just playin.. in the end its basically 2 guards 2 forwards and a center. the word u put in front of it is just an adjective of what type they are.

    only reason i nitpicked cuz the term “point 2-guard” sounded weird.. hahah. sall good tho.. i kno wut u were goin for.

  • Kool

    Tyreke Evans brings the ball up the floor on nearly every play. He initiates the offense based on what the defense is trying to do to stop him. He is a Guard in the NBA. Beno Udrih is a Guard too. But he shoots the ball lights-out compared to Tyreke. If Beno and Reke were both on my team, I most definitely would want Reke handling the ball and dishing it out to Beno for open looks. It wouldn’t make sense for Beno to penetrate and facilitate passes out to Reke for him to shoot. Tyreke is just not that good of a shooter… YET.

    By shear common sense alone, it’s fairly easy to deduct that Tyreke Evans is the PG, and Beno Udrih is the SG. To swap them, would only hurt the teams chances at being successful.

    I believe the reason why many fans (not including Kings fans) have a problem with Tyreke being a PG is directly related to the fact that he’s a tough guard for either Guard position on defense when he goes up against them. Of course defenses would much rather guard Beno at PG, and Tyreke at SG. Hell, I think defenses would rather just not have to guard Tyreke at all. But that’s not the case. Unfortunately, other teams have to figure out each time they play the Kings, who on their team is going to be guarding the Kings unconventionally sized offensive players.

    Skill-Sets of Each:

    Tyreke Evans:
    – One of the best ball handlers in the League.
    – Ability to penetrate at will.
    – Uncanny vision of the floor.
    – Most productive when initiating the offense.
    – Can guard either Guard position easily.
    – Below average shooter for either guard position.

    Beno Udrih:
    – Average ball handling skills.
    – Great vision of the floor.
    – Above average shooter for either guard position.
    – Does not need to initiate the offense to be effective offensively.
    – Defensively, he guards the PG better than the SG.


    Tyreke and Beno are both Guards. But Tyreke is a PG, and Beno is a SG. Who in their right minds would play them differently?

    Also, not once did Coach Westphal ever say that Tyreke is the SG, and Beno is the PG. The authors quotes from him hold no legitimate value, especially when you read the Title to this story. But Coach Westphal has most definitely said multiple times last year that Tyreke is teams PG. And the words “POINT” and “GUARD” were clearly defined by him verbally.

  • the cynic

    this a duh moment for Sac. Evans never was a pg, unless you like the pg running isos all game

  • Stunnaboy09

    Like the people above me said, hes more suited to playing SG than PG. He even defends 2’s better.

    He’s a ball dominating 2. They are quite a few of them in the league, and most play with PGs whose main job is to take open shot (like Udrich)


    Joe Johnson/Bibby Roy/Blake Kobe/Fisher Wade/Chalmbers

    Look at all those SGs, they all dominate the ball and most even lead their team in assists, yet you would not call any of them PGs (the closest to me is Wade who I still say should start at PG for Miami)

  • Stunnaboy09


    You kinda lost me in your argument when you said Reke was “one of the best ball handlers in the league” and “Uncanny floor vision”. Um. No? He had decent handles and decent floor vision.

    And come on, you think Reke is a good defensive player? On some SGs maybe but most PGs are simply faster than him,a Jennings or Felton would simply drive by him every possession.

    Udrih may not be the better player but he is the better PG. No team wins anything with a score first PG, which is what Reke would be if he played. If your Sacrament why not let Udrih focus on setting up the offense and let Reke focus on what he is good at, penetrating and scoring.

  • jace

    i agree with stunnaboy.. mostly. but u lost me when u said “It wouldn’t make sense for Beno to penetrate and facilitate passes out to Reke for him to shoot.”

    lost justification when u said that becuz it seems like u think thats the only thing a point does; drive and dish to the perimeter. cuz a point does more than that. and actually anybody on the team can do that.

    not tryna rag on u.. cuz u had some good points and were talkin technical… but u lost me.

  • Kool

    Point guard: (1) A position played by a team’s primary ball handler, the player who brings the ball up the court and begins the offense. Also called the “1.” (2) The player who plays that position.

    Shooting guard: (1) A position played by a perimeter player who is usually the team’s best outside shooter. Also called the “2.” (2) The person playing this position.

    That should sum it up. Sorry about the confusion.

    By definition of the positions, you tell me who you would play in your 1 and 2? If you check last season’s statistics for the Kings, you would ALL clearly see that Beno is by far the best outside shooter (percentage wise) on the Kings roster. And you would also see that Tyreke is not only the team’s best finisher around the basket, but also in the Top 3 in the entire league. Tyreke also had the most assists per game from all Kings players. Take the players “SIZE” away from your understanding of what a players position is, then focus on the definition ONLY, then it should not be too hard to understand why Tyreke is the PG.

    A position of a player should not be determined on what position has to guard him, instead; it should be determined based on said players contribution to the team and skill set.

  • Kool

    A good article to read. I think he explains it much better than I do.


  • Stokely

    he’s ball dominant 2. Why people want to mnake him a pg is beyond me. The matchup problems with another sg in the backcort will be negated by Tryeke’s horrible facillating skills.

  • KoolaidkiD

    @ Stokely:

    Tyreke finished 16th in the entire league last year in “facilitating” the ball. Guys below him, Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy… all below him. If Tyreke’s HORRIBLE at dishing the rock, then I guess there’s no hope whatsoever for guys like Billups and Parker. And Tyreke got all those assists with a well below average supporting cast.


    Watch that vid and you tell me who’s bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense.

  • MustangMBS

    @Kool – You are more right than wrong. Evans has very good floor vision. Better than Beno. Evans clearly plays the PG position.

    The truth of the matter is that Beno and Tyreke trade off taking he PG position a lot, but Evans is the primary PG. And that is for his ability to penetrate. Breaking down the offense. Beno is a very good shooter.

    Both of these guards are combo guards. Meaning a scoring guard and not a pass first guard. If I had to say I would put Beno at 60% SG and 40% PG. Tyreke is 65% PG and 35% SG. Once he gets his jumpshot going he will be more of a even split.

  • Relevance

    Hey guys, I found all these comments ridiculously interesting because I stumbled on this wondering what position I myself should play + I’ve loved Reke since the draft last year.
    I am not an analyst and haven’t watched/studied the Kings a lot, but my view is that they are both shooting guards. I agree with what Cool said about Beno, if he’s a great shooter and a primary scorer then hes a SG regardless of height. Height is not a factor for the PG, ability, mentality and preference are. I don’t think you can be too small for SG, I think if your too small for forward pos. and you can’t play point your a SG. Tyreke is a lovely problem. He is obviously a combo guard, but he to me is more of a SG. He is like Dwyane Wade, he can play point but is naturally a scorer but is a good playmaker/distributor also. In this way i see him as a SG who can play PG. My example of a PG who can play SG would be John Wall or maybe Kirk Heinrich.
    With regards the Kings situation, they don’t have a true PG better than Beno or Reke so they’ll both play in b/court. I think they should interchange like Golden State or Wizards will this year with SG.
    But ultimately, its down to what the players think themselves and the coach’s view on their future. Thanks sorry it’s lenghty just wanted to get full point across.
    Relevant British 15 year old ;)

  • Relevance

    Hey, I found all these comments ridiculously interesting, mostly because I stumbled on this wondering which of the two guards I wanted to play + I’ve loved Reke ever since the draft last year. In my view, I feel that they are both primary SGs.
    Firstly, I agree with Cool, if Beno is a mainly a scorer and he’s a good shooter, them hes a SG, regardless of height. Height isn’t a factor for a PG, ability, mindset and player preference are. If a player is too small to be considered a forward and not able to be a pure PG then he is a SG.
    Tyreke is an enigma that will plague minds for many years. Obviously, he is a combo guard. He is like Dwyane Wade in that he seems to be more of a scorer who is a good playmaker/distributor. An example of a PG that can play SG would possibly be John Wall or maybe Kirk Heinrich.
    Ultimately, it is down to what the individual players think of themselves, and the coaches views on their futures. I think that in the King’s situation they will be interchangeable like the Warriors this season or the Wizards with John Wall this season with regards to SG. Thanks
    Relevant opinion of a 15 year old British, lone wolf SG.

  • KoolaidkiD

    @ MustangMBS:

    Well said. I can’t argue with that. Though I’d probably put Beno in the 65-70% SG & 30-35% PG range. But yes, they are both very good combo guards. But Tyreke is just too good with the ball in hands, to not be the PG on this team.