MINNEAPOLIS Just maybe the coach knew what he was doing.
Keith Smart believed the best position for Tyreke Evans to play was shooting guard, even though he had been the Kings' point guard since his rookie season.
Smart's vision for how Evans should play was on display in the Kings' season-opening loss at Chicago. Evans, who also has played small forward, has embraced his role as a shooting guard.
Evans had 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot in the season opener.
Freed of the responsibility of running the offense full time, Evans is doing what he does best on offense attack while also showing signs of being a good defender.
"That's just what I've got to do on defense and offense," Evans said. "Me and coach already established that. So when I go in, the only thing for me is attack mode."
Figuring out how to play without the ball wasn't easy for Evans. He had always been the guy bringing the ball up the court. But his scoring instincts didn't always sit well with teammates.
Evans struggled to figure out what to do on offense last season when not bringing the ball up the court. Sometimes he stood on the wing and watched the action.
Other times, Evans figured out how and when to cut to the basket for easier scoring opportunities.
Smart said what Evans did against the Bulls is what he saw throughout training camp. Moving Evans from point guard wasn't a demotion in Smart's eyes it was the beginning of maximizing Evans' potential.
"He did exactly what we thought he could possibly do," Smart said of Evans' first game of the season. "Now we're seeing him make some outside jump shots, still having that ability to put the ball on the floor and having the ability to still create one-on-one (matchups) for himself and his teammates. And more importantly tying what he's doing offensively to what he's doing defensively."
Evans' ability to embrace change is key to the Kings' possible success and his future. After he averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds as a rookie, his figures declined in each of the past two seasons.
The Kings' postseason analysis showed Evans was at his best and most efficient when he wasn't playing point guard.
The way Evans played against the Bulls, shooting 8 of 13 with only two turnovers, is what the Kings expect.
"(Evans) attacked and got to the hole," said guard Aaron Brooks. "To score over those defenders, they're great defenders, and Joakim Noah is one of the best shot blockers in the league. (Evans) is going to be able to do that all season."
Evans will have the freedom to do more attacking with fewer duties running the team. Instead of it being his full-time job, initiating the offense is just another skill Evans has at his disposal.
Evans said he likes his role as the "two" guard and doesn't miss point guard.
"I just feel more comfortable at the two I don't know why," Evans said. "The (small forward position) and the two are kind of the same. I feel like more of a scorer at the two."
But he won't shy from setting up teammates and taking on tough defensive assignments.
"That's part of the basketball game," he said. "The position I play, I think I can do those things. To be on the court, you've got to be able to do those things."