Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Tyreke Evans says he's ready to be a clutch performer late in games in order to help the Kings win.

Kings notes: Evans says he wants to be the go-to guy

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 - 5:06 pm

Tyreke Evans doesn't want to be thought of as a selfish player.

But if the Kings are looking for someone to carry them late in games, Evans has no problem being that player.

In Tuesday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Kings weren't sure what they wanted to do in the closing minutes.

There was no confusion during Evans' rookie season, when isolation plays were often run for him during late-game situations, but the Kings have tried to move away from that style of play.

Evans has played well lately, averaging 21 points while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. So if the game is on the line, he wouldn't mind having the ball.

"I want to try to take on that challenge if the coach puts the ball in my hands to make a play for me or one of my teammates," Evans said after Wednesday's practice. "That's what I was trying to do (Tuesday) night. I thought I could have had the elbow jumper a little bit more, but I was looking for the assists, I was looking to pass the ball."

Evans said the Kings usually look for the player who is hot late in games.

In the last two seasons, that's sometimes meant finding Marcus Thornton, who has been a go-to guy in the fourth quarter.

Other times, the Kings have looked to DeMarcus Cousins. That's been good in the past but hasn't worked well in the last two losses.

The Kings have been reluctant to designate a player to be the primary option in late-game situations to score or set up a teammate.

"I think everyone's got one (primary option) on their team, or most teams do," Evans said. "Right now, we've won four games and we should have won more than that. These are home games that we need because the road is tough. So we've definitely got to make better decisions on who's going to have the ball in their hands at the end of games."

Backup splits – With Aaron Brooks starting at point guard, the Kings' two second-year point guards are left to fight for uncertain minutes.

In Tuesday's loss, Jimmer Fredette didn't play, the second time he hasn't played this season. Last Friday in Utah, Isaiah Thomas didn't play for the first time this season.

Sometimes Thomas substitutes for Brooks, other times it's Fredette.

It's not an ideal situation for either player.

"I didn't play a couple games ago and I stayed ready," Thomas said. "(Fredette) didn't play (Tuesday) night. We've just got to stay ready. It is what it is. You've got to control what you can control."

Fredette said staying ready is his focus, too. He's averaging 9.4 minutes, about half of last season, while shooting 51 percent and averaging 6.3 points.

Coach Keith Smart "just makes a game-time decision," Fredette said. "We don't know until he calls your name, basically. So you've just got to be ready and prepared. He decides on the matchups and what's best for the team at the time."

Trying to find their rhythm in limited time has been tough for both players.

"You can ask anybody that doesn't know how long they're going to be on the court," said Thomas, who is averaging 8.8 points in 20.4 minutes. "They kind of think too much because they want to do everything to stay on the court."

Quick exit – Smart didn't talk to the media after Wednesday's practice. He left to attend his son's basketball game.

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Read more articles by Jason Jones



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