Kings in no rush to evaluate Evans/Martin backcourt

John Hollinger writes that vulturous general managers shouldn’t get too excited about the possibility of prying Kevin Martin away from the Kings.

For starters, the Kings lack a great incentive to rush into anything before the trade deadline. Martin and Evans have played only nine games as a tandem, and the Kings would like to get a much longer look at the duo before rushing into any landscape-shifting moves. Second, Sacramento is enjoying its first small taste of success after an awful 2008-09 campaign and is hesitant to make any moves that would upset its momentum.

But mostly, the Kings don’t seem anxious to do anything because both the players and the organization think the pairing can work.

“Kevin isn’t himself yet,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “He just needs his timing to get a little better and get some of the rust off, and it’s going to be a really tough backcourt to deal with.”

Both players recognize that they’re going to have to make changes in their games to make the partnership flourish.

“I don’t have a mind frame to go out there and score 30 anymore,” said Martin, who seemed notably more active defensively after basically being a one-man offense last season. “[I’m] just trying to do other things, have more assists and get other teammates involved. While I was out, guys developed, and they’re good players. I show my respect by getting them involved, and [I’ll] attack when it’s there.”

Less than a month ago, I wondered aloud about the possibility of Evans playing small forward, and I still think that’s a viable idea. Evans’ length makes up for his relative lack of height and there’s no reason that the Kings should stick with the mindset that their best penetrator also has to bring the ball up and initiate the offense. Think a smaller LeBron.

So, maybe the Kings should try a lineup of Beno Udrih-Martin-Evans-Omri Casspi and Spencer Hawes or Jon Brockman and see how it goes. With Evans, Martin and Casspi, the Kings have a nice (albeit perimeter) core to build around. If they could find a true back-to-the-basket center (like Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol or Al Jefferson) and a bigger point guard who can hit the three and take on some of the perimeter defensive duties (like Kirk Hinrich or Rodney Stuckey), they’d really be in business.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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