Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday/Age: 6/18/96 (21 years old)
Projected NBA Role: 3&D Wing
Hometown: Jacksonville, North Carolina
Team: University of Cincinnati
Strengths: Defense, Decision-Making, Versatility
Weaknesses: Scoring, Creativity, Aggressiveness
Upper Bound: Caron Butler, Marcus Smart
Lower Bound: Iman Shumpert, Tony Snell
Thoughts and Comparisons
Evans is an NBA coaches dream prospect. Improved every year at Cincinnati: freshman season coming off the bench, sophomore season among the best SG’s in college, and junior season among the best SF’s in college leading them to a school-record 31 wins. He is the prototypical 3&D wing with a sturdy frame, solid length and relatively young for a college junior, having turned 21 this week. I really like his decision-making within the flow of the offense. He rarely forces things with a high assist-turnover ratio. His athleticism is above average and his first step on the perimeter is good. Defensively his lateral movement is elite and his instincts for the ball help him pick up a lot of steals and blocks. His stout body and anticipation usually prevents opposition from getting penetration when he is playing individual defense. The three-point shooting looks to be improving and was more than adequate at the NCAA level. His mediocre free throw percentage is concerning and that will need to improve if he plans to translate into a good NBA shooter.
Talent evaluators will need to figure out if Jacob can learn to become an aggressive scorer. In college he didn’t show the desire to drive or create offense. The handle seems respectable but he doesn’t use it to do anything off the dribble. The hope is he can continue to grow into more than just a catch and shoot threat. A solid college athlete, in the NBA he won’t have the explosiveness to separate himself from the other players on the court. Evans is a player that doesn’t make the spectacular play and you won’t see him on many highlight reels as he continues to contribute within the context of his role. Does that make him a role player? Perhaps. He is the kind of role player that can slide into many roles on offense and defense and the value in that is immeasurable if he continues to improve.
Ideal Landing Spots
Evans is an immediate contributor to an NBA team with room for improvement, making him an ideal pick after the lottery. At 20 the Timberwolves have a need for his two-way wing play and will be watching him closely in the draft. With Crawford declining his option there is playing time available if Thibs decides to decrease Wiggins’ workload and extend his playing rotation past seven men. The Pacers at 23 should be keeping their eyes peeled if Evans is falling into their laps. I like the idea of rotating him behind Oladipo, Young, and Stephenson early on. If the Blazers still see his name available with the next pick that seems like the lowest he can drop in this draft class. The Blazers have been looking for wing defenders with shooting potential to eventually replace Evan Turner’s secondary playmaking role alongside Harkless and Aminu.