Heading into the regular season, the Golden State Warriors lack wing depth, with Patrick McCaw holding out for a better contract and Andre Iguodala likely saving his body for the playoffs. The team’s first round pick, Jacob Evans, is expected to play major minutes at both wing positions.
An older rookie, Evans was lauded for his defense and versatile offensive game in the draft process. He’s a complementary player that is theoretically a good fit with the Warriors’ stars. If he can contribute on both ends, he’s somebody that could play significant minutes in a playoff series against an elite team like the Houston Rockets.
But so far, Evans has struggled in preseason. It’s just preseason, but it already looks like he doesn’t have much confidence in his offense. In a small sample size, he’s shooting 23.5% from the field, and hasn’t made a three. Since he isn’t a shot creator offensively, he’ll need to be able to space the floor to avoid being invisible on that end.
On the plus side, he has shown some flashes with his ballhandling, and his defense looks solid.
But at this point, it looks like Evans is not ready for major minutes. This is concerning for an older rookie, especially for one without an All-Star ceiling. He could spend some time this season in the G-League to develop his skills: shooting the ball well has to be his most pressing priority.
Unfortunately, Evans’ struggles are similar to McCaw’s last year: he can become such a small part of the offense that when he is called upon to make shots, he doesn’t have the confidence or rhythm to do so. Playing with the Warriors’ star talent can be difficult for role players: even Nick Young said he had trouble pulling the trigger and scoring buckets when he needed to with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant on the floor.
All is not lost for Evans, but it might take some time for him to acclimatize to NBA basketball and playing with the Warriors’ stars. However, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to show his worth this season and in the future.