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NBA Draft Results: Jacob Evans looks like a solid fit for the Warriors

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We expected the Warriors to go after a wing with their first round pick and got a solid one in Jacob Evans. And after lots of talk about making a trade for a second round pick.

AAC Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Everyone knew, or assumed, that the Golden State Warriors would pursue a wing entering the 2018 NBA Draft and it was just a matter of who would fall to them at the 28th pick.

As Charlie Stanton has discussed many times previously, the decision ultimately came down to whether the Warriors wanted a player with more defensive potential or offensive potential as a shooter. They ended up with an guy who’s a versatile player in Jacob Evans out of Cincinnati.

And if the quantitative scouting is accurate, they might have gotten themselves a steal.

Jacob Evans rates high statistically

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton listed Jacob Evans as the 13th best player in the draft.

I’m surprised Evans hasn’t gotten more buzz as the draft approaches. He’s a modern perimeter player who shot 38 percent on 3s during his college career but also handles the ball well enough to run the Bearcats’ offense at times. Evans is also big enough to defend either backcourt spot and some small forwards. A relatively low usage rate might be working against Evans, along with the fact that poor midrange shooting limited his efficiency (he shot 33 percent on 2-pointers beyond 5 feet, per Synergy Sports tracking).

Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN project him as a 3-and-D guy and that definitely fits what most of us want for the Warriors right now.

Strengths

Good combination of size, frame and length for the wing position.

Versatile player who ticks a number of boxes NBA teams look for at his position. Shot 38 percent from 3 in his three seasons in college, while posting a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Was asked to play some point guard his junior year and did a good job of facilitating for teammates. Multi-positional defender at the college level.

Young for his class. Similarly aged with sophomores projected to be drafted.

Improvement areas

Average athlete. Doesn’t have a great deal of juice off the dribble. Plays mostly below the rim.

Difficult to see him emerging as a prolific shot-creator despite his solid feel for the game.

Tends to blend in at times. Shooting mechanics are unorthodox.

While they note his tendency to “blend in” as a negative, that could certainly be construed as a positive for a team like the Warriors that has plenty of veteran, championship-tested talent. And his ability to adapt to various situations was something that he mentioned in his media interviews after his workout with the Warriors.

It’s also worth noting that Evans’ post-workout interview stood out as I was going through a number of them in the days leading up to the draft — while a number of young guys look just a little shook in those settings, Evans was crystal clear about how what they were doing in the drills connected to how the Warriors play normally. He exudes confidence, poise, and a solid knowledge of the game, especially for a guy whose youth is mentioned often.

In his interview with Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoopshype, Evans himself highlighted his intelligence as part of the value he brings to a NBA team.

What kind of things have you been hearing about how you’d fit into a winning organization?

JE: A lot of teams like my intelligence. They know the things that I can do because they have seen me play in college. They know I’ve been a winner at Cincinnati. It’s been great getting positive feedback from teams that I have grown up watching and teams that I just watched in the playoffs. I know I can be a great defender. Teams think that’s my elite part of my game as a guard. Hopefully, I’m guarding the best player. That was my job at Cincinnati and I take pride in it.

Evan Zamir elaborated on what he brings to the floor in his pre-draft analysis, ranking Evans 21st overall on his big board.

Evans was often relied on as a facilitator for Cincinnati’s offense this season (4.1 AST/40 minutes). He is a good shooter, has very good basketball IQ, ok athleticism, and pretty good ball handling skills. He’s one of those Master of None kind of guys. He’s in this tier because I think he can definitely help a team as a good-sized switch-everything wing who is smart enough and skilled enough to be net positive on the offensive end.

The rumors of a second round pick never panned out

After the Warriors selected Evans, people quickly moved to wondering whether they’d actually trade into the draft for a second round pick as they’d been rumored to be interested in doing for over a month.

And, as it turned out, they had a wealth of options — by the time the 25th pick rolled around, there were still at least seven guys that one could imagine fitting the Warriors still available. A number of those guys were still on the board heading into the second round.

As expected, many of those guys came off the board quickly in the second round. And it turned out that, indeed, nobody wanted to deal with the Warriors in the second round.

Nevertheless, the early returns on Evans are that he’s a value selection at the 28th pick so we should be happy with what we got.

What do you think? Vote in the poll and let us know your feelings in the comments below.

Poll

What’s your grade for the Warriors’ selection of Jacob Evans?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    A
    (2530 votes)
  • 28%
    B
    (1883 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (234 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (38 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (52 votes)
  • 21%
    Too soon to say
    (1445 votes)
  • 5%
    I stand against the artificial construct of grading the ability of others on principle.
    (391 votes)
6573 votes total Vote Now