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Why Jacob Evans fits the Warriors’ system

The Warriors had a press conference to introduce first round pick Jacob Evans, whose selection is a sign about the direction of the Warriors’ supporting cast.

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NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers said after the 2018 NBA Draft that selecting Jacob Evans 28th was a no-brainer — the team immediately knew the versatile wing would fit.

Most analysts projected Evans to be picked higher than 28, and he fits a position of need. With injuries to Andre Iguodala and Patrick McCaw this postseason, the Warriors clearly desire more wing depth going into next year.

But even more importantly, Evans fits the Warriors system. Draymond Green, the admiral directing the Warriors’ defense, endorsed Evans as a the type of guy that can succeed in the playoffs after watching him workout for the team.

From his press conference earlier today, it’s clear that Evans is excited to get started.

The Warriors surely learned from a few mistakes made in their 2016 postseason. Neither Nick Young nor Omri Casspi worked out: Young was often lost defensively, and Casspi could not space the floor at all. Finding wings who can succeed at both ends is really difficult in the modern NBA.

And it’s becoming more and more important: more and more teams are going small so they can switch everything cleanly. For the Warriors to unlock their best lineups with Draymond at center, they need wings to soak up minutes. And they need to be able to hold up in isolation against the best wings in the NBA.

Evans is better on the defensive end than on the offense: his long wingspan, knack for blocks, and sturdy frame make him a great fit for the Warriors. He’s not the most athletic guy, but he has the smarts and technique to make up for it. He should be good enough to not be targeted by mismatches in isolation, which is incredibly important against offenses led by James Harden, LeBron James, and the like.

Offensively, he’s a good facilitator for a wing, even handling the ball well in the pick and roll, and rarely turned the ball over. He’s a good spot-up shooter, but he hasn’t shown any ability to shoot coming off screens or off the dribble. His lack of speed and athleticism prevent him from ever becoming a superstar scorer, but he can be a good supporting player if he’s not asked to do to much. On the Warriors, that’s exactly what they need.

He’ll need to be able to hit that three-point shot to stay on the floor, and I think he should do it at a decent rate. If he simply fulfills the 3-and-D prototype in his first year as a Warrior, that would be an inarguable success for a late first-round pick.

The Warriors found use for both Pat McCaw and Jordan Bell in their rookie postseasons, and Jacob Evans should expect the same treatment. Evans may have fell because he’s not a high-ceiling prospect, but his absence of notable weaknesses and commitment to defense make him likely to fit in well with the defending champions.

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