When surveying the landscape of 3-and-D wings in the 2018 draft class, Jacob Evans immediately pops off the page with his production and advanced metrics alongside his NBA ready frame. Next to names like Lonnie Walker IV and Khyri Thomas, Evans is one of the more proven commodities on the wing heading towards June 21.
In the Phoenix Suns’ third predraft workout, their second of four this week, Evans was the only one who has a high probability of being drafted, likely in the top 25 for him. Alongside William McDowell-White (Australia, EuroLeague), Alan Herndon (Wyoming), Obi Enechionya (Temple), Shannon Evans II (Arizona State), and Kodi Justice (Arizona State) he was by far the one who stood out.
Evans is only 200 pounds, but he’s already chiseled enough that he could handle guards while also heading towards adding 20-25 more over the next few years. Outside of his physical tools, Evans does all of the little things that help plug holes. He’s well advanced in reading switches defensively while also flashing three-level scoring upside.
Grinding on defense will be how Evans gets playing time early, but he could slide into a super sub type of role where he’s regularly out there 25-30 minutes just due to his on-court value.
Advanced statistics on Evans — specifically player efficiency rating, effective field goal percentage, steal percentage and block percentage — show he might become an instant rotation contributor. Evans carried a 20 PER, 20 AST%, 50 eFG%, 2.5 STL%, and 3.5 BLK%.
Comparing right alongside proven productive players like Larry Nance Jr., James Ennis, and Delon Wright. Evans’ ceiling outcome points toward Draymond Green, the most versatile player in the league. If he comes anywhere close to that, Phoenix snagged gold in the mid-first round.
When diving further into film on Evans, he gives off Draymond-esque vibes. He’s an all-around prospect who can pass, shoot, and defend at an above-average level. That leads me towards doubting he’s available at the top of the second round, so possibly No. 16 or trade back scenarios to acquire Evans would need to go down.
The last wing drafted to average at least 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists (excellent 1.8 AST/TO ratio for wing), 1 steal, 1 block while also shooting +37% from deep is actually Green himself. Like Green, Evans is very compatible in almost every lineup combination. He has the possiblities of becoming a secondary playmaker who can play 1-4 easily down the line.
During the workout circuit Evans now will endure — according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman Evans will workout for almost every team in the 16-30 range — he wants to prove he’s a player to step into immediate minutes.
“Just show that I’m an NBA player, you know, just being able to do a lot of things on the floor at my size and my length,” Evans said. “Just trying to be able to create and make plays for my teammates. Create shots for others also for myself, rebound, and defend.”
Phoenix needs to add many more in the mold of Josh Jackson and Davon Reed, defensive-driven players who are ultra versatile, for them to head more in towards the postionless direction they seem heading towards.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough mentioned Tuesday that he was the best all-around prospect in today but his profile is very desirable with the NBA compared to where it was only a few years ago. McDonough believes Evans has the length to compete defensively and can grow into the prototypical 3-and-D role.
“He’s physical. He’s aggressive. He’s good from mid-range He has pretty good size and length, too. I think the big key for him offensively will be translating that shot out to the NBA line,” McDonough said. “He shot a decent percentage from the college three. But, yeah, he’s a solid all-around player. Those versatile wings with size and strength and length are pretty in demand right now and he had a very good college career.”
I’ve mentioned it before, but teams like Boston and Golden State drafting and developing versatile perimeter defenders who are also non liabilities on the other end pay huge dividends in the playoffs. Evans’ advanced basketball IQ alongside his skillset, he’s still only 20 years old after three years at Cincinnati, slide right into that moldable outlook.
Versatility played a big role in Tuesday’s workout and Evans is ready to show off he’s tailor-made for in today’s league built off of pace-and-space action.
“The NBA is translating to a very versatile kind of positionless basketball, so I feel like I fit that mold at a pretty good time,” Evans said.
Get familiar with Evans below and stay tuned for an in-depth scouting profile here soon on BSOTS.