Rookie guard Jacob Evans is expected to contribute immediately as the Golden State Warriors hope to win their third NBA Championship in a row.
The Warriors are collectors and just like most collectors, they have a need to accumulate more. The team collects wins, NBA Championships, and apparently, versatile swingmen. The Warriors’ latest addition to their swingman collection is rookie Jacob Evans.
Evans was taken in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft with the No. 28 overall pick.
After spending three seasons at Cincinnati, he was regarded as one of more NBA-ready prospects in the in the draft. The Warriors needed more wing depth and Evans fits the bill from that perspective, but the team is also banking on his extensive experience in college quickly translating to the NBA.
If the defending NBA champions hope to secure their third straight title, they will need Evans to contribute right away, but the question remains: What can the Warriors reasonably expect from Evans in his rookie season?
There is no way to foresee exactly how his first NBA campaign will go, but if we examine his past production and what his expected role will be on the team, we might be able to formulate an approximation of Jacob Evans’ rookie year.
In three seasons at Cincinnati, Evans averaged 11.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 2.5 apg while shooting 42.9% from the field and 37.7% from the three-point line. He shot a career-high 41.8% from three during his sophomore season.
Evans showed immense improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons in the scoring department. He played more minutes in his second season, but more minutes do not always translate to improvement so it’s encouraging to see that more playing time led to more production.
A closer look at Evans’ advanced stats paints a hopeful picture. His usage rate gradually increased through his three seasons, peaking at 22.5% in his junior season. While both his true shooting and effective field goal percentages both dipped a bit between his sophomore and junior seasons, he managed to keep both at above 50%.
Stats don’t tell the whole story, but one can infer from these particular statistics that Evans managed to maintain his efficiency while he used more possessions on the floor. The Warriors won’t need Evans to produce as much as he did in college, but they”ll be glad if he maintained that level of efficiency.
Unfortunately, Evans did not fare well in Summer League against professional competition. He failed to average double figures and struggled to score efficiently.
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The caveat is that it was just Summer League and there are factors that can affect a player’s performance (compressed schedule, not much practice with teammates, etc.), so there’s no reason to overreact.
The Warriors’ rotation is still a bit up in the air, but Evans should assume some of Nick Young’s minutes from last season (17.4 per game). Kerr will likely start Evans off slowly, but the veteran coach has shown that he’s not afraid to throw young players into the fire and hand them heavy minutes throughout the season. About 13 minutes a game sounds like a reasonable number.
Now that there is some statistical data and a rough idea of his role in the rotation, it is time to answer the question: What can the Warriors reasonably expect from Evans in his rookie season?
Well, the Warriors still lack a clear go-to scorer off the bench, especially now that Nick Young is gone. Assuming Evans takes over the bulk of Young’s minutes, one might assume that he could approach Young’s 7.3 ppg, but it’s more feasible to expect some early struggles to start the season since rookies usually don’t tend score very efficiently.
As long as Evans proves that can defend when he’s on the floor and fit in around the All-Stars on offense, he should be fine.
Evans has the potential to become the three-and-D player he was projected to be, even if it does not happen this season.