Jacob Evans III
6’5″, 200 pounds
June 18th, 1997 (Junior)
Big Board Ranking: 27th OVR, 11th Wing
Evans was a four-star prospect from Baton Rouge who signed with the Bearcats in 2015. Evans had success in his first two seasons, averaging 8.4 points in his freshman year and jumped to 13.5 in his sophomore year. He established himself as a leader in his junior season, averaging 13 points, 3.1 assists, and 3.3 boards. The Bearcats had a 31-5 season good for a two seed in the NCAA tournament. Evans and the Bearcats lost in an upset to Nevada, 75-73.
Evans is a strong, physical player who projects to be a good NBA defender. His 6’5″, 200-pound frame combined with his 6’9″ wingspan allows him to wall off ball handlers. He is a tough defender with strong and quick hands, helping him jump passing lanes and get steals (1.3 steals per game). Evans doesn’t allow straight line drives and does a great job contesting shots without fouling. He has good enough quickness to keep average offensive players completely shut down. Evans is a mature defender and has a good feel for off-ball defense. When Evans is beat, he stays with the play and often recovers well with a strip, block, or just a solid contest.
Evans is an elite three-point shooter. In his sophomore year, he shot 41.8% from deep on 4.6 attempts per game. His mechanics are smooth, he has a very quick release, and he is on balance when he shoots. Evans has NBA range and is lights out in spot up/catch and shoot situations. He isn’t an incredible athlete but Evans is a solid leaper and an overall solid athlete. His vision isn’t refined or polished but he does show flashes of it. In the pick and roll, Evans often makes good reads and makes the right decisions.
Evans is a good rebounder for a wing (6.1 RB per 40); he uses his size, strength, and IQ to help on both the offensive and defensive boards. He is also a good shot blocker for a guard. Evans is a high energy, high effort player, and a competitor. He is a jack of all trades with many skills that project him as an effective three and D player at the next level.
Although Evans is competent in many areas, he doesn’t really excel at one thing asides from spot up shooting. Evans isn’t very comfortable shooting off of the dribble, even if that part of his game is improved. He isn’t comfortable shooting coming off of screens. He isn’t an overly adept or creative ball handler and lacks a quick first step. Evans struggles to beat good wing defender off of the dribble. Evans can be turnover prone and makes bad decisions with the ball when pressured. He is a solid athlete but isn’t very quick, doesn’t have a wide array of shots and is an inconsistent finisher.
Evans is a very good defender but doesn’t have the best lateral quickness. He is too often blown by quicker ball handlers and relies on his strength over his feet and quickness to wall off offensive players. Evans should be a solid contributor but doesn’t have overly high upside.
Best NBA Fits
Before I start, pretty much every team could be on this list. There are no teams who couldn’t use a productive 3-D wing. That being said, the Timberwolves are devoid of bench players, defenders, and wing players. Evans fits this bill to a tee. Their defensive rating (108.4) was in the bottom 10 in the NBA this year. Andrew Wiggins hasn’t progressed as a defender and their other backup wings, Jamal Crawford, Nemanja Bjelica, and Marcus Georges-Hunt don’t help in that area. Evans steps in day one and plays big minutes for Minnesota, providing invaluable defense and floor spacing for the young, promising team. He and Jimmy Butler could form a lockdown defensive perimeter duo in the future.
Picking at 22, the Bulls could look to remedy their gaping hole at small forward by picking Evans. Chicago has plenty of high-upside talent and the number eight pick. Selecting a lower upside player like Evans makes a lot of sense here. Chicago knows exactly what they are getting from Evans day one: a hard-working, high effort defender and a great spot-up shooter. Evans is an immediate starter over Justin Holiday or Denzel Valentine and could be an integral piece for this Bulls team in the future.
Portland Trail Blazers
Following Portland’s postseason meltdown, they are almost certainly going to look to make a big move this offseason. In order to acquire another star, they will have to gut much of their roster and lose many of their valuable wing players such as Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. Evans’ contract will be much lower than any wing they have on the roster and he fits a very similar role to anyone they have on the roster. If Portland wants to majorly improve, they will need to be masterful with their drafting and money management.
Evans is a jack of all trades, master of none. He doesn’t have one elite skill but his good defense and three-point shooting will make him a valuable commodity on the next level. He is an immediate contributor and although his upside isn’t high, he will be NBA ready. The pure value of three and D players in today’s NBA could see Evans going as high as the middle of the first round.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.