Jeremy Evans Just Dunked On The Downbeat - #540

Continuing player season reviews in the Downbeat using the DB numbers as inspiration.

  If you turn Jeremy Evans sideways, he looks exactly like the number 1.

  We already know that Evans is one of the dunkiest players in the league.  His ridiculous field-goal percentage came primarily because he was finishing at the rim as part of the 1-2 punch of the alley (Early)-oop:

Jeremy Evans Rookie Season Mix (via memoismoney)

Earl Watson and Evans were able to lure players to sleep using the high pick-and-roll as a decoy then having Evans spin back towards the basket for the easy alley-oop.  A lot of those came because Evans isn't one that teams will game-plan for on a nightly basis.  
As he got more playing time, some teams could see the play develop and interrupt.  However, there were times when Watson put the ball up as high as he could and Evans just went and  got it.  That's what he'll be remembered for the most in his rookie season.  I think we'll find over the coming years though that he isn't a one-trick pony.

  Jeremy Evans had three starts for the Jazz in the 2011 season.  Just like Gordon Hayward, who could have foreseen that Evans would not only make the team, but make three starts for a club like the Jazz?  Jerry Sloan's retirement, Deron Williams' departure, and injuries obviously played a key role in that chance.

He did what every player that might not get significant minutes is coached to do: be ready to play when your name is called.

Evans had his best outing of the season in one of those starts as he put up 14 points on 7 shots in just 16 minutes against the Timberwolves. That was an ugly game for the Jazz, but Evans had one of his best dunks of the season in my opinion on this put-back:

Jeremy Evans put-back slam against Minnesota 3-11-11 (via getbangedon)

Say what you want about a small sample size or putting up most of his offensive numbers from dunks, he was about as consistent as you can get.  Until the final two months of the season, he was shooting a ridiculous 73 (44/62) from the field.  In the final two months of the season as his minutes doubled, he shot just 58%.  That also came as a result of him trying to add some range to his shot.  In order to become an effective scorer, he's going to have to add some consistency on that outside jumper.
He had  the physical tools to succeed in the NBA and no doubt has the work ethic to continually improve his game.  At this time last season, he was just trying to get noticed in the Orlando Summer league.  He was a rookie with an non-guaranteed contract drafted by a team that had a lot of vets.  As Jerry Sloan put it though, "he just plays [the] basketball.:
Just playing basketball is what has led this nearly undrafted Hilltopper to where he is today.

  Evans has played the four for his career despite missing out on what most would consider a necessity for the spot, power.  His athleticism and developing mid-range game helped him on offense.  He can also get up with anyone and block and alter almost any shot.

However, when it comes to matching up one-on-one against other PFs in the league, his weight becomes a huge liability.  He was listed at 196 lbs. coming out of college and that might have included 6 pounds worth of uniform, warm-ups, and sneakers.

He can also see what's going on with the team in regards to the PF position.  The Jazz currently have Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, and Derrick Favors that will consume all of the minutes at the 4.  That's not including playing time that will be given to Mehmet Okur and Enes Kanter up front..

Given that Andrei is anything but certain to be back, there likely will be minutes to be had at the the three.  Evans has a smooth stroke that he should continue to develop which will open up the floor for him and for the front-court players.  He's stated that he wants to work on his ball-handling and mindset, signs that he's planning on a move from the four to the three.

 Just goes to show you how much I know.  After drafting Gordon Hayward last season with the #9 pick, here was my tweet that followed,

Don't worry, we're going to kill it with the 55th pick.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply


Thankfully the Internet doesn't have a sarcasm font so I come off looking like a genius.  For now, it looks like O'Connor has pulled off another second-round heist.  He's not going to be a Paul Millsap-type steal, but used correctly, he's going to be a fantastic pick-up.

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