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LA Clippers 2017-18 Player Previews: Jawun Evans

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Jawun Evans brings great tenacity and basketball acumen to the LA Clippers. But does he have enough upside to crack the rotation in his rookie season?

2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Age: 20

NBA Experience: 0 years (rookie)

Position: PG

Key Stats: 19.2 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 29.3 minutes per game on 43.8% FG, 37.9% 3PT FG, and 81.2% FT during his final season at Oklahoma State

Contract Status: 3-year/$3.8 million

Expectations:

Selected 39th overall in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, and immediately acquired thereafter in exchange for cash considerations, Jawun Evans was a bargain pickup for the LA Clippers. Evans is known for his agility as well as his ability to facilitate which, when combined with his overall efficiency, give him a decent chance at someday becoming a reliable contributor in the NBA. That likely won’t be any time soon, however.

The combination of solid guard depth for the Clippers as well as Evans’ youth are expected to put a significant damper on his playing time. The transition might be progressive, but he’s shown signs of leadership and ability to develop quickly at the college level. Evans had two solid years at Oklahoma State University, where, during his sophomore season, he earned first team All-Big 12 honors and became the first OSU player to tally 600+ points and 200+ assists in a single season. He ran one of college basketball’s most efficient offenses during the 2016-17 season, mastering the pick-and-roll game and finishing superbly in transition. And this is all following a stellar freshman season in which he led all Big 12 freshmen in scoring (12.9 points) and assists (4.9) per game, as well field goal, 3-point, and free throw percentage, ultimately earning him Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors. But what will it all mean for Evans at the next level?

Offensive production doesn’t often translate from college to the NBA. That said, there are some notable takeaways. The pick-and-roll, a major part of Evans’ game, is still very much alive in the NBA; he now has far more options at his disposal in bigs/forwards who would be ideal beneficiaries. In addition, while his ability to facilitate might not come so easy at the next level, he has demonstrated that he is capable of making his teammates around him better. His decision-making skills illustrate his deep high basketball IQ, a trait which certainly fares well during the college-to-NBA transition. He also has a knack for stealing the ball, a statistical measure which often correlates with success in the NBA; and it’s not necessarily the stat itself that translates but, rather, the level of effort that most-often accompanies it.

Despite all of Evans’ positive attributes, it is worth noting that he fell to the second round of the draft for a reason. His one glaring limitation is his size; his 6-foot height could make it difficult for him to defend, and score-against, most other NBA guards. His strength and his 6’5” wingspan might help make up some ground, but it will be tough nonetheless. Guards like Chris Paul (with whom Evans has many similarities) and Isaiah Thomas (also a second round selection) have managed to overcome such size concerns and play at an elite level; but this is very uncommon. Evans will have to work very hard, not only to crack the Clippers’ rotation but also, to simply develop into a rotation player. So what will this season look like for him?

Expect Evans to spend most of his season developing with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. Fortunately for both Evans and the LA Clippers, there now exists a dedicated development team, via the G-League, for players to grow meaningfully with the team even when NBA playing time isn’t always available. Barring either an injury or trade involving one of the Clippers’ other guards, Evans will likely be looking on from the bench when he isn’t with the AC Clippers. It gives him a chance to study the NBA game at a close vantage point, and on a 3-year contract, it’s expected that he will contribute at some point.

For now, fans of Jawun Evans will have to wait patiently before he even becomes a factor for the Clippers. He could eventually become an endearing presence for fans because of his pace, his vision, his humility, and ultimately his effort. But don’t expect much until next season at the earliest. In the meantime, make sure to follow the AC Clippers, and check out some of his best plays below.

Here are some of Evans’ best plays with Oklahoma State:

And here are some of his best plays from NBA Summer League this year: