Weight: 185 pounds
School: Oklahoma State
Position: Point Guard
Jawun Evans is a point guard in its truest form. He’s a leader and a floor general who relies on high basketball IQ and excellent ball-handling to get to where he wants on the floor rather than pure athletic ability.
Evans excels in the pick-and-roll where more than half of his possessions at Oklahoma St. took place. He should be comfortable stepping into most NBA offenses where the P&R is a primary mode of offense, and he is capable of doing plenty of damage both as a scorer and passer when he gets into the paint.
He was one of the best passers in all of college basketball last season as he has great court vision and a good understanding of when to look for his own offense and when to set up teammates.
His finishing in the paint needs work, but he showed improvements in that category as well. He has a strong body which he used well to absorb contact and get to the line regularly. He also began using a floater to score over bigs which he will need to continue to work on at the next level. He is also a solid shooter but struggled at times shooting off the dribble.
He also has some tools defensively as he uses his strong base not to get pushed around and his long arms to generate a number of steals. He works hard on that end of the floor despite some physical limitations.
The biggest concern for Evans revolves around his physical profile. He measured at just under 6’0 at the NBA Draft Combine, and he doesn’t have the athleticism to make up for his lack of ideal height either. This hurts him in different ways both offensively and defensively.
On offense, he struggles to finish in the paint. While he did show some improvements as a sophomore, particularly in developing a floater, he still was a below average finisher in the paint overall. There are also some turnover concerns as he can get caught in the paint and struggles with traffic.
Defensively Evans doesn’t quite have the foot speed and lateral quickness to keep up with top-level guards. He will certainly work hard and cause some issues, but there will undoubtedly be some struggles.
Lastly, there are some worries about Evans’ shooting translating to the next level. He was a solid shooter at the college level, but it’s unknown if he’ll be a consistent threat from three-point range as he didn’t take many shots from deep. He will also need to work to improve as a pull-up shooter where his percentage drops mightily.
Player Comparison: Mike Conley
Mike Conley doesn’t have all of the physical tools of many top point guards of this era such as Russell Westbrook or John Wall but has become one of the best in the league thanks to his high basketball IQ, shooting improvements, and ability to lead his teammates.
Evans shares many of the same traits as a floor general, passer, and high IQ player. Evans has a stronger body while Conley is a little quicker, but their strong points remain the same. Evans’ ability in the pick-and-roll will allow him to contribute immediately while he still has plenty of room to grow.
At worst, Evans translates to a high-level backup point guard who can lead a great bench unit and keep everyone involved. If he continues to develop, however, especially as a shooter, he can become a very good starter and a potential steal late in the first round.
Fit with the Lakers
With D’Angelo Russell seeming to be better suited as a shooting guard moving forward, the Lakers are in need of a true point guard and floor general. Should they pass on a guard at the top of the draft, bringing in someone like Evans would make a lot of sense.
Jordan Clarkson is still a part of the team’s future, but he seems to have regressed as a playmaker and is much more of a score-first guard. Evans would give the Lakers the third guard they need as he could either be the leader for the bench unit or step into the starting lineup to keep Russell off the ball and allow Russell to remain at the shooting guard spot.
Evans is a tough, hard-nosed guard who looks to set teammates up and works well in the pick-and-roll. Even if he is best suited as a backup, the Lakers need another point guard provided they don’t bring back Tyler Ennis, and Evans fits the bill.