If there are any trends that have taken hold of the NBA, it’s versatility, shooting, ability to play in space and with tempo. Jacob Evans, who played point guard in high school and off ball at Cincinnati, believes he’s equipped to succeed in the league.
Evans was among six prospects the Los Angeles Lakers invited to their latest pre-draft workout at UCLA Health Training Center. “I feel like I did pretty good,” he said.
“Today wasn’t my best shooting day. I felt like I wanted to shoot the ball better but I played defense like I normally do, made basketball players, scored, create for my teammates. Just tried to lead the group of guys we had. I feel like today was a very productive day for me.”
Listed at 6’7″ and 210 lbs., Evans prides himself in being able to guard multiple positions. “It’s very important,” he said of being versatile.
“Especially just being a wing, guard, position-less basketball player that I consider myself. Being able to guard all over on the court on the perimeter or even when you get some switches, banging down there in the low post. Guarding faster guards, just being able to be versatile on the defensive end is very important.”
While much is made about offense, Evans believes defense is the building block for that, which is a message Lakers head coach Luke Walton has often stressed. “The best way to play with pace is by getting stops and also having guys that can grab it and push,” Evans said.
“You see Kyle Kuzma, he’s able to grab it off the rim and push ahead in the break.”
Evans averaged 13 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals this past season and earned First Team All-AAC honors. He made 1.7 3-pointers per game on 37 percent shooting, but doesn’t want to fall into the “3-and-D” label.
“The more you can do on a basketball court, the higher chance you’ve got of being a great player in this league,” he said. “Being able to create with the ball. I feel like they’ve seen little flashes of it. I feel like I’ve surprised a number of teams with my passing ability and my ability to drive and create, attack the basket and break my man down off the dribble.”
Evans is looking to join a long line of Cincinnati products to enjoy success in the NBA, and he hopes to do so by incorporating a bit of everything from his predecessors. “Honestly, I try to take a little bit from everybody because they’re all completely different,” Evans said.
“You’ve got Kenyon Martin who brings that intensity, that non-stop, never-quit aggression, that grit. You’ve got DerMarr Johnson who was highly skilled when he came out. You’ve got Lance who tries to get in your head on the court and do everything.
“And you’ve got Sean Kilpatrick, he’s a guy that works really hard and got to where he is now with the Chicago Bulls. Having that dog mentality of working hard everyday is what I take from him.”
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