Jacob Evans Wants To Be Jimmy Butler
This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Junior, SG/SF, Cincinnati
6’5, 200 lbs
College Stats in 2017-18:
36 games, 30.8 MPG, 13 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 42.7 FG%, 37 3P%, 75.4 FT%
Where he’ll go:
Evans is projected to go in the later half of the first round.
When Jacob Evans sat at the Combine in Chicago, he was asked a million questions by the media. Some relevant, most not.
He was asked what player he models his game off of at the NBA level.
If you’re a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, take note of this, considering Evans is projected to go right around where the Wolves pick at No. 20.
“I love Jimmy Butler, you know, just love the fact that he digs in and plays both sides of the ball,” Evans said at the Combine in Chicago. “He worked his butt off in the offseason to become a better offensive guy . . . He had to work on his shooting, but he prides himself on defense. You see him every night, he’s guarding James Harden or Kevin Durant or LeBron James, whoever the guy is on the other team, he takes pride in guarding him. That’s what I want to do also.”
It's unfair to say that Evans will become Jimmy Butler. That’s an impossible ceiling to give a guy who won’t even be a lottery pick. But Butler wasn’t a lottery pick (No. 30 in 2011) and Evans has some traits similar to Butler’s.
At 21 years old, this is a wing who loves defense. He has the ability to defend and switch onto point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. For his age, he’s an extremely smart off-ball defender and just understands that in order to win, defense needs to be played. That’s not a common thing for young players. He’s not afraid to make the gritty plays (jump a passing lane, dive for a ball, make a weakside block) to succeed at the next level.
Evans is a solid 3-point shooter, shooting 37 percent from deep in his junior season and 41.8 the season before. Not great numbers, but his form is solid enough (although, a little low) that he shouldn’t have much trouble translating that over to the next level. He’s going to get his shots off catch-and-shoot opportunities more than anything, at least early on. He’s not one to create his own shot. Evans is solid finishing at the rim, but isn’t exactly what you’d call a high flier.
As far as negatives go, the ball kind of gets stuck offensively with him. He doesn’t have many characteristics of a point guard at all and a lot of his passes come when he knows he has no other options.
Offensively, Evans will be a work in progress and could even be a liability early on. Evans scored 15 or more points 14 times last season, but less than 10 in seven.
Defensively, though, he’s a player who should be able to play for a team from day one of his rookie season.