Jacob Evans

Warriors player profile: Jacob Evans could play a lot in second NBA season

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AP

Warriors player profile: Jacob Evans could play a lot in second NBA season

Editor's note: The Warriors' roster looks completely different than it did at this time last year. Golden State enters a new era at Chase Center with an injured Klay Thompson and without dynasty mainstays Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. As the Warriors' offseason goes on, we'll do a profile on every player on the revamped roster. Thursday's edition focuses on Jacob Evans. 

Warriors guard Jacob Evans had a rocky rookie season marred by a lack of playing time and stints in the G League. Now, following Golden State's summer of change, Evans could be a key contributor entering his second season. 

Here's everything you need to know about the second-year guard.

Contract

One year, $1,925,880 (Team options for the 2020-21 and 2021-12 seasons, qualifying offer for 2022-23)

Last season

Two months into his rookie campaign, Evans said the NBA wasn't "how I thought it would be." After being selected 28th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, he averaged just 1.3 points, 0.8 assists and 0.8 rebounds per game in his first year as he struggled to get on the floor. 

His struggles led to occasional stints in the G League, where he averaged 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 21 games. When he was with the Warriors, he spent most of his time reworking his jump shot with then-Golden State assistant coach Willie Green. 

However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr showed faith in Evans in the postseason, inserting him into the Warriors' 119-117 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals as Golden State clinched its fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. 

Outlook

On The Warriors Insider Podcast, Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that Evans will have "every opportunity" to earn minutes in his second season.  

With Shaun Livingston no longer on the roster, Evans will have primary ball-handling responsibility when Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell are not on the floor. During Summer League, Evans played a lot of point guard and sometimes struggled against heavy ball pressure. Nonetheless, he showed an improved mid-range game that could suit him well during his sophomore season.

[RELATED: Kerr 'anxious' to see how Russell fits alongside Steph]

Evans entered the summer hoping to reverse the ills of a disappointing rookie season. He seemed to do that in Las Vegas, averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. 

Still, Evans' time on the floor will be earned in training camp and over the course of the season. 

How Warriors will make up for losing assist leaders in 2019-20 season

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USATSI

How Warriors will make up for losing assist leaders in 2019-20 season

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.
 
When the Warriors open their season this fall, they will be without six of their top eight assist leaders from 2018-19, after splitting with Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook, as well as losing Klay Thompson for most of the season. Collectively, those six players accounted for approximately 18 of the Warriors league-leading average of 29 assists per game.

How will the Warriors maintain their revolutionary style of sharing the ball next season without them?
 
It starts with the two remaining assist leaders on the team from last season, Draymond Green and Steph Curry. After a good-not-great regular season where Green averaged about seven assists per game, the Dubs forward took his conditioning and effort up a notch, resulting in an increase in assists in each playoff series.

Against the Clippers in the first round, Draymond averaged 7.8 assists, followed by 8.2 assists in the second round against the Rockets. He then totaled 8.8 assists per game in the Western Conference Finals against the Blazers, and 9.3 assists in the NBA Finals versus the Raptors. Draymond's increase in assists coincided with the absence of Durant, as he needed to become more of a playmaker. For the Warriors to maintain their expected offensive dominance, Green will have to take that same attitude and physical shape into the regular season. 
 
Curry, after averaging a little over five assists per game last regular season, increased his assists totals once Kevin Durant went down as well. In the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, Curry posted a combined 6.5 assists per game. Without Durant, Curry played less off-the-ball, and instead had the ball in his hands in order to create for himself and his teammates.

Typically, Warriors coach Steve Kerr shies away from constant pick-and-roll action and likes his offense to share the ball, including everyone on the court as much as possible. In doing so, Curry uses his incredible talent of moving without the ball to confuse defenses and force miscommunication and ineffective switches.

Next season, however, the Warriors may not have the luxury to utilize Curry that same way, as he may be needed to run a team that is without most of their veteran, accomplished playmakers. Kerr said he may have to adjust his strategy this next season, and his usage of Curry might be their No. 1 change.
 
The Warriors were fortunate to bring D'Angelo Russell from the Nets for many reasons, including his ability to run an offense. Russell's seven assists per game last regular season would have led the Warriors team. Used in primarily a high-ball-screen, pick-and-roll scheme, Russell feasted on defenses when he got into open space in the key.

When Curry is on the bench, there is an expectation that Kerr will utilize Russell in that same fashion, and let him find a groove with great rim-rolling options like newly-acquired big man Willie Cauley-Stein. Many wonder how Russell will fit into the style that the Warriors have played in the past, but it will be up to Kerr and the coaching staff to strategize how to get the best out of Russell's skill set. 

[RELATED: Kerr reveals why he was devastated by Dubs trading Iguodala]
 
A lot has been made about Jacob Evans converting to a point guard, but for him to be a rotation piece, he simply will have to be careful with the basketball. The Warriors are not expecting Evans to suddenly be a dynamic shot creator -- they know that it will take time for him to develop that confidence and ability.

What they do hope is that he can facilitate the offense from the top of the key, make the right passes, and be secure with the ball in order to avoid live-ball turnovers. There is a reason that the team has likened his potential role to mimic that of Shaun Livingston. If Evans can come close to emulating Livingston's game, the Warriors will feel confident that they have four ball-handlers and facilitators going into next season. 

Warriors Summer League Grades: How four important young players fared

Warriors Summer League Grades: How four important young players fared

The Golden State Warriors entered the Las Vegas Summer League with an abundance of necessary curiosity.

With three draft picks and a second-year player on the roster -- combined with the uncertainty surrounding the team -- the offseason tournament provided a glimpse of what to expect from its young core in the upcoming season.

Now, with Summer League wrapped up, here are the final grades for four important young Golden State's participants.

Jordan Poole

The 2019 first-round draft pick struggled with his shot during the California Classic, making just four of his first 20 attempts through three games. However, he picked up his scoring output in Vegas, averaging 17.8 points, including a 12-point performance against Denver, helping Golden State overcome a 17-point deficit.

Poole also showed an ability to make plays, throwing a variety of behind-the-back passes, often getting teammates involved in the offense. If Poole can continue his upward offensive trajectory, he can compete for minutes on the floor.

While Poole showed flashes of potential, he did have some low points. Though he averaged 2.3 steals in Vegas, he struggled to get around switches, something that hindered him in college. In addition, despite the scoring outbursts, he shot just 40 percent from the field over his final four games.

Final Grade: B- 

Jacob Evans

Evans entered the Summer League hoping to reverse the ills of a disappointing rookie season. In his second Summer League appearance, he seemed to do that, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds.

With Shaun Livingston no longer on the roster, Evans will have primary ball-handling responsibility when Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell are not on the floor. In Vegas, Evans played a lot of time at point guard and sometimes struggled against heavy ball pressure. Nonetheless, he showed an improved midrange game that could suit him well during his sophomore season.

Grade: B

Eric Paschal 

Lauded for his shooting, Paschal impressed during the California Classic, shooting 61 percent from the field, including an 18-point, 6-of-8 performance in a loss to the Lakers.

Golden State remains high on Paschal, despite the fact that he's a second-round draft pick, citing his toughness, IQ and defensive prowess as a reason he'll see playing time next season.

Grade: B

Alen Smailagic

The 18-year-old showed a bevy of potential, with numerous highlight-reel dunks during Summer League. In four games in Vegas, he averaged 8.5 points, adding 5.0 rebounds in 22 minutes.

For the Warriors, the Serbian is a long-term project worth an investment, evidenced by the fully guaranteed four-year, $4.3 million contract the team tendered last week.

In Vegas, Smailagic simultaneously showed why he's worth the contract while giving reminders of the work needed to get playing time. While he showed flashes with his dunks, he was frequently out of position for rebounds due to lack of strength.

Grade: C