SACRAMENTO -- Jacob Evans III knows the Warriors are going through a radical reconstruction after one crazy Sunday, where Kevin Durant left for Brooklyn and D’Angelo Russell came back in a sign-and-trade. Andre Iguodala left the franchise that very night, and Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson formally were retained the following day.
Last year’s first-round draft pick didn’t want to talk about it. Evans gave a swift, short no comment Monday night when asked about such franchise-altering activity.
He was focused on the NBA Summer League, which the Warriors opened with a 81-77 loss to the Sacramento Kings in the California Classic at Golden 1 Center.
Staying on task will be vital for Evans, now part of a much, much younger Warriors roster that, because of a precarious salary-cap situation, will be fleshed out on the dirt cheap.
Evans was viewed as a first-round talent, and he’ll have to play like one next season to provide depth and punch to a backcourt operating without Thompson, who will be recovering from a torn ACL.
The Warriors are moving Evans to point guard this offseason, and the California Classic opener offered some offensive success and a few defensive miscues that he’d like to have back.
“I thought he did really well,” Warriors summer league coach Aaron Miles said. “I thought he was decisive for the most part. He pulled up [and shot]. He attacked in transition. He organized us and ran some things right for us. I thought he did a good job offensively. Defensively, he could’ve done a lot better, but he knows that.
"Overall, it was a good first game of summer league. The most important thing is that we have film now.”
There should be plenty of teaching tape. Evans plans to play in the entire summer league series, with three games here in Sacramento and four more in Las Vegas.
“I hope so,” Evans said. “I want to play as much as I can, to be honest with you. I’m young. I don’t need any load management. I want to play this whole thing out.”
That will give this point guard experiment a chance to breathe. The Warriors certainly hope it works, giving them an option behind Steph Curry and Russell in the backcourt with Thompson rehabbing, Iguodala gone and Shaun Livingston possibly on the way out.
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Evans' defense must improve, especially on a team that many believe will struggle in the backcourt. This offers Evans a challenge he welcomes and is diving headfirst into this offseason.
“It has been kind of fun,” Evans said. “I guess you could say it’s my natural position. That’s what I played growing up. It’s important to make the right play every time, and not just looking to shoot. I’m still learning and getting used to some things, but it has been a lot of fun.”