Did The Warriors Ruin The Dynasty By Blowing The Draft? 2018 Jacob Evans
This one stings a little
We laid out the constraints and boundaries of this analysis in the series master post, Did The Warriors Ruin The Dynasty By Blowing The Draft? An In-Depth Series. This also has links to all the articles in the series.
Who was a better pick in 2018?
The Warriors picked Jacob Evans at #28.
He was imagined as a three-and-D-ish shooting guard, but his jumper developed a hitch late in his college career, and in the NBA, he completely lost confidence in his shot.
This season, GSW tried to retool him as a Rajon Rondo style no-shot point guard defender, and there were a few signs of life. But finally GSW ended the experiment, in the mad scramble to get under the luxury tax mid-season, and traded Evans.
Of the 32 players drafted after Jacob Evans, a whopping 14 players have played more NBA minutes than Evans (247 minutes): Bruce Brown, Jalen Brunson, Mitchell Robinson, Rodions Kurucs, Devonte' Graham, Omari Spellman, Élie Okobo, De'Anthony Melton, Hamidou Diallo, Jevon Carter, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Keita Bates-Diop, Shake Milton, and Isaac Bonga.
Here are the players drafted after him with more than 1,000 NBA minutes ordered by Win Shares. Fifteen players taken after Evans had more Win Shares. The list is so long, and Evans had so little impact, that I’m only going to look at four of them.
Mitchell Robinson, #36. An energy big who finishes strong, he’s already one of the top shot-blockers in the league (#2 last year, #6 this year), and he’s also elite at steals for a big. He terrorizes the offensive boards as well. He fouls a lot and his defensive rebounding is average (must be all the shot block attempts), but it’s easy to imagine him starting for GSW right now.
Jalen Brunson, #33. Backup point guard for DAL, so-so shooting, below-average assist rate, but he can get to the rim. Probably better than his numbers, as he was stuck in a minutes crunch between Doncic and J.J. Barea sucking up all his time.
Bruce Brown, #42. Starting combo guard for DET, a good defender with a shaky shot.
Omari Spellman, #30. Hey, we know this guy! And we got him this season, and played him a lot more minutes than Evans.
Devonte' Graham. Etc.
How did GSW do against the field?
Jacob Evans had the #40 most Win Shares of his 2015 draft class and the #48 highest Value Over Replacement Player.
Bleacher Report did not take him in the first round in a 2020 redraft. DraftSite took Evans at #28, which I find quite shocking and probably a typo.
A very bad return for the #28 pick.
2018 Pick Grades: Jacob Evans, F.
Okay, no need to belabor this one. This is the only complete misfire draft pick. GSW only got garbage-time minutes out of Evans.
Honestly, the alternatives weren’t stars (unless you count Mitchell Robinson), so the pain could have been a lot worse.
But there were plenty of positive contributors to be had, and the Five Finals run ended with the Warriors painfully weak on the bench.
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Yeah, it's tough. There were flashes where you could see the player that Evans might've been. Start of last season, before he got injured, his defense was looking fresher and his passing looked solid. With prudent shot selection you could see the future looking up for Evans in his sophomore year. Then he joined the rain of injuries and when he came back he looked every bit as bad as his rookie season. Absolutely a bust of a pick.
They did pickup Kendrick Nunn as a draft free agent.