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NBA Draft’s Most Underrated Point Guard: Jawun Evans

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Is Jawun Evans the draft’s most underrated point guard?

“I do feel like I was underrated because Oklahoma State is a smaller school than those other schools and so I feel like that has a big thing to do with it,” Evans told Basketball Insiders. “I’ve been underrated my whole life, but I’m always going to come out and be on top.”

As a sophomore, Evans led Oklahoma State to an eight-game improvement and a trip to the NCAA Tournament under new coach Brad Underwood. Evans earned Big 12 All-Conference First Team honors and led the conference in assists per game (6.4), ranked second in points per game (19.2), and third in steals per game (1.8).

With that in mind, Evans believes his playmaking ability separates him from the other point guards in his class.

“Being an all-around point guard, making my teammates better, making the right pass, just the small things,” Evans told Basketball Insiders. “I feel like I’m the most complete point guard out there, to be honest.”

Evans led all point guards in the draft class with a 43.6 assist percentage and has drawn comparisons to Chris Paul from league executives.

Tim Martin, Evans’ trainer, also mentioned the Paul comparison along with another pesky defender.

“I’ve always felt like he has the ability to defend like Patrick Beverley,” Martin told Basketball Insiders. “I’ve been saying that for years. I think he’s got defensive upside like Patrick Beverley and offensively he’s got a lot of similarities with Chris Paul. Once Jawun actually gets guys around him that are your prototypical size in terms of bigs, wings, and specialists in their field, that’s only going to make him a better player at the next level.”

Evans is listed just below six feet but uses his 6’5 ½ wingspan to clog the passing lanes and reach around opposing ball handlers to poke the ball away. It’s the longest wingspan measurement for any drafted player below six feet in DraftExpress’ system.

While Evans has the physical tools to make the transition on defense at the next level, Martin has worked with him on the mental aspect of being a floor general and managing the game since his sophomore year of high school.

“Jawun is the type of kid where you’ve only got to tell him one time and he has a gift of mastering that,” Martin told Basketball Insiders. “I think the biggest thing is controlling game tempo, understanding situations in terms of the free throw count, foul count, reading teammates’ body language. Understanding the whole dynamic of learning the team and being the quarterback of the team, essentially, becoming more of a vocal leader.”

As Evans continues to grow as a floor general, his playmaking ability will translate immediately to the NBA, according to Martin.

“I’ve worked with a lot of NBA point guards before, and his unique sense of where guys are at and where they need to be is incredible,” Martin told Basketball Insiders. “He does a phenomenal job of rebounding. Some of the Jason Kidd rebounds from the free throw line. When he starts the break, he knows how to dissect the defense and get the ball where it needs to go. He does a phenomenal job of understanding that and, especially with the way the game is now, up-tempo and that style of play, he’s going to thrive.”

Today’s NBA style of play features a lot of pick-and-roll situations, something Evans is quite familiar with from his time at Oklahoma State. As DraftExpress notes, the team ran a pick-and-roll offense with 56.3 percent of Evans’ total derived offensive possessions (shots, passes, fouls drawn, and turnovers) ending as the pick-and-roll ball handler, per Synergy Sports Technology.

Executives will have this information handy, especially with a premium on advanced stats. However, what would the 20-year-old say to convince a general manager he should be selected when asked in a face-to-face meeting?

“I’m a great guy in the locker room,” Evans replied. “I want to see my teammates get better. I feel like I can make this team better with the way I play, getting the ball up and down the floor, making the right plays and making the right passes. I’m a hard worker, so I want to be the best I can be.”

Similar to other draft prospects, the upcoming interviews Evans will have with general managers will affect his draft stock.

“I’m a little bit more outgoing off the court,” Evans told Basketball Insiders. “I’m a big science guy. I like science. I like plants and animals. I like to learn about Earth. I like to play video games.”

“He’s got a Kawhi Leonard type of personality,” Martin told Basketball Insiders. “He’s a man of few words, but his game speaks loud and says a lot. That’s how he is. He’s a great personality, just a good spirited kid.”

Evans has upcoming workouts with the Portland Trail Blazers on June 8, Oklahoma City Thunder on June 9, and Utah Jazz on June 10, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

In addition, the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic are also monitoring Evans.

Currently, Evans is projected to land with the Thunder or Magic in our latest Basketball Insiders mock draft.

After making strides in two seasons with Oklahoma State as an underrated recruit, Evans believes he will follow the same path and help an NBA team take the next step.

Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.

About Michael Scotto

Michael Scotto

Michael Scotto is a Senior NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders in his sixth season covering the league. He also works for The Associated Press focusing on Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks game coverage.