When is it okay to be mediocre in the NBA? At what point does criticism become suspended for some players? Maybe we should ask Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans. Drafted by the Jazz in 2010 with the 25th overall pick, Evans has averaged approximately eight minutes of playing time since his rookie season. At 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, Evans has been buried in the line up behind small forwards who have more skill and power forwards who were more muscular from the day he arrived in the league.
But the career fortunes of the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner may be on the upswing with former Jazz frontcourt mainstays C-F Al Jefferson and PF Paul Milsap, having departed Utah in the offseason. That means Evans will move up in the rotation and see his playing time increase. Though he is listed as a power forward, Jeremy is clearly a lightweight at 200 pounds. There are point guards who weigh more than he does. His career shooting percentage is a robust 65, but that is a tad bit misleading, seeing as how most of his shots are taken within five feet of the rim.
However, as illustrated during the 2012 All-Star festivities, Evans’ saving grace is his athleticism. This year, he’ll be called upon to be scrappier on the offense glass and more tenacious on the defensive end as well. With such anemic career averages as 2.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game, I don’t see Evans moving forward with the Jazz, nor any other franchise, if he does not at least double his averages across the board this season. Luckily, he’ll have plenty opportunities to do so with the dearth of big men suiting up for the Jazz. Perhaps working out over the summer with Jazz HOFer Karl Malone will come in handy.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rant Sports based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.