With Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans having just wrapped up what seems to be his annual Junior Jazz circuit tour — something that is normally regulated to first and second year players — the four-year veteran now needs to get down to business. Heading into his fifth season in the NBA, the 26 year old must know that for him, the 2014-15 season is a make or break year, where his career is either extended or comes to an abrupt halt.
Evans, who is due to make $1.79 million in the final year of his three year $5.25 million contract, is coming off his best season to date. The Western Kentucky University product had career highs practically across the board, playing in 66 games, averaging 6.1 points and 4.7 rebounds with an 18.3 minute per game average. The only part of his game that saw a decline was his field goal percentage, dropping below 60 percent for the first time to 52 percent, which had to be expected with the additional playing time.
As positive as it was to see Evans progress in his fourth year, he still needs to do quite a bit more if he wants to have a long NBA career. Evans needs to prove that he is a regular rotation player, one of the top eight or nine players that head coach Quin Snyder can rely on to play all 82 games and make an impact on a moment’s notice.
There is no doubt that the 6-foot-9 forward has developed nicely since he entered the league in 2010. Last year, the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk Champion proved he could be more than a player who makes a spectacular dunk or an emphatic block, but still Evans also looked like a player at times who is not quite a regular rotation player.
One problem with Evans’ game and what could hurt his chances in staying with the Jazz is his lack of an outside shot. While he has developed a decent mid-range 15-foot jumper, Evans has yet to hit an NBA 3-pointer and lacks that element, which seems to be a crucial part of Snyder’s system.
Furthermore, Evans still appears to lack the bulk needed to play the power forward position. When he entered the league, the 55th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft was listed as 196 pounds, a rather slight frame for a 6-foot-9 forward. Because of his lack of body weight, Evans came in and still is a player with no defined position — too light for a power forward, but lacks outside shooting to be a small forward.
So, in short, there is no better time or opportunity for Evans to make a name for himself than this upcoming year, as he can prove to a new head coach that he can be an integral part of the team. However, if Evans is unable to break the rotation, this very well could be the last year he puts on a Jazz uniform.