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The strengths and weaknesses of Keenan Evans

Where will Keenan Evans land in the 2018 NBA Draft?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Villanova vs Texas Tech Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan Evans Draft Profile

While all of us over here at Viva The Matadors are anxiously awaiting to see when and where Zhaire Smith will be taken in this years 2018 NBA Draft, let’s not forget about the man who lead Texas Tech to an Elite Eight appearance last March, Keenan Evans.

Strengths:

  • True Point Guard Ability - Keenan Evans has proved himself as a worthy floor general in his career at Texas Tech University. In his last two seasons with the Red Raiders, Evans averaged about 3 assists and and one steal a game and served as the center of Chris Beard’s offense.
  • Toughness - Evans went through the ringer facing tough point guards matchups in the Big 12. This list includes an almost lock lottery pick in Trey Young, Devonte Graham, and Jevon Carter. All of these guys figure to hear their name called at some point in the 2018 NBA Draft. Evans held his own against the competition despite having to play with a broken toe for the last few months of his career.
  • Shot Creation - Evans was Texas Tech’s go-to scorer. When we needed a bucket Keenan was ready to make it happen. Evans has a knack for being able to get by the first defender, drive to the bucket, and get two points. Evans led the team averaging 17.6 points a game in his senior season.
  • Free Throws - As a player who drives the lane on a regular basis, Evans tends to draw a lot of fouls. Evans was second in the Big 12 in free throw attempts per game, getting to the line 6.7 times per game last season. Evans shot 82% from the free throw line last season.

Watch as Evans drives to the hoop against a much bigger defender, absorbs the contact, and makes the bucket for an and-one opportunity.

Weaknesses:

  • Elite Athleticism - While Evans was a standout college athlete his senior season, he is not viewed as an elite athlete. Toughness and grit only get you so far in this league, and teams are likely moving him down their board because his lack of elite athleticism.
  • The Big Foot Injury - We did not see Evans take the court in the NBA Combine due to the broken toe he suffered against Baylor in February of last year. While playing though the injury may have earned him some points in the toughness department, I think the injury is a legitimate concern for some NBA teams.
  • NBA Ceiling - While Evans did improve every season while he was in Lubbock, the second round of the NBA draft is all about taking prospects with upside potential. I’m not here to say that Evans can’t improve, I’m just questioning if NBA teams see enough potential in Evans to grab him in the second round.

NBA Floor and Ceiling Comparisons

Floor - Tyshawn Taylor

Once a Big 12 guard like Evans, Taylor was pick 41 in the 2012 NBA Draft. Taylor played for two years bouncing between the NBA and the G-League. Currently Taylor is playing overseas basketball in Turkey and averages 21 points per game.

Ceiling - C.J. McCollum

Like Evans, McCollum was a three star recruit coming out of high school. Both players fit the bill as a modern “combo guard.” Both Evans and McCollum are listed at 6 feet and 3 inches tall with similar measurements. C.J. McCollum is deadly offensively for the Portland Trail Blazers and Evans would have to add some scoring power to his game to reach this ceiling. However, both players are very good off the dribble and have a knack for hitting timely step-back jumpers.

Mock Drafts and Projections:

Unfortunately for Keenan Evans, it would appear that he has fallen off the board in just about every mock draft circulating the internet. I find myself asking “what if” a whole lot when evaluating Keenan Evans. What if Evans never broke his toe? I firmly believe had he not sustained that injury, we would get drafted no question. The fact the he is not working out with teams like his teammate Zhaire Smith is probably not a good sign. The cold hard truth is that he probably won’t get drafted on Thursday.

Teams that make sense for Keenan Evans:

Detroit Pistons - Our SB Nation friends who cover the Pistons wrote about Evans to Detroit. New head coach Dwayne Casey’s teams are known for defense and he could be looking to add some guard depth in the second round.

Portland Trail Blazers - In a interview at the combine, Evans praised Damian Lillard saying “It would be great to be taken under the wing of an all-star point guard.” The Trail Blazers not very deep at the guard position and guard C.J. McCollum is circling in some trade rumors. Why not take a guy whose ceiling is the player who may be traded?

The Takeaway:

Evans is not afraid to take the big shot. Personally, I love seeing a Texas Tech beat that other team from Austin and really just wanted to work this clip in here, so enjoy!

I project that Evans will be taken late in the second round of the NBA Draft. If not, he deserves a shot to prove himself on an NBA Summer League roster. Unfortunately, not being able to work out for teams seems to really have affected his draft stock. However, I expect Keenan Evans to ball out this summer and work his way on to an NBA roster.

Do you think Keenan Evans gets drafted? Where would you like to see him play? Let me know in the comments below!