Some players play in the NBA, do amazingly in limited minutes, but never get the chance that they deserve. One person that I could perhaps point to is James Singleton. Singleton has played parts of five seasons in the NBA, producing at least .2 Wins Per 48 Minutes in all but one of them, yet has never played more than 884 minutes in a season, spent “exiles” in Spain and China, and before his first NBA stint, he played in the Legadue, Italy’s second division. Another player like Singleton is Jeremy Evans. There are a few fundamental differences, thought, that make Evans’s lack of playing time even more striking.
In the 2010 NBA Draft, Utah selected Jeremy Evans as the 55th pick out of Western Kentucky. Unlike many second-rounders, Evans actually made the team. In 463 minutes that season, he averaged 18.5 points, 10.1 rebounds. 2.5 turnovers, 2.0 assits, 1.8 blocks, 1.8 steals, and 5.2 fouls per 48 minutes, while recording a True Shooting Percentage of 67.8 and averaging 1.55 Points Per Shot in 11.9 attempts per 48 minutes. (All stats are from www.thenbageek.com, and win totals are based on Wins Produced. Position averages for those who are interested are available there.) The rebounding, block, and scoring efficiency rates are amazing for a small forward; the shooting totals are simply off the charts. He produced .311 Wins every 48 Minutes, and despite his limited playing time, he managed to produce 3 wins in total. The next season, in 217 minutes, he averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 turnovers, 5.3 blocks, 1.3 steals, and 5.1 fouls per 48 minutes, while maintaining a True Shooting Percentage of 63.2 and averaging 1.48 points per shot in 9.3 attempts per 48 minutes. While the sample size was halved, the block rate is simply otherworldly, he improved in most other categories as well, and he produced an uber-amazing .395 Wins per 48 minutes and 1.8 wins in total. In comparison, the average player at each position produces .099 wins every 48 minutes. This summer, Evans signed a three-year, $5.5 million deal, so obviously Utah’s front office has some faith in him. Yet in Utah’s first five games this year, Evans has made two appearances and been on the floor for a grand total of eight minutes.
Fair enough. Evans plays very well in very limited minutes. So what? There’s got to be a reason why he’s not playing. There’s just one problem.
I have no idea why that might be.
Evans, by all accounts, has off the charts athleticism-he won the dunk contest last year. He was the “star” of his Western Kentucky team, which was an NCAA tournament team out of the Sun Belt. At 6’9″, 194 pounds, he is a little slim, but his fantastic rebounding numbers-42.5% higher than that of the average small forward for his career-are fantastic and should refute this. In fact, if his statistics from the past two years were extrapolated onto a center, he would still have produced at least .2 Wins Per 48 minutes both years, which is at a star level. Last year, he would have produced .285 wins per 48 with those stats as a center; over the course of last season, LeBron James, Kenneth Faried, Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler, Manu Ginobli, and Brandan Wright were the only players to meet or exceed that rate in 750 minutes or more. Is he a defensive liability? I don’t know, but only his steal, foul, and assist rates are below-average for his position. I just don’t know.
Mr. Tyrone Corbin, coach of the Utah Jazz, please get this man some minutes. I recognize that it’s been a small sample size, but his numbers have been amazing; even if his Wins Produced rates were to fall one standard deviation (which, according to Josh Weil’s calculations, have been .084 Wins Per 48 Minutes for a small forward over the 34 seasons that Wins Produced can be calculated), Evans would still be playing at a star level. The front office obviously has some faith in him since they re-signed him to a multi-year deal worth more than the minimum salary. Let’s just see what this man can do; I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed. Thank you for reading, please comment, and please come back.