A few weeks ago, OSU’s own, Doug Gottlieb, had something to say about sophomore point guard, Jawun Evans:
Jawun Evans - OK State - Next Chris Paul. Next year is loaded.— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) June 24, 2016
The responses were pretty great:
@GottliebShow this could be your Skip Bayless Johnny Football moment— AB18 (@breitman18) June 24, 2016
Actually, that was probably the Steph Curry tweet...
But let’s talk about this... is Doug crazy, or do we really have a next-gen Chris Paul on our hands?
Doug is talking about the same Chris Paul who is a 9-time NBA All-Star, 2-time gold medalist, 8-time All-NBA teammate, Rookie of the Year, maestro of Lob City, avid banana boat rider and twin of one hell of an insurance agent. The comparison is fair, but is he "the next Chris Paul"?
Who is Jawun Evans, you ask? Evans is a sophomore out of Dallas, TX, who runs point for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Standing at 6 foot, 175 lbs, Evans is a "true point guard" who plays smart, looks for the right play, finishes at the rim and is deceptively quick. Out of high school, he was given a 5-star ranking, and was considered the third best point guard in his class. In his first year in Stillwater, Evans averaged 12.9 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals, while earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.
Let me preface this section by saying this, stats aren’t everything. There are players who had better collegiate stats than Chris Paul, and now barely sniff the starting rotation in their Church Ball Basketball League. Big time stats in college don’t always lead to NBA success, just ask Jimmer Fredette, Adam Morrison and Troy Bell (to name a few). However, I do think it is important to take statistics into consideration while comparing Evans and Paul.
Jawun Evans’ freshman season
Chris Paul’s freshman season
Advanced statistics from 2003 are not easy to find, so please excuse the lack of them being used.
A few things jump out right away, Chris Paul was a PEST. He had almost three steals a game and could get to the line at will. Also, take a look at Jawun Evans’ rebounding numbers... Evans is sneaky good on the boards. Both Paul and Evans were somewhat low-volume shooters, moved the ball and played gritty defense; they played the point guard position in a way that would make Bob Cousy smile.
Chris Paul’s freshman season may look like he outplayed Jawun Evans, but you have to take into account that Paul played four more minutes per game, and also played on a team strong enough to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. The same cannot be said of Evans’ Cowboys.
Statistically, the two are very comparable. Across the board, both players show the ability to score, pass, rebound and play defense.
This is the easiest comparison of all.
Okstate.edu has Jawun Evans listed at 6 foot, 175 lbs.
WakeForestSports.com has Chris Paul listed at 6 foot, 175 lbs.
Draftexpress.com has Evans’ wingspan (BUZZWORD) listed at 6 foot 4 and Paul’s at 6 foot 4.25. I can’t find shoe sizes, but I bet my lunch these guys could trade slippers.
These are two players who dictate the way the game is played, pace and style. These guys don’t have Russell Westbrook explosiveness, they don’t have the infinite range of Stephen Curry, but their court vision gives them the ability to make the players around them better.
Obviously, Lob City gets it’s name from the fast pace, high flying, fast-break alley-oops that Chris Paul is delivering to Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. Those are the plays that you see in replays and highlights, but it’s the plays that aren’t flashy enough to make SC Top 10 that make Chris Paul the special player that he is.
When Chris Paul decides to slow the game down, he becomes very difficult to guard. In a very Steve Nash-esque way, Chris Paul seems to anticipate action a lot quicker than the other nine players on the court. With hesitation moves and tight handles, he has the ability to guide the defender(s) where he wants them, and then hit the gap on a dime, pull up for an open shot, or dish off the ball to an open teammate. For a smaller guard, his mid-range game and finishing ability is impressive, averaging over 50 percent from inside the arc in his NBA career.
I know you thought you escaped from good ol’ Coach Ford, but I found a good video of him doing some film work with Jawun. The last two plays in the video are exactly what I was talking about with Chris Paul:
You can see Evans getting the defender on his heels, and then attacking the basket as soon as he has the defense where he wants them. Being the #1 offensive option, Evans seems to draw in defenders quicker than Paul, and you see him making the right play by dumping the ball to the open teammate. If Jawun was playing with two monsters like Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, we could really see him flourish around the basket, which is something Chris Paul has taken advantage of with his time in Los Angeles.
Doug Gottlieb says, "Jawun Evans - OK State - Next Chris Paul..."
So, is Doug crazy???
Drum roll, Please!
THE NEXT CHRIS PAUL!?!?! Like, top 10 point guard of all-time, Chris Paul?! C’mon Doug!
Okay, now that it’s out of my system... I totally get where Doug is coming from; I mean, I wrote an entire article showing the extreme resemblance of the two point guards. Yet, how many 4-5 star point guards come out of college with the expectations to be the next *insert proven player*, only to fall short of expectations? More than those who live up to the hype.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Jawun Evans has the ability to be a very good professional basketball player, and he could very-well be "the next Chris Paul." At this point in Jawun Evans’ career, he certainly looks like the same caliber of player that Chris Paul was, but he has a long way to go. Note, as an OSU fan and alum, Doug Gottlieb is one of my favorite sports media figures EVER. His takes are always strong, and we, the fans, appreciate it. Doug, if you are right on this one, I owe you a beer!
What do you think? Is Jawun Evans the next Chris Paul?