The only real memory I have of Jeremy Evans from this season isn't one of him actually playing basketball. The great dudes at Mavs.com asked Evans about sketching something for them -- Evans was an art major at Western Kentucky and famously dunked over his own painting in the 2013 Dunk Contest -- and it reminded him of a timelapse video he had of a drawing on his phone. With just a couple words of explanation, Evans sprinted off the shootaround court we were at, running to the locker room to retrieve his phone and show the guys what he had.
I suppose the main takeaway is that the dude can draw, which is pretty impressive. He's a goofy artist who just happens to be one of the very best athletes in the world. That his singular takeaway didn't come on the court sums up his season with the Mavericks pretty well. But I'm not convinced his Dallas career will go continue so quietly.
Dallas likes Evans. They didn't consider cutting him when they brought in David Lee -- John Jenkins was let go, and JaVale McGee would have been the next option. Although Evans only played more than 20 minutes four times, immediate impact was never the plan with the high-flying forward.
Evans agreed to go down to the D-League for a few games throughout the year, working on his new role. He showed he didn't really belong there during games like this, where he dominated competition while flashing a developing jump shot as well.
A knee injury ended his year early, which is a shame for him, seeing how injuries probably would have given him a few chances for the Mavericks late in the season. But with a two-year deal that will pay him $1,227,286 next season, Evans still has time to figure things out.
Evans' perimeter-playing future
All season, the Mavericks worked with Evans to develop a three-pointer. He's always had a bit of a jump shot, but it was never comfortable enough to stretch out past 18 feet or so, nor really a huge, game-changing threat inside the arc, either. Dallas wants to change that. They see his hyper athleticism and general knack for making good basketball skills, and see its best use as a perimeter floor spacer and occasional ball handler. Evans just doesn't have the body to bang away at the five, and while he could play the four, he'd be much more useful there if he could hit a three.
With the way the NBA is shifting, Evans still has a few years to translate his absurd leaping ability into productive role. The Mavericks see one for him next year, even if he's not in the everyday rotation, to help them out at times as long as he can nail that corner three. Players who play above the rim are always useful, and Evans' defense isn't bad, either, albeit not as versatile as you'd like.
Evans is a good guy and he'll remind you how high he can fly every once in awhile when he decides to throw down an entirely-too-easy windmill after a practice. His relative absence from last year's team doesn't indicate what he could potentially be for the Mavericks next season. There's reasons he didn't play this season, and there's reasons why it would be unreasonable to expect anything extraordinary from him in the next one. But there's room for him on the 2016-17 Mavericks, so don't count him out yet.