"What I can't stand about the NBA game is how teams keep drafting guys based on potential," your Big 10-loving friend says. "Sure, a guy might jump really high, but why should I care about some random guy who, I don't know, barely averaged double figures in the Sun Belt or whatever?"
Your Big 10-loving friend sits still for a moment, then quietly nods.
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Those of us who look at numbers a bunch already knew Jeremy Evans could block shots — he swatted 8.8 percent of the field-goal attempts opponents took while he was on the floor last year — and pretty much everyone already knew the Utah Jazz small forward could dunk. But something about seeing him do both in the same sequence, on the same play and to the same man — who, unfortunately, was Los Angeles Clippers center Ronny Turiaf, whom we love beyond the telling of it — feels very surprising.
I doubt it's going to earn the third-year forward out of Western Kentucky much more playing time this season in a stacked Jazz frontcourt, but after seeing him actually make a play like this in a game — closing out on a midrange shooter, using that super-long wingspan to block the shot, corralling the loose ball, taking it the length of the floor and cramming on top of a shot-blocker, all in one fluid motion — kind of makes you feel like he might be someone worth keeping an eye on going forward in a way that winning the Slam Dunk Contest never did.
After all, despite barely getting off the bench for Utah during his first two seasons in the league, the Jazz re-upped Evans for three years and $5.5 million this summer. Maybe this is an indication that they knew something we don't. It was a pleasant surprise on a preseason Wednesday night ... unless, of course, your name is Ronny Turiaf.
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