This summer, 3QC will take a look back on each Magic player's 2007-2008 season. The first nine posts will evaluate, on an individual basis and in alphabetical order, the players who played in at least 20% of the team's total minutes; the final post will briefly evaluate the five players who appeared in less than 20% of the team's minutes.
Today, our focus is Maurice Evans.
Maurice Evans takes a spot-up jumper.
File photo by Gregory Smith, the Associated Press
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Steals Per Game|
|Points Per 36||Rebounds Per 36||Steals Per 36|
|PER||Rebound Rate||Steals Rate|
All statistics in this table from Evans' player page at basketball-reference. Career-high statistics highlighted in gold.
When Maurice Evans joined the Magic in November, his teammates nicknamed him "Mogans" for his resemblance to Keith Bogans, his new teammate. It's true that the players are alike physically, but their games are similar as well. They're both two-guards who are known for their defense and who prefer to shoot three-pointers from the corners.
Where Evans differs most from Bogans is his aggressiveness. He moves well without the ball, but not in the traditional way. When we apply that phrase to shooting guards, we typically think of players like Reggie Miller and Richard Hamilton who cut around screens to elude defenders and to get open for jumpers. In contrast, Evans finds ways to get free directly under the basket for dunks and layups. It also helps him rack-up offensive rebounds at an impressive rate for a player his size.
But that aggressiveness is not without its drawbacks. Unless he has a wide-open -- and I really mean wide-open -- look under the basket, he's liable to get his shot blocked. Opponents swatted a staggering 25% of Evans' "close" shot attempts this season, according to 82games. At 6'5", he shouldn't have that much trouble finishing at the basket. Additionally, Evans tends to overestimate his own ballhandling skills, pushing the ball upcourt when he should instead wait for the offense to set up. And although I don't have statistical evidence to back this claim up, I suspect he lead the team in "turnovers caused by stepping on the sideline with the ball." But he turned the ball over less that one time a game, so I suppose we can forgive him for that.
Defensively, Evans is like Bogans in that he simply has a knack for staying with his man. But Evans tends to "gamble" for steals more than Bogans does, which makes him a liability at times. He's also less physical.
Overall, his efficiency makes Evans the sort of backup two-guard the Magic need. He's deadly from three-point range and hardly makes mistakes. Two major factors hurt the team's chances of re-signing him, though: first, Bogans has a player option for next season, and Magic GM Otis Smith has said he'd "be shocked" if he didn't use it. Although Evans is the better player, the Magic only have 15 roster spots, and can't devote two of them to like-skilled, backup-quality shooting guards. Second, Evans will want a raise from the $1.5 million he earned last year. The Magic figure to make re-signing Keyon Dooling their top priority, and they might not have enough money leftover to keep Evans. It's too bad. The second-best trade Smith ever made -- getting Evans and Brian Cook from the Lakers for Trevor Ariza -- may soon go for naught.