No one was more talked-about in the NBA on Thursday than Jeremy Evans after his spectacular end-to-end-to-end block/dunk/steal exhibition on Wednesday against the Clippers. (Favorite headline: “Jeremy Evans is now the majority owner of Ronny Turiaf.”) Is it possible that Evans knew we were preparing to feature him at #13 in JazzRank? How else to explain the perfect storm of Evansonian Phenomena?
Somehow, on his chosen day, fate allowed him the opportunity to do the three things he is uniquely good at–ridiculous blocks and ridiculous dunks and ridiculous sprints–in one sequence with no one in the world but Ronny Turiaf to stop him. We already posted this video after the game, and you’ve seen it posted everywhere else, but I can’t help myself:
I don’t care how many times you’ve watched this. It’s worth watching a hundred more times. Why? The play itself it worth more than a few views, but looking for everyone’s reaction is worth that and more. In fact, I’m going to rank the top five reactions:
5. Enes Kanter: Started yelling after the dunk and did the walk-into-your-teammate-while-yelling thing right after the ball was whistled dead. He would rank higher but I’m pretty sure this is what he does after every play.
4. DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre Carroll seems like he always knows exactly how to react. He’s a true professional. He’s even a professional in his mega-dunk reactions.
3. Alec Burks: He gets all the way up to third just for looking so ticked off after he congratulates Jeremy–in a “let’s do that to them 1000 more times right now” way. Burks has that killer instinct and appreciates the swagger of a Jeremy Evans mega-dunk. He also gets props because he ran the floor really well and then just stopped because he clearly thought, “Jeremy Evans is more likely to pull up from half court and crank a 50-footer than he is to pass the ball in this situation.”
2. Randy Foye: Watch the slo-mo replay at 0:26. One of the many hidden treasures of this clip is seeing a shocked Foye watch Evans sail through the air as his expression turns to astonishment. It totally redeems him from not hustling down the floor on the fast break.
1. The Color Commentator (Michael Smith, I think): The most impressive reaction to Jeremy Evans’ dunk, far and away, goes to Smith (a BYU alum, by the way), who was so blown away by the play that he temporarily went completely insane. His comments after the dunk happened: 1) “That was with the off hand, too!” First of all, this is totally not true in any sense. Evans blocked with his right hand, dribbled with his right hand, and dunked with his right hand, and he actually does everything related to basketball with his right hand, so… huh? Second, as a Clippers commentator, does he really pride himself on knowing whether Jeremy Evans is left- or right-handed? Third, who reacts to a mega-block/dunk combo like that? I’m full of questions about this. 2) “It is not that often that your teammates react to a play like this.” What could this possibly mean? No one knows. Maybe he meant that it isn’t often that teammates react to this kind of play, which obviously isn’t true and is a completely nonsensical thing to say. Maybe he meant that it isn’t often that teammates react in the manner that they were reacting, which makes a little more sense but is still a very weird thing to say. Then the clip ends as he starts talking about Evans’ elbow and comparing him to Julius Erving. Winner!
Patronus: Panda Bear
Stat to Watch: Field goal percentage outside the basket area. Last year, Evans shot 1-of-11 outside the basket area. As in, for the entire season. We can all love Jeremy Evans but if he can’t score at all except for his dunks, he can’t be a rotation player.
Three Potential Outcomes of the Season:
1. After an injury or two thins out the mighty Jazz front line, Evans gets a chance to show his stuff in the rotation. Suddenly putting in 12 minutes a game, Evans validates his fan support by averaging 6 points, 4 rebounds, and a block. He channels this new-found success into a magically appearing jump shot, which only goes in 30% of the time but is still way better than 1-of-11. As the injuries subside and he goes back to the bench, the #FreeJeremy campaign consumes the Utah Jazz twitterverse.
2. He rides the pine all season and mostly just looks forward to the chance to defend his dunk contest championship. He is by far the most impressive dunk artist there, but only takes second because of politics (and partly because everyone is a little embarrassed that he won last year despite having only one great dunk). He still puts together enough amazingly athletic plays across the season that his highlight reel that pops up on YouTube next summer will be three minutes long.
3. The Jazz are plagued by injuries of a different kind. Ten games into the season, the Jazz Bear breaks his tailbone by falling backwards off of those crazy stilts he sometimes walks around on. Looking for a replacement, the Jazz decide to search internally. Jeremy Evans, suddenly filled with inspiration, applies for the job and dominates the “interview” by doing a double somersault dunk off of the trampolines. Instead of Jazz Bear, there becomes Jazz Jeremy. And everyone loves it. He is inducted to the Mascot Hall of Fame by the end of February and Disney purchases the movie rights to the story by June.
UPDATE: Check out Jeremy Evans discussing The Play before practice on Friday. Evans points out that he and Turiaf share the same agent and that he respected Ronny at least hustling to get back on defense. He also said that the best comment came from his cousin, who suggested he should have given his jersey to Turiaf afterwards.