The Perpignan-bound star has made no secret of his desire to play at fly-half for club and country but Evans - who won 72 caps for Wales on the wing - believes his talents are best utilised away from the pressure of directing traffic.
He said: "James Hook seems to be this makeweight wherever he goes and if someone else is injured, then he is the first person to be shifted around, but heading into the World Cup you need to build a backline around him.
"I still believe he is more effective at outside centre and that's his best position.
"He works best in the outside channels when he has a bit more time and space to find outside runners.
"When he is at 10 he tries to force the issue and everyone gets cramped.
"When there's quick ball and he has time and space then he can be devastating; you saw in that game at Scotland what he can do there.
"But being Wales he is not always going to get ball like that and when he the ball isn't coming then I think he is far stronger further down the backline."
Wales' fourth-place finish in the 2011 Six Nations was ultimately seen as a disappointment after losing the first and last matches.
Their tally of just six tries from their five matches was the joint lowest in the Championship and Evans is quick to identify the root of Gatland's problems.
He said: "Three wins I would describe as par for the course but there was not a major performance to make people sit up and take notice.
"For positives you look at the tight five and they have been strong even when they have lost two British & Irish Lions.
"The biggest positive has been the performances of the young players like Sam Warburton who was undoubtedly Wales' best performer. He was very strong throughout but Dan Lydiate was close behind him.
"The lineout and scrum is in good nick so they have a platform in which to build. What is problematic is ball retention afterwards.
"There have been too many forward passes and spilt passes. Maybe confidence was an issue.
"They were crippled by silly errors and it comes from frustration that they can't get quick ball and they end up conceding silly penalties."
Gatland is likely to experiment with his starting XV for the capped match against the Barbarians with Newport Gwent Dragons back-rower Toby Faletau looking to state his case for World Cup selection.
And Evans believes the 20-year-old has the X-factor that has been missing during Wales' Six Nations campaign.
He said: "Toby brings ball carrying ability and dynamism. You need to get over the gain line and that's what he does.
"The current set-up does not have enough ball carriers. If you get over that gain line then it makes life so much easier.
"It is self perpetuating, if you get over the gain line once, get quick ball then you can get over the gain line again.
"Brian O'Driscoll and Shane Williams did an awful lot of it which brought Jamie Roberts into the game for the Lions in 2009.
"They have got three internationals over the summer: England twice and then the Barbarians. The important thing for me is to get fluency and rhythm rather than trying to get the result."
Evans was speaking as an ambassador for RBS RugbyForce which encourages communities to come together and give something back to their local club by volunteering to help with DIY and repairs.
This year's RBS RugbyForce Weekendtakes places on 11th and 12th June 2011 and Evans will help to select three clubs across England, Scotland and Wales to receive a special package.
For further information and tips on how to organise their own RBS RugbyForce weekend at www.rbs.co.uk/rugbyforce