It’s nothing against his hometown of Pensacola, FL. Evans just would rather spend the final days of spring on the court.
After appearing in the playoffs with the Sonics in 2004-05, the burly forward made the postseason three of the next four years. But that stretch ended following the last two regular seasons when Evans was a member of the Raptors.
“I took a two-year vacation, not making the playoffs,” Evans said. “It’s something I’m looking forward to [making the playoffs]. I’ve been going home the last two years, so I’m looking to get back to that and try to [get the Clippers] as far as all the way to the Finals.
I’m thinking big this time, real big. Not to say that I wasn’t thinking that way before. But I’m really thinking big.”
The Clippers are adding Evans (27 career postseason appearances) to a group that already includes Chauncey Billups, a Finals MVP; Chris Paul, who’s started 23 career playoff games; Caron Butler, a member of the NBA champion Mavericks; and Mo Williams, who helped Cleveland to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.
Despite having interest from several other teams, for Evans, the prospect of helping the Clippers reach their lofty goals made his decision relatively easy.
“I just felt like it was a good situation for me to come here and play and just help this team out and try to succeed,” said Evans, who inked a one-year deal with the Clippers on Dec. 21. “You know, they’ve got a good vision on making changes in this organization and I like the progress that they’re making and some of the players they’ve signed, trades to get guys in here. It was kind of an easy choice to make.”
Although he is out with a sprained foot, the expectation is that Evans and his 20.8 rebounds per 48-minute average, will be in the lineup soon. The Clippers (1-1) could use the help on the boards. On Wednesday they were outrebounded, 43-30, by the Spurs, three nights after allowing 17 offensive rebounds to the Warriors.
Some people might call Evans, 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, one dimensional. But he’s more like a specialist. He’s tallied nearly 4,000 career rebounds and has averaged better than seven per game in five of his nine seasons.
He’s also a tenacious defender and adds a dimension of toughness to the Clippers frontcourt that team radio broadcaster Brian Sieman says the team may have been lacking in the past.
“[Evans] is like a big brother. Last year, Blake [Griffin] took a lot of shots [from opponents]. A lot of people were physical with him,” Sieman said. “Reggie Evans will not allow that to happen.”
Evans is well aware of the role he’ll feel backing up Griffin and young center DeAndre Jordan.
“[Rebounding] has been my role since I’ve been in the league,” Evans said. “It’s not going to change now.”
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