Reggie Evans Ain't Trying to Score
This look at Reggie Evans' 2012-13 season is the sixth feature in a series reviewing the Brooklyn Nets' inaugural year playing at Barclays Center. For more, read about GM Billy King, PG Deron Williams, SG Joe Johnson, SF Gerald Wallace and C Brook Lopez.
Let it be known that Reggie Evans told us this was coming.
After Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King acquired Evans for a second time (the first while serving as 76ers President), the 12-year veteran arrived at his opening press conference with the ear-to-ear grin that earned him the nickname "Joker" and quips to match.
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"It's real simple, my role," Evans said then. "I ain't trying to score!"
Thus began a campaign in which Evans rebounded at a rate unparalleled in the NBA. According to NBA.com/Stats, he grabbed a league-leading 27.4 percent of all available rebounds during a career-best 1,967 minutes, finishing tied for eighth in the league with an 11.1 RPG average. Doing so in 24.6 minutes per game led to a league-leading rate of 16.3 rebounds per 36 minutes.
And yet Evans recognized midseason that opponents were beginning to ignore his offense altogether, expecting his rebounds would lead to kickouts and attempts to restart the offense rather than quick-hit putbacks. He began boosting his scoring in February – his first month above 3.4 points per game – and averaged 6.1 points per game on an additional 1.9 shot attempts and 1.1 more free throws after the All-Star break.
"From an individual standpoint, it's easy for me to say that this was my best year because it's the first year where I really had a opportunity where they gave me minutes," Evans says. "Instead of just me getting 15-20 minutes and everybody being like, 'Oh you do rebounding per minute,' I got real minutes this year."
Rebounding earned Evans his rotation role, but it was defense that launched his season as a starter. On December 9th, former coach Avery Johnson swapped Evans into the starting lineup for the first time, looking for better defense in the opening minutes. It proved prescient: the Nets allowed 3.3 fewer points per 100 possessions with Evans on the floor, a team-high defensive efficiency differential.
And Evans' non-stop motor and physical defense extended to the practice court, where he harassed and pounded center Brook Lopez all season long. Setting the tone in training camp, Evans' relentlessness forced Lopez to match his intensity or risk being embarassed, and the center regularly credited Evans with toughening him and guiding his to defensive improvement.
So focused on accomplishing his role, Evans measures the success not in statistics, but team victories. He believes the Nets accomplished a lot in their first season at Barclays Center, despite some ups and downs, with the good outweighing the bad in an exciting season for the borough.
And yet the First Round playoff loss to Chicago has motivated Evans to quickly begin preparing for the upcoming season.
"I'm ready, mentally, to start working out," Evans says. "I know I'm gonna relax for a minute, but mentally I'm pumped because I didn't want to exit the way we did. You feel that fire coming back in, and I'm going to go hard this summer. I'm going to go really, really hard, and make sure I eat right, do the right things, rest for a minute, and make sure I call everybody and make sure everybody is working hard. Hopefully we can hook up sometime during the summer time and continue to work out."
View the Reggie Evans Season Highlights photo gallery.
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