Meet Your Newest Nuggets -- Ruben Patterson and Reggie Evans
Introducing . . . The Kobe Stopper
By Jesse Ruderman
Coach George Karl got his “pit-bull” and his “Tasmanian Devil” all in one man. His name is Ruben Patterson.
Patterson, an eight-year NBA veteran, was acquired in a four-team trade from Portland on Feb. 23.
He’s been called a “defensive specialist”; he’s even self-proclaimed himself to be the “Kobe Stopper.” His confidence is obvious. “I’m looking forward to going out there and trying to shut down (the opposition’s) best player.”
But, he’s got game on both ends of the court. “I can score too...I bring energy”
Patterson’s moxie sparked the Nuggets’ 98-87 victory over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night. During the 36:29 minutes Patterson was on the court, he played ferocious basketball. He exemplified hustle, sprinting back on defense to thwart a lay-up with a two-handed block and then diving head-first for a loose ball in the same sequence.
Carmelo Anthony appreciates what Patterson adds to the Nuggets. “We know we’re gonna get energy from him; we know he’s gonna hit the floor.”
Coach Karl has coveted Ruben’s game for years. Patterson is quite fond of Coach Karl as well, stating "He’s a great guy…he wanted me…I’m just happy to be a part of his team and be playing for a guy like him.”
Patterson, who has been to Denver on numerous occasions, is overjoyed about his new environment. “I love this city. I didn’t know Denver was so nice; it’s great.”
And the triple-bonus: Ruben joins two other Cincinnati Bearcats on the Nuggets’ roster. “It’s good to be on the team with Kenyon and DerMarr; we got three ‘Nati boys in the locker room.”
Introducing . . . The Collector
By Jesse Ruderman
Reggie Evans, acquired by the Denver Nuggets in a four-team trade from Seattle, has been dubbed “a rebounding machine.” So much so that he has been given the nickname "the Collector" within certain circles throughout the NBA.
Please know that he is much more than that.
On the court, yes indeed, he rebounds. This season, Evans has averaged 6.7 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game. In his Nugget debut against the Bucks Monday night, Evans pulled down eight rebounds in just 16:01 minutes of action.
But Evans sees himself as more than just a rebounder. “I can get guys open…I play a physical game…I play defense too.”
Evans’ game may remind Nuggets’ fans of former Nugget and current Houston Rocket, Ryan Bowen. Both Evans and Bowen played college ball at Iowa. Evans is familiar with Ryan Bowen’s legacy. “He played with a lot of energy, and I play with a lot of energy myself.”
Off the court, Reggie Evans is a father; his 20-month old daughter’s name is Amaya Nicole. When he speaks of her his eyes and smile explode with love. Perhaps it’s his high cheekbones, but Reggie always appears to be smiling, even when he’s battling for position.
When he’s not boxing out, Evans enjoys watching other NBA big-men do their thing down low. “I really admire the way Ben Wallace plays; he’s crazy…he does everything to help his team out.” Evans also included Dennis Rodman on his short list of the best rebounders of his era.
Evans’ knowledge of Denver is limited; he’s only visited the Pepsi Center. He did admit however, “I know about the altitude.”
After his first practice with the Nuggets, Evans claimed, “It was cool…the guys are great.” And he’s quite fond of his new coach despite what he’s heard about Coach Karl’s demands on his players. “Unless it’s too early and I haven’t seen anything yet…I’ve just seen him smiling.”
Coach Karl called Evans “…an asset…he’s a top-level intensity player.”
Ultimately, Reggie Evans adds depth to the Nuggets’ front court, but he also adds character, and character defines teams.