2003-04 Sonics Preview: Reggie Evans
ďIím playing, Iím starting, so you canít beat that.Ē
Backup forward. Reggie Evans will bring his high-energy style of play off the bench for the Sonics. He will be asked to spark the team defensively and on the boards while occasionally defending top opponent post threats. Evans may see some time at center in addition to backing up power forward.
After a summer of negotiations, the Sonics finally came to terms with restricted free agent Evans just before the start of training camp. Fortunately for the Sonics, Evans spent the summer planning for a return to Seattle. Though he could not participate in summer-league action, Evans was in Seattle for some of the pre-summer-league practices. He returned prior to training camp to work out with teammates at The Furtado Center.
Evansí rebounding prowess is clear Ė he led the Sonics in the category last year despite playing limited minutes Ė and he emerged as the teamís best post defender. What Evans has to work on now is contributing at the other end of the court. Though he shot 47.1% from the field, Evans averaged just 3.2 points and was usually an offensive non-factor. Evans did show signs of improvement down the stretch. He made better than 60% of his free throws in March and April after struggling at the line most of the season. Evans also scored a career-high 13 points in the penultimate game of the season. He has shown improved offensive play in preseason games Ė now itís a matter of translating that onto the court once the regular season starts.
Though Vladimir Radmanovic is the starting power forward, the season-ending shoulder injury to rookie Nick Collison means Evans still has a key role. Not only will Evans back up Radmanovic, he should see plenty of action in the lineup with him, whether that means Radmanovic sliding to power forward or the 6-8 Evans playing center, as has been discussed during preseason by Coach Nate McMillan. With Evans playing well in preseason, McMillan will make sure he gets him on the court one way or another.