Reggie Evans: Toronto Raptors' Game Changer

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Reggie Evans: Toronto Raptors' Game Changer
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Reginald “Reggie” Jamaal Evans, nicknamed “The Joker*,” from Pensacola, Florida has already had an NBA career worthy of several notes.

Raptor fans will best remember Evans from brief encounters in which he played for other teams.

Evans grabbed a career high 19 defensive rebounds in Toronto on Mar. 10, 2006 and set an interesting mark of zero points and 20 boards, a somewhat rare accomplishment.

In the 2006 playoffs, Reggie was caught reaching under Kaman’s shorts while defending him in the post.  After the incident, in which Evans ended up with a flagrant two foul, Kaman complained about feeling violated.  Some might call Reggie Evans a dirty player!

Anyone watching Evans live or on TV will have noticed that it’s not a good idea to let him handle the ball.  Although his official turnover numbers are not high, the best description that I can come up with is “Reggie has hands of stone!” 

A poor finisher and questionable decision maker, an astute defender will encourage his opposition to pass the ball to Evans.

ESPN’s Hollinger scouting report describes Evans as “physical, tough, and selfless.” These traits are reflected throughout Evans' career.  He is an excellent rebounder, a good defender, and he will do what he can to help his team win!  Just don’t expect him to score.

Originally attending Coffeyville Community College for a couple of years before transferring to the University of Iowa, Reggie set some impressive college marks in his last two college seasons at Iowa by collecting 1,054 points and 794 boards. 

Before Reggie left Iowa, he was ninth all-time in rebounds and held the college’s single season records for free throws made (218) and attempted (346) and for rebounds (416).

Reggie Evans went undrafted in 2002, eventually signing with the Seattle Supersonics as a free agent.  In his rookie NBA season, Reggie led his team in boards at 6.6 per game in only 20.4 minutes and was second only to Rashard Lewis in total rebounds with 445.

The rookie was able to grab an impressive 19 percent of the available rebounds while he was in the game.

By his third season in Seattle, Evans was a starter.  Averaging 23.8 minutes per game, Reggie amassed 736 rebounds collecting 23.9 percent of available boards for an average of 9.3 rpg.  Unfortunately, the flaws in Reggie's game also became apparent as he only managed to score 4.9 ppg.

Without a doubt, Reggie Evans had a major impact on Seattle.  It is highly unlikely that Seattle could have made the leap back into the playoffs in 2004-05 and into the second round without Reggie’s determination on the boards. 

Seattle’s playoff run may be best remembered for Jerome James’ playoff heroics, but it was Reggie Evans who continued to lead the team in rebounding.

At the mid-point of the 2005-06 season, Evans was traded to Denver where he had an immediate impact.  In 26 games he averaged 8.7 rpg and collected 21.8 percent of the available boards.  Evans' total rebounding rate was actually higher than Marcus Camby’s and continued to be amongst the highest in the league since 1999.

Reggie’s impressive rebounding rate increased to 23 percent the next season, but with a surplus of big men who had broader skills, Evans found himself traded to Philadelphia for the start of 2007-08.

Once again, he had an impact.  Second on the team with 7.5 rpg and first in rebounding percentage, Evans helped lead a team that was minus 100 boards the previous season to plus 200.  The 76ers made several key changes that helped lead them back to the playoffs after a two-year absence.  Reggie Evans was one of those changes.

The next season Evans saw his minutes drop dramatically to 14.4 per game as the team made still more changes. However, his rebounding percentages stayed high with Evans still bringing in 19 percent of the available boards.

Evans does one thing and he does that extremely well.  Evans has a nose for the ball and he isn’t afraid to step on someone’s toes to get it.  What makes Evans valuable is the ability to perform whether he’s playing 24 minutes a game or 12 minutes. 

His effort and rebounding rate doesn’t slide with his minutes played, making Evans the ideal veteran role player for a team where most of the available minutes are already accounted for.

With yet another offseason trade, Reggie Evans has now joined the Toronto Raptors. At the age of 29, Evans is an experienced playoff veteran, with a manageable two years at $5,000,000 per season remaining on his current contract. 

A player ideally suited to the backup role available in Toronto and a solid pick-up for any team hoping to get back to the playoffs.

 

(*nickname according to NBA.com)

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