Reggie Evans likes rebounds like a fat kid loves cake.
In the Raptors home opener, Evans snatched a rebound out of the hands of Andrea Bargnani in the first half and then in the second half he ripped a rebound away from Jarrett Jack. Evans was so hungry for rebounds on Wednesday that he was willing to rip them out of the grasp of his own teammates.
Granted, those rebounds came from guys not known for crashing the glass, but his mentality to snag anything he can get his mitts on is impressive.
Besides, his teammates didn’t seem to mind as Evans snagged a game-high 16 rebounds through a bunch of heart and hustle.
“Reggie (Evans) is a guy in this league who isn’t ashamed of his role,” Jack boasted to Hoops Addict after the game. “Most guys who grabbed 16 rebounds would want to know why they aren’t getting plays called for them. Reggie is very comfortable in his own skin and is a very selfless player. You can’t ask for anything more from a veteran leader.”
A lack of touches on the offensive end could qualify as the understatement of the year. Despite grabbing four offensive rebounds, Evans still only attempted two field goal attempts.
Granted, fans and the coaching staff cringed when he attempted both field goals, but you have to admire the restraint it must take for Evans to kick the ball back out to a teammate after he has worked so hard for the rebound as most guys around the NBA are worried about pumping up their scoring averages even if it comes at the expense of their team.
Not Evans, as he’s more than happy to do the little things in order to give his team a chance of getting a win.
“I don’t really worry about my shot because at the end of the day even if I hit both my field goals we still would have scored 100 points,” Evans told Hoops Addict after the game. “Scoring is the least of my concerns. My biggest concern is rebounding the ball and playing defense. In the past this team has been labelled as soft so I’m doing my best to try and get away from that label. ”
As great as that selfless attitude is, it also means that opposing teams can sag off him when he’s on offense. Against New York he only attempted two field goals and one that sticks out in my mind was when it appeared the defender was begging him to shoot. When Evans did get goaded into taking the shot it clanged off the backboard and rim and there was a noticeable gasp and then groan among the fans at the Air Canada Centre.
Still, a couple of times a game, he needs to elevate back up so other team knows he will. Without the threat of Evans hitting a shot opposing defences will continue to sag off him which will mean he’ll start to have a hard time finding a teammate to pass the ball to once he’s done the hard work of corralling a rebound.
You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks but it wouldn’t hurt Evans to spend a bit more time working on his shot after practice. By the end of the season if he can consistently get easy putbacks it will result in the team having more options and being able to better capitalize on his rebounding feats.
Still, it’s clear that after nine years in the NBA Evans only objectives when he gets on the court is to get in the face of the man he’s guarding and grab as many rebounds as he can.
“Reggie goes out there with one objective: He’s going to go out there and play tough,” Jack explained. “He’s going to bring us that toughness from an interior standpoint, regardless of the matchup. Regardless of who it is. If we all follow that then we’ll be much better off this season.”
This kind of mentality paid huge dividends for for the Seattle Sonics back in the 2004-05 season when Evans started 79 games while leading the team in rebounding at 9.3 per game.
While Toronto lacks to All-Star caliber players like Seattle had at the time, it’s clear the team will be better off if Evans is able to continue to play with the same passion and grit that he showed on Wednesday.
Here’s to hoping that Evans is able to sustain this kind of energy over the course of 82 games.