Submitted by Cory Bernstein of Hoops Talk Nation
Brooklyn’s Finest 15 is the ranking of all 15 Nets based on what I think will be their impact on Brooklyn this season. Here’s number 9, Reggie Evans.
Watch your nuts, Brooklyn.
Reggie Evans can do one thing on a basketball court, but boy does he do that one thing well. As many of you probably know, Evans may be the single best rebounder in the NBA. His rebounding rate was third in the league last year, behind only Marcus Camby and Dwight Howard. On offense and defense, Evans has quite simply dominated the glass his entire career, never having a single season rebounding rate below 18.8. Evans has never finished a season worse than eighth in the league in total rebounding rate, solidifying him as not only one of the best rebounders in the league today, but in NBA history.
However, Evans just about nothing else well besides being really scary and grabbing people’s balls, making him difficult to play for elongated periods. He may be the best offensive rebounder in the league, but this provides little value because he cannot shoot, pass, or dribble in any capacity. Evans had a higher turnover rate than anyone in the NBA last season, which makes one wonder how valuable his amazing rebounding is. If Evans is incapable of doing anything with the ball after a rebound, how much value does said rebound have?
Defensively, Evans is by no means bad, but is not phenomenal either. When I think of Reggie’s defense, I remember him blanketing Zach Randolph in the Clippers’ improbable comback in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. His terrifying nature makes us believe he is an elite defender, when really he is just average. Yes, he will have his moments where he is a great defender like in Game 1, but so do many players. If I was a power forward, I would be scared of Evans because he may leave me incapable of having children, but he is by no means Tyson Chandler.
Evans’ role on the Nets is one that will be interesting to follow and fickle throughout the season. When Avery wants to put in an absolute beast on the boards or try try to castrate an opposing player, Evans will surely be the guy. I expect to him come off the bench with either Blatche or Mirza Teletovic, playing either power forward or center. Paired with Brook Lopez, who can do everything but be imposing and rebound well, Evans could find some success, but I expect few lineups where the two are playing together. If healthy, which is not a given with Evans, I believe he will play about 10-15 minutes a game off the bench. However, Teletovic and Andray Blatche could steal some of Evans’ minutes if they begin to play well. With those two coming into this season with everyone unsure of exactly how good they will be, the backup big men rotation will change as the season wears on.
Reggie Evans gives the Nets an elite skill off the bench that can be very useful. Evans allows the Nets to explore with fun lineups, such as Deron-Joe Johnson-Crash-Evans-Hump. Because he is so good at rebounding and so bad at everything else, he can compensate for other players shooting and not crashing the boards. Hopefully Avery is willing to utilize Evans as an energizer who can spearhead comebacks and major runs off the bench. . However, he has too many major flaws in his game (namely being unable to play offense), to play major minutes. Yes, he can do this, and yes, I may have nightmares about Evans this season, but he should not be a super important part of the Nets’ team this year. Evans will play a fair amount, but it is hard to leave a player out on the court who is below average at nearly every facet of the game besides rebounding.