This is the third of our Clips Nation "exit interviews" of the 2012 Los Angeles Clippers, an overview and analysis, player by player, of all 15 Clippers who finished the 2011-2012 season on the roster. Today, we look at backup big-man and fan favorite Reggie Evans. NOTE: If you're wondering who this John O'Connor guy is, it's the erstwhile johnnyoc21, who has switched his user id. Steve
2012 Key Stats: 1.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 13.8 MPG
Years in NBA: 10
Years with the Clippers: 1
2011-2012 Salary: $854,389
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent
In A Nutshell:
Reggie, Reggie, Reggie, Reggie
It was an interesting season for Reggie "Handful of Manhood" Evans. Signed in the off-season by the Clippers, the man once voted by players in an SI poll as the dirtiest player in the NBA began the season on the bench with a foot injury, during which time Clipper Nation got to see Brian Cook play important minutes backing up Blake Griffin. Yikes. When Reggie finally did make it back onto the court this season, he became an instant fan favorite, and deservedly so. The guy is a relentless rebounder, and his hustle has an obvious impact on the rest of the team and the home crowd.
Reggie saw his minutes fluctuate throughout the season, the result of changes to how the coaching staff used Deandre Jordan and also the signing of Kenyon Martin. Even so, late in the season and particularly in the playoffs, Reggie Evans was a major contributor for the Clippers, and played a big part in securing a victory in the first round vs the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rebounding machine. He really always has been. 12.7 boards per 36 this season, almost 5 of which come from the offensive end. You really can't overvalue offensive rebounds in this league, and for a team that at times struggles in their half-court offense, earning second chance points can often be the difference in a game. In the 2012 post season, Reggie Evans was the best rebounder (statistically speaking), with a total rebound% of 24.8, and an offensive rebound% of- wait for it-37.1!. The guy grabbed 37.1 percent of all possible offensive rebounds while he was on the floor (stats from basketball-reference.com).
Reggie is also a fairly capable defender on the low post, and was surprisingly effective against Zach Randolph in the playoffs. His strength gives people fits, as he is able to push guys away from the basket, taking them out of their comfort zone.
Quite simply, offense. Reggie has virtually no offensive game to speak of. He is active on the boards and around the basket, so he does get the occasional put-back, and if you are trying to come back from a 27 point deficit in the closing minutes of a playoff game, apparently he can score on the pick n roll. Other than that, his size makes him a pretty effective ball screener. That's about it. Interestingly enough, Reggie has, throughout his career, gotten to the free throw line at a solid rate, shooting almost 5 attempts per 36 minutes. Unfortunately he is a downright bad free throw shooter, and often renders all that hard work he does to get to the charity stripe moot.
Future with the Clippers:
Making a decision about the future of Reggie Evans with the Clippers is almost impossible to do without factoring in Kenyon Martin. Both are unrestricted free agents this off-season, and these two had a huge impact on the effectiveness of the others game. Both being power forwards, the Clippers lack of a true backup center this season forced Reggie and Kenyon to play at the same time. With each player so limited offensively, the Clippers often struggled to score for long stretches when these two were on the floor together. It's important to realize that in these circumstances, each players offensive limitations stood out more than they might have if they were playing alongside a more capable offensive big. But both players are no doubt valuable backups. Reggie is the better rebounder, Kenyon the better pick n roll defender because of his ability to defend on the perimeter.
Ideally, the Clippers will choose to retain one of the two players and try to add a true backup center to the roster. It's unclear at this point if either player is interested in returning, or if the Clippers are interested in bringing either player back, but my guess is that Clipper fans haven't heard the last Reggie chant in Staples Center.
Other 2012 Exit Interviews: