Brooklyn Nets starting power forward Reggie Evans has been no stranger to criticism — his otherworldly rebounding acumen and solid defensive understanding aside, Evans’s offensive struggles have been well-documented here and elsewhere — but it appears that criticism spread to the bench earlier this season, when a teammate asked Carlesimo to remove Evans from the game — and Evans overheard:
“I got frustrated one day when one of my teammates told my coach to take me out the game. I bit my tongue. I didn’t say nothing to (my teammate),” Evans said.
“But me, knowing me, I usually attack and say something. I bit my tongue. I said, ‘Ok.’ I said, ‘Alright, start being aggressive.’ So I took it in a positive way, instead of just doing my normal self, like ‘What you say? What you say?”
It’s not clear just when this issue arose — it doesn’t appear that Evans gave a date and time — or who the teammate is, but if it caused Evans to be more aggressive, chances are it happened around the beginning of March: since the month began, Evans has racked up 50% shooting on 68 field goal attempts, 7.3 points and 15.5 rebounds per game, and an unthinkable 32.6% rebound rate (including an unbelievable 44.2% defensive rebounding rate — in essence, four out of every nine chances for a Nets defensive rebound, Reggie Evans has gobbled it up, over the course of an entire month).
Evans currently leads the league in 20-rebound games with seven. The Nets are 6-1 in those games. If Evans maintains his current rebound rate of 25.9% and gets enough minutes to qualify, it would rank as the 5th-best rebounding season in NBA history and make him the only player ever other than Dennis Rodman to finish a season with a rebound rate over 24.1%. His defensive rebounding rate of 36.1% would rank as the third-best season of all time, again behind only two Dennis Rodman seasons.
As for Evans, it’s no secret that he tends to let his mouth get ahead of him — he’s compared Rajon Rondo to a mosquito, LeBron James to Andray Blatche & Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams to fish grease just this season alone — so to see him show some willed, conscious restraint with a teammate is a bit surprising. If the comment has helped motivate Evans into his best month as a Brooklyn Nets player, then all the better.