Unnamed Nets teammate wanted Reggie Evans benched, Evans responded with career month

Reggie Evans, Blake Griffin
Reggie Evans (AP)

Reggie Evans, Blake Griffin
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.

Read More: New York Daily News — Reggie Evans attributes recent turnaround to insult from anonymous Brooklyn Nets teammate