Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reggie Evans, Philadelphia. Philadelphia, Reggie Evans.

What do I think of the Sixers' acquisition of Reggie Evans (and the rights to Rickey Sanchez) from the Denver Nuggets in return for Steven Hunter and Bobby Jones? I can tell tell you in three short words: I like it. Want a few more words? I like it a lot!

The Sixers really needed a power forward who could provide rebounding and solid interior defense, and Reggie Evans fits the bill. As the Philadelphia Inquirer put it:
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Evans will give the Sixers some much-needed toughness in the interior. Last season, he led the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes (19.7). Evans averaged 7.0 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game.
Even more impressive, Reggie Evans had the best rebound rate in the NBA in 2004-05 (23.9%), 2005-06 (21.4%), and 2006-07 (23.0%). Also, he isn't a rebounder on just one side of the ball. He gets both offensive and defensive rebounds, averaging 5.5 offensive rebounds and 10.8 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes.

As for the non-rebounding portion of his defense, I recall him being a very physical defender (although not necessarily a very good defender). His average of 5.1 fouls per 40 minutes supports this observation about his defense. It also helps explain why he has been traditionally overlooked--coaches are reluctant to keep him on the floor because he gets into foul trouble (and because coaches generally don't like to play non-scorers, despite all the talk about the importance of defense). I say leave him on the floor until he fouls out. If we can get 30 minutes a night out of him as our starting power forward and get his rebound production for that amount of time, then I think accepting a few extra fouls as the price for his production is a good trade. Yes, I'd prefer fewer fouls, but you take players as they are, not as you want them to be!

For what it's worth, Win Score metrics also indicate this trade was a steal for the Sixers. The numbers available show that both Steven Hunter and Bobby Jones were below average players last season. Reggie Evans, on the other hand, was well above average with a WP48 of .300 (.100 is average for all NBA players). The proof is in the pudding, but for now I'm very enthusiastic about this trade for the Sixers. Now we just need to hope that the Sixers' coaches are smart enough to take advantage of the rebounding machine they've been given.

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