Dennis Rodman. Ben Wallace. Reggie Evans.
Yes, these are the names of three human men. But I would argue that they have even more than that in common.
They all play, or have played, professional basketball.
I rest my case.
No, wait, there’s more! These guys have all built their NBA careers around defense and rebounding. They bring toughness and can dominate games despite being severely offensively challenged.
Rodman once averaged a stratospheric 18.7 rebounds per game when he played for the Pistons. A decade later Ben Wallace averaged 15.4 rebounds in 2003 for the Pistons. Reggie Evans’ career high you ask? 11.5.
Not so impressive, you might be thinking. Well I invite you to stop thinking and listen to (read) this. Evans has almost always come off the bench in his career, and the most minutes per game he has averaged was 26.6 a couple of years ago for Toronto. He averages 19 mpg for his career.
When he is in the game, Reginald Jamaal Evans (thanks Wikipedia) grabs rebounds like nobody else in the league right now. That’s not just a turn of phrase; this year for the Brooklyn Nets he is averaging over 20 rebounds per 48 minutes (22 as of November 28th). He grabs 1/4 of ALL rebounds when he’s on the court.
Not only is he an elite rebounder but he’s also a great defender too. He might not be as versatile as Dennis Rodman (who used to guard Michael Jordan at times despite being a power forward) or a great shot blocker like Ben Wallace, but if you want some evidence of his defensive abilities, watch the Clippers-Grizzlies series from last year. He locked down Zach Randolph in that series and LA wouldn’t have won without him.
Despite his great play for the Clips however, they traded him away after the playoffs for a second-round draft pick. And that’s kind of been the story of his career.
Brooklyn is his 6th NBA team. He’s never had a big contract, and at the age of 32 he never will. He’s currently earning about $1.5 million a year (Ben Wallace’s agent once tricked the Chicago Bulls into paying him $60 million over four years when he was past his prime).
I believe he has been criminally underrated throughout his career by both coaches and GMs alike.