Two summers ago, in early June, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to swap forward Reggie Evans for sharp-shooting guard Jason Kapono. We believed we were getting an excellent three point shooter who had been a two-time winner of the NBA’s Long Distance 3-Point Shootout and a career 45.4 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
As an organization, the Sixers were in dire need of a player of his type because since the loss of Kyle Korver in December of 2007 this team had continually failed to address the lack of outside shooting. When the 76ers front office pulled the trigger on the Kapono deal, they were ranked dead last in three point shooting percentage. For the 2009-10 Sixers Kapono was sure to be a great role player who could stretch the floor and knock down open treys in Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense.
The man he was dealt for — Reggie Evans — was a decent player but a special role playing forward off the bench. Evans lacks the ability to create his own shot but excels as a rebounder and is solid on defense. His physicality would be a great attribution to this current Sixers roster.
Although it seemed like the right move way back when, we’d be much better off if the deal never happened.
Since acquiring Kapono he has struggled shooting the ball consistently posting a career-low 36.8 % three-point field goal percentage last season. This season he has only attempted two three-point shot attempts thus far. Veteran defenderss in the League recognize Kapono’s lone strength and more often than not force him to come inside on them. He couldn’t find a role in Eddie Jordan’s system in 2009-10 and he hasn’t found a role with new head coach Doug Collins’ offense this season. Of the 13 Philadelphia contests this season, Kapano has been a DNP in five games.
Thus, this team still lacks outside shooter (as it did 4 years ago). Currently the 76ers rank 18th in three point shooting percentage and attempt the second lowest numer of 3’s among NBA teams at 13.8 per game. The idea of bringing along a deep shooting threat is correct, as it has been for years here in Philly, but clearly Kapono is not the answer.
Evans on the other hand has been one of the Raptor’s most productive players, and that isn’t overhyping him in the slightest. His 11.8 rebounds per game rank him fourth in the League behind perennial all-stars Kevin Love, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, and Evans is playing just 27 minutes per night. Evans’ critics will quickly point out in detail his lack of any offensive game at all (2.7 ppg and 23 percent from the field). But I ask those critics, “Do the Sixers really need another scorer?” Not in my book.
What Doug Collins could use is a glass cleaner who can provide a physical presence defensively and gives this band of choir boys a bit of a nastly edge.
Finally, what most NBA fans aren’t aware is that in addition to his on-the-court attributes, Evans has dispalyed a willingness to lead. He had a strong locker room presence when he was here in Philly and recently in the mismatched Toronto locker room Evans assumed the leadership role.
According to Toronto Sun blogger Mike Ganter, Evans called his own team meeting after an uninspiring effort on the road in Washington. The Raptors responded to his speech and in the next game were able to finish off the Sixers on the road. They followed that W with a win against Houston and then a huge upset victory over Boston. If Evans were a baseball player, he would be the guy who leaves the field with a dirty uniform every night. Who on the Sixers can match his intensity, heart and leadership? No one, that’s who.
Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and we are certainly not trying to pin blame on JK for anything here. It just appears to us that Reggie Evans would be great fit for the 2010-11 edition of Philadunkia’s home team so we thought we’d mention it.