May 7, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Reggie Evans (30) celebrates the 101-97 victory with power forward Kenyon Martin (2), power forward Blake Griffin (32) and head coach Vinny Del Negro against the Memphis Grizzlies in game four of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Video Included: Reggie Evans Emerged as a Staples Center Favorite This Playoffs

It was not an uncommon sound to hear the Staples Center crowd all on their feet during these playoffs in red t-shirts and chanting “Reeeg-iiee! Reeeg-iiee! Reeeg-iiee!” When Evans joined the team in December it would have been hard to imagine that happening. Instead, fans gravitated towards Evans’ outward enthusiasm of the game and excellent rebounding ability; his toughness against the Grizzlies did not go unnoticed either. His 20.9 season rebounding rate is not far off of the career leader of that statistic, Dennis Rodman, who clocked a rate of 23.4.

Evans certainly gained the respect of Chris Paul this year. “When Reggie comes in the game and guys see how hard he’s playing, it becomes contagious,” Paul said in January. “You have no choice but to play hard when you see Reggie diving all over the court.”

Coach Vinny Del Negro also saw the use he could put Evans to with the bench unit, and went to that unit more and more in the Playoffs.

“He enjoys that aspect of the game and he’s going to go up there and get the basketball,” Del Negro said. “At times, we need to use him and put him in a position to effect the game with his rebounding which he’s done.”

Evans helped the Clippers find some Playoff toughness when some were questioning the Clippers as soft early in Round 1. “Soft? I ain’t in no soft category,” he answered a reporter.

Evans also feeds off of the crowd energy, and when asked if he could hear the fans chanting his name, he smiled and said, “Of course. When you have 20,000 or so people chanting your name, of course you hear it. I don’t want to sound arrogant or nothing like that, but pretty much since I went to [the University of] Iowa the crowd has been saying my name. They said it in other places, Toronto and Philadelphia and stuff like that. It’s almost starting to become natural.”

It will be interesting to see if the Clippers extend another contract to Evans(he was on a 1-year veteran minimum contract this year), but his hard work and energy in games this year is impossible to ignore. What GM Neil Oshley has to figure out is if Evans fits in with his vision for the team’s future.

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Tags: Chris Paul Reggie Evans Vinny Del Negro

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