Unsigned Evans provides leadership
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY
Mo Evans made sure all NBA players had a job last season, helping end the lockout through his role as executive vice president of the National Basketball Players Association.
Right now, the nine-year veteran is without a job for the 2012-13 season, and training camps open in less than three weeks.
“Given that I’m a veteran, I know where my value lies,” Evans, 33, told USA TODAY Sports. “At this stage of the game and at this stage in my life, I’m waiting for the place I feel God has already marked for me. The impact I can make is not only on the floor, it’s even more so in the locker room and the community. That’s the marquee value I bring to the table.”
Evans provides stellar leadership on and off the court and many believe he can still contribute on the court.
Although he received limited playing time for the Washington Wizards last season, Evans was in for key minutes in the team’s six-game winning streak to end the season, scoring 14 points against the Chicago Bulls and 18 against the Miami Heat. He is also a versatile defender.
But it’s his locker room presence that made an impact in Washington. Last season, Evans filled that leadership role as a mentor to guards John Wall and Jordan Crawford. One person with knowledge of the Wizards’ season said Crawford would have been late to the airport for a handful of road trips had Evans not picked him up. The person, who requested anonymity because Evans is still trying to reach a deal, also said almost every player credited Evans for his leadership and advice during their exit interviews.
That’s what the Wizards needed from Evans, and it’s exactly what a team with young players can use this season — a team such as the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers or Charlotte Bobcats. But Evans isn’t limiting himself to younger teams.
“I can have a similar impact in a veteran locker room the same way I can have on a younger locker room,” Evans said. “One of the realities is … [For more on Unsigned Evans provides leadership, click here.]