“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” — Unnamed descendent of Frank Reynolds
The above saying is a motto I live by, as an every day person and as a basketball player. It allows me to eat and dress myself without breaking the bank (I don’t make much money). On the basketball court, this mentality provides me opportunities to contribute in ways I might not get otherwise get (my trashman stench usually dissuades teammates from passing to me).
Scoring might drive salary, awards, and popularity, but trashmen–guys who clean up loose balls and do all the dirty work–are necessary for winning games. It’s awards season in the NBA and because they never get the recognition they deserve, AGR honors the NBA’s trashmen below in the 2012-13 Frank Reynolds Trashman All-Star Team.
The rules: A Frank Reynolds Trashman can average no more than 12.0 points per 36 minutes for the 2012-13. Beyond that, the selections are stats-informed but subjective. The overarching goal is to compose the best team possible while also honoring the best individual players. All stats are courtesy of basketball-reference.com. In the tables below, we’ve also included a minimum* for total minutes (700), PER (10.0), and WS/48 (.100). All tables are sorted by total Win Shares.
Point Guard: Patrick Beverly
Backup: Pablo Prigioni
Patrick Beverly became Public Enemy No. 1 in OKC for inadvertently injuring Russell Westbrook, but here at AGR we salute his tireless and stanky swag. He might rank last in Win Shares among the above qualified guards, but in this group he had the highest PER, WS/48, and trash-juice concentrasion. His all-around game combined with his speed/ athleticism will allow him to create shots and penetrate the defense on a team devoid of this skillset. Pablo Prigioni’s quick hands and old-man savvy earn a spot as backup on this rancid, rancid team. Those qualities also make him a surefire dumpster-diver.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha
Backup: Lance Stephenson
Remarkably, given this year’s criteria, only two shooting guards qualified for the team: Thabo Sefolosha and Lance Stephenson. Jason Kidd and D.J. Augustin spent time at the two-guard, but neither were good enough to warrant a spot on the roster anyway. Sefolosha has long been regarded as this current era’s Bruce Bowen (one of the assistant coaches on the squad), and rightfully so. Thabo’s scrappiness belies his notably pristine home country, Switzerland. He shoots well and is no-mistakes kind of guy on both sides of the floor. Within the starting unit, his poised play contrasts with Beverly’s energy; on the bench, Stephenson’s reckless drives to the hoop compliments Prigioni’s more deliberate attack. Lance’s crazed energy also helps drive away the rats in our homey underpass of a lockerroom.
Small Forward: Jimmy Butler
Backup: Shane Battier
There are more qualified forwards than guards, making the above list a tad difficult to parse, especially if you’re illiterate like fellow trashman Charlie Kelly. But if any one thing stands out, it’s Jimmy Butler’s dominance over the “competition.” There isn’t a box-score category where Butler stands out, other than his ability to play no-foul defense. As a total package, though, he’s far and away the best of the bunch. Between Butler playing both wing positions and backup Shane Battier playing both forward spots, there is some serious versatility. But why else does Battier deserve the backup spot over, say, Steve Novak? Like any true filth-hoarder, Battier’s not afraid to hit the floor. he dives for balls, takes charges, and does what ne needs to do to help his team win. It’s why Battier was dubbed the no-stats All-Star. The dude could coach this team if he wanted, or any team for that matter. Plus, his new look would make any trashman proud.
Power Forward: Nick Collison
Backup: Jared Sullinger
Even though it’s painful to leave out the grizzled and ungainly Reggie Evans, only Nick Collison and Jared Sullinger had the necessary versatility to make the team. Collison is a no-brainer as the starter. He’s extremely efficient in his (limited) scoring. He’s the type of guy who will take a charge from LeBron James or box out an opponent while his teammate snags the rebound. Little things like this help explain why his plus/minus stats have been excellent through the years. He’s resourceful–rumor has it that after being hazed as a rookie he fetched dumpster-donuts for the Sonics as silent and grimy revenge. Rookie Jared Sullinger rebounds well on both ends and spreads the floor with his soft touch. His fate as a trashman is destiny. There’s nothing more grittier than the Boston announcers screaming “Sully!” His nick-name literally means “to make dirty.” Perfect.
Center: Joakim Noah
Backup: Tyson Chandler
The two guys to make the team are obvious–Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah. Less obvious is who the starter should be between them. It’s a coin-flip, so we might as well go on whose trashman looks are superior. I vote Noah and his unshowered mop over Tyson’s “trashman class.” Chandler’s scoring efficiency, once again, is of historic proportion, but much of that is due to elite offensive rebounding. On this team, as opposed to the Melo-led Knicks, playmaking will be important for the starting center. That’s why, in light of his passing, defense, and scoring versatility, I’m going with Noah.
Three thoughts before I leave to go trash-hunting (don’t ask).
- It’s worth noting that, without exception, all of the above qualified players are on teams that made the playoffs this year. That says something about the importance of trashmen to winning games.
- All of the above players are above the .100 league average in WS/48 (they had to be by the imposed minimum), but very few are near the PER league average (15.0). Whether that’s related or not to point number one is a good starter for a healthy stats debate.
- The 12.0 PTS/36 cutoff was arbitrary. If we had used last year’s 15.0 cutoff, many more players would have qualified–too many guys and too much scoring for my garbage-inclined sensibilities. That said, I’d feel bad if I didn’t give these quasi-trashmen love. Below is a table of qualified players who scored between 12.0 and 15.0 PTS/36, sorted by Win Shares.
For what it’s worth, my starting five of the below players would be: PG: George Hill, SG: Tony Allen, SF: Kawhi Leonard, PF: Kenneth Faried, C: Marc Gasol.
*A minutes limit was necessary, but how to choose the exact number? I wanted Beverly on my team, and he was just above 700 total minutes, so I decided on that. And the other criteria? The minimum for PER (10.0) is well-below league average while the minimum for WS/48 (.100); because PER favors scorers, it was important to lower the PER min to increase the number of eligible trashmen. Regardless of how you feel about these minimums, it’s highly unlikely that anyone who didn’t meet one of the minimums would have otherwise made the team.
Who do you think the best trashmen in the NBA? Who would make Frank Reynolds proud? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.