In the spirit of my love for rebounding, and in true Dave Berri fashion, I decided to create a super-team without any super “scorers.” Instead, this fantasy exercise is more or less arbitrarily assembling a team of talented players that excel in different roles and compliment each other’s strengths and and weaknesses. The caveat is that none of the listed players have averaged 15+ points per game in any of the past three seasons or for their careers. Hence, none of the players are considered true superstars by the media/general population–no Dwyane Wades, Kobe Byants, LeBron James, or Kevin Durants. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard also aren’t invited. This is for the Horace Grants, Dennis Rodmans, and the Mark Jacksons (in addition to rebounding, I’m partial to 90’s basketball). But because it is 2010 rather than 1992, AGR wants to examine which of today’s players–given their current ability and production–would combine to make this non-scorers team as dangerous as possible. Here’s who scored big by making it onto the AGR All-NBA Non-Scorers Team. (All stats are from basketball-reference.com and are from the 2010-11 season).
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo.
Backup: Jason Kidd
Honorable mention: Andre Miller, Jose Calderon
Rondo gets the nod over a surprsingly impressive list of competitors at the point guard position, but its not even close. He’s the MVP of the non-scorers team and he epitomizes what this team is all about (what is this team all about, anyway? Whatever it is, Rondo epitomizes it, I promise). There has been a lot of talk about Rondo since the Celtics dismantled the Cavs in the 09-10 playoffs, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. He makes up for his lack of scoring by being a superb passer, rebounder, and defender. He’s quick enough to get to the cup at will, and crafty enough to finish well once he gets there. Once he learns to convert free throws and jumpers he’ll be as good any point man in the league, although I don’t know why I have any faith in that happening. The man is scrap-tastic, and as the team’s point guard he’ll set the tone of the Non-Scorers team.
Shooting Guard: Arron Afflalo
Backup: Shannon Brown
Honorable Mention: Delonte West, Landry Fields
Afflalo is blossoming as a Nuggets starter in his 4th year in the league and fits in perfectly with the Non-Scorers team. He shoots well from the field, three-point land, and the charity stripe. In addition, his strong frame (6’5″, 215 lbs) allows him to grab a few boards and play stingy perimeter D. To boot, he doesn’t foul or turn the ball over too much and is becoming a passable passer. He will be relied upon to do less creating and more floor-spreading and defending when this team is inevitably assembled for its requisite scrimmage versus Team USA. Welcome to the team, Arron.
Small Forward: Lamar Odom
Backup: Matt Barnes
Honorable Mention: Nicolas Batum, James Jones
Lamar is a a unique forward in this league–he can dribble, drive, pass, defend, rebound, and pretty much everything else a non-scorer should do. He will need to help Rondo out as a play-maker on the Non-Scorers team, as creating offense isn’t exactly this team’s forte. And because the Candyman is so versatile, he’ll start as a SF on this squad despite playing more PF this season. The newest Kardashian is playing some of his best ball ever (as he seemingly always does when Andrew Bynum is hurt) and that has shown in the form of efficient shooting, high rebound and assist rates, and low turnover rates. Lamar will be the team’s x-factor and will double as the team’s nutritionist.
Power Forward: Serge Ibaka
Backup: Taj Gibson
Honorable Mention: Tyrus Thomas, Amir Johnson
Air Congo has grown leaps and bounds in his second season. Well, maybe he doesn’t leap any better than before–he’d be hard-pressed to improve upon that–but he certainly knows how to score better than before. Serge came into the season boasting a significantly improved shooting form, and it has shown in his shooting percentages (FG% and FT%) and in the number of games that he has started. He won’t torch you–after all, he’s starting on the Non-Scorers team–but he can finish strong at the rim due to his jacked frame and impressive jumping ability and spread the floor with a Udonis Haslem-esque mid-range spot-up game (so many hyphens!) Once you throw in his shot-blocking prowess, defense, and rebounding ability, the picture of Serge is that of a starting NBA power forward on a championship-contending team. Oh, and yeah, he NEVER turns the ball over. As a delusional Wizards fan who sometimes thinks he’s GM, I plan on calling Sam Presti offering to trade Andray Blatche (captain of the I-Only-Know-How-To-Score team) for Ibaka.
Center: Joakim Noah
Backup: Tyson Chandler
Honorable Mention: Emeka Okafor, Nene Hilario
Everyone loves to hate Joakim Noah, but he is playing as well as about any center in this league. Like with Rondo, the man just loves to get down and dirty. He’s a trashman with a goofy and functional jumper/free throw form. He has quick lateral movement, long arms, quick jumping ability, and Garnett-like intensity. Joakim disrupts literally everyone and everything on the hardwood and in the arena. Be it through his rebounding/defense, unadulterated trash talk, wild hair, or general ugliness, Joakim imposes his will on a basketball game in all non-scoring fashions. Let’s just hope he doesn’t disrupt the locker room, which for the non-scorers team will be located in a dumpster behind Wendy’s.
Head Coach: Frank Reynolds aka The Trashman
Big man coaches: Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman
Swingman coach: Bruce Bowen
Point guard coach: Mark Jackson
Barely cut for scoring too much: Andrew Bogut, Josh Smith, Al Horford
Who do you think the best non-scorers are in the NBA? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.