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For the fans, By the fans! This blog is all about keeping Australian fans up to date with all things surrounding the NBA!

NBA Nation Australia Roundtable

Welcome  back to NBA Nation Australia’ s Roundtable. This week we tackle the recent Spurs vs David Stern debacle, Hack-A- Shaq , the NBA’s bad boys and more.
Roundtable

Let us know if you think we got it right – or wrong!
@NBANationOz

Our bloggers include

Nick Caro – @nickotogo

Nick How – @Nick_A_How

Nick Russell – @NickaRuss

Sam Monaghan – @mono85

Coach Greg Popovic’s decision to sit 4 key players in a spurs game against the Heat this week has created some very serious discussions about how the league handles situations that arise within the NBA. Do you believe that coaches have the right to sit their players when and wherever they like, or should their ability to do so be limited? Additionally, was the penalty warranted and will it deter other teams from following suit?

Greg Popovich

Greg Popovich

 

Nick C:

  This is definitely one of the more complex situations to come out of the NBA in recent times, but it really shouldn’t be. Both sides have responded well, with very good arguments as to why they chose to a) rest players and b) impose sanctions. The NBA is a business, and the league will always see a move like Popovic’s as detrimental to their overall goal of making as much money as possible, and they’re right. The Spurs game against Miami was a TNT Nationally broadcast game, and that’s where the NBA as a business draws a lot of revenue. For Greg Popovic to voluntarily sit his 4 best players, in a game against arguably the league’s best team on a national broadcast night isn’t the best way to win friends. Coaching wise, it’s a move that is undoubtedly a smart one, but the headaches that come with it are also very prevalent. In this case, the juice may not be worth the squeeze. I personally believe it to be a statement move by Popovic to show that his team isn’t the old, decrepit outfit many slate them as and that they can still get it done without their stars, and they nearly did. The NBA and David Stern on the other hand need to take a chill pill. While this is a business, and while it is in the (cue sarcasm) ‘best interest of the fans’ for these guys to play the game, it’s incredibly presumptuous of the league to expect a terrible game in which bums won’t fill seats, and punters would rather check out the latest episode of New Girl than the NBA’s game of the night. It was, in the end, a fantastic game of NBA basketball and one which the Spurs, while they didn’t win, will be very proud of. Many will say the $250,000 fine is excessive, some say it’s not enough but the fact remains that the Spurs have become the scapegoat in what can only be described as a showing of power by the league, and to be honest, I thought basketball was beyond that.

Nick H:

I believe a Coach in ANY sport has the final decision in what team he fields. A Coach knows his players infinitely better than any suit would, and in that lies the answer in whether he has the right to choose who he wants. I know in various other sport worlds it’s relatively known that players secretly moan about the amount of games they play and the effect it has on their bodies. Now, I don’t think the NBA would be any different. 82 games in a Regular Season alone is a fair whack and I’m almost positive some players would prefer to sit out a few to recuperate, especially some of the Leagues veterans anyway. Yes a Coach can limit minutes per game, but in terms of performance for the team it would benefit players to be given sufficient time to rest. The ‘bigger’ Playoff games will definitely be more of an affair with players that are correctly rested and 100% fit. The $250,000 fine the Spurs received was slightly hefty and am still unsure whether they actually appealed it. I hope they do, and I hope they win because the day the suits decide how a coach picks his side will be a dark day. I do believe it will deter various coaches around the League from making hasty decisions in picking starting 5’s and of course that is a bad thing. It is Sport after all, it’s entirely about fans, marketing & T.V.

Nick R:

The keyword here is COACH. This was the coaches decision and should always remain a coaches decision, regardless of politics and pressure from above. He know’s the players in and out, he knows what it takes to get his team through a long season and he knows more than anybody that a team relies on the fitness of it’s players. If he needs to rest certain players, then he rests certain players. If he feels a player needs a break, then the player needs a break….regardless of who they are. There are plenty of arguments for the Spurs here and the fine must be a bitter pill to swallow…Imagine if Duncan or Parker had played with fatigue and injured themselves. The league would have been without a superstar heading into the playoffs. However…just like every story, there are two sides, and regardless of my opinion that the Spurs really did nothing wrong in resting key players, I also understand the NBA’s position. A marquee game. Two of the favourites vying for the NBA championships. The flashy Heat v the IQ of the Spurs. A prime Time broadcast and a sell out crowd. The NBA wanted the best players on show and not all of them showed up, so it’s understandable that they were disappointed and rather than just berating the Spurs for showing this game so called disrespect, they decided to make an example out of them with the fine. Regardless of the actual quality and entertaining game that took place, the NBA is a show, it’s entertainment and it’s a brand, and they feel that brand got disrespected by the San Antonio Spurs. It’s that simple….doesn’t mean they are right though.

Sam:

“Owners own, Coaches coach, Players play” – Wes Welker, New England Patriots Tight End (2011)

  NBA Coaches do not have a responsibility to the TV schedule. They answer to their owner who signs their cheques based on wins and losses. Popovic and the Spurs dont operate on wins and losses they exist to win titles. The Spurs coaching staff dont owe it to fans, the league or the opposition to play their best players night in night out. Coaches have obligation to their players, staff, fans and franchise to put them in the best position to win a championship. Resting players is part of the game. Penalties should not be levied on any franchise or coach who does this – we all lose if the best teams aren’t in the playoffs.

The Celtics and Lakers have both had a fairly troublesome starts to their respective seasons with many issues arising early, and fans and the media are becoming restless. Why have these two teams begun the season so inconsistently, and what will it take for two struggling superpowers to become dominant once again?

Celtics vs Lakers - a classic NBA rivalry

Celtics vs Lakers – a classic NBA rivalry

 Nick C:

This question ultimately comes down the one key factor. Inconsistency. Both the Lakers and the Celtics reloaded this season with rosters designed to challenge the Thunder and the Heat respectively, but the teams that have shown up have been a far cry from the ones expected over the course of free agency. The grinding, defensive nature of the Boston Celtics seems to be lacking this year, while no one really knows what’s wrong with the Lakers. Of course, everyone’s an expert and we end up with endless media hustle surrounding the trading of players like Pau Gasol. Excuse the French, but it’s all bullshit. The Lakers trading one of the smartest and best bigs in the league without so much as batting an eyelid or considering what might be when coupled with Steve Nash is ludicrous, and anyone suggesting otherwise is deluded, so let’s not even go there. This is a team stacked full of superstars who right now are struggling to co-exist, and defensively, there isn’t a lot going for them. Kobe Bryant is having a phenomenal season, but the rest of the team have yet to fully prove their worth. Dwight isn’t 100%, and isn’t being utilized as he should be (partly due to Kobe facilitating), Pau is struggling to adapt and has succumbed to injury, Nash and Blake are both recovering after serious injuries, the bench’s production has only now started to see improvement… The list goes on, but the main problem I see is a huge lack of energy from the players. This to me is the main issue facing the Lakers. Yes, they are older, yes they are injury plagued, but here I am to say one thing. Man up, play some defense and win some games.
The Celts are in some respects very similar and I see their problems stemming from a lack of interest. Some won’t like this but I actually do believe Rajon Rondo, while incredibly talented, is a punk. I hope for his sake that there is some growth in that department and he can start to embrace a calm that will see his game become even more respected. His team will benefit from it. The injection of players like Terry and Lee were supposed to help the team offensively but have remained largely a disappointment, KG has been dominant but recently his form has resided and Paul Pierce isn’t as effective as he once was. Basically it’s the same story as the Lakers though. This team can be fantastic if the effort and commitment is there, which right now it isn’t. Time will tell.

Nick H:

With the Lakers I think it has been quite obvious in that they have a new looking roster complete with All-Stars backing up Kobe in Dwight and Nash, and the early injury to Nash was quite the blow. Even last year before they brought in Nash they had Point Guard issues, and the arrival of Steve was mean’t to cushion that. Chris Duhon and Darius Morris aren’t the answer to their PG problems. Also a big factor is going into this new season their bench was always in question, this has been a key factor in some of their narrow losses already this season. Currently sat at 9-12, and still awaiting Nash to come back the pressure is on the bigger team in LA. Just remember this the Lakers we are talking about, they will come good, and I still expect them to be fully in the mix come end of regular season.

Celtics on the other hand are completely different issues. On paper they had one of the stronger looking rosters coming into the new season. Of course Ray Allen leaving for fierce rivals Miami was a controversial blow but for most C’s fans it wasn’t entirely the end of the world. New additions in Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and promising rookie Jared Sullinger had the C’s looking like strong contenders from the off, but this hasn’t been the case as of yet. Surprisingly the issue lies on the defensive end. The Celtics who for the past few years have been one of the Leagues leading defensive teams and now find themselves rock bottom of the defensive stats table. Shock horror! The Celtics, who have been for some time a team that struggles with rebounding have found that stat dip even more this year. It has been a key factor in various losses so far this year, currently they find themselves averaging about 38 boards per game, which is the leagues worst. Most coaches will tell you that rebounds are key to any team winning, and this has to improve if Boston are going to contend. Surprisingly, considering they pulled off the win Saturday’s game against Philadelphia saw Garnett finish the night without a single rebound. After a little research I found this is the first time in 15 years that KG has played a game without pulling a rebound down. This is an issue. Although, an issue I’m certain Doc will turn around. Slightly bias I know, but I fully expect my Celtics to be in contending late on this year.

Nick R:

This might be hard for some of my fellow’s on the round table to hear, but I think it’s going to be a loooooong end to the season for both these teams. I still expect them both to make the playoffs, but unless they can turn it around and start playing some consistent ball, they will end up with a low ranking in the playoffs and most likely meet a team like the Heat, Knicks, Memphis or OKC. Neither the Lakers or Boston are going to want this. The best chance for them both will be to try and get into the mid range 4 – 6 playoff spot and try to peak at the right end of the season.

For Boston, I think they are heading in the right direction; they just need to be consistent at both ends of the court. For a team that usually prides themselves on the defensive end, they have been surprisingly awful. As the old saying goes, defence wins matches and if the Celtics can find a way to sort out their defensive issues on a regular basis, then I expect them to rocking come the pointy end.

The Lakers on the other hand are lacking rhythm in their starting 5 and core bench that we keep saying will come with time. It’s hard to really imagine the Lakers struggling with such a strong starting 5, but we have all seen chemistry issues before, think back to the Knicks from the last few seasons. The lack of a true backup PG for Nash is hurting them and with a bench that is giving Mike D’Antoni the support he needs to play his famed offence, well….I can’t see much of a change this season. The way it’s going at the moment, I expect the Lakers to get into the play-offs  but most likely play a rampaging OKC or Memphis (hell, even the Clippers) in the first round and struggle over a 7 game series. This won’t last forever though….and the Lakers will be alright in time, it just ain’t going to be this year I think.

Sam:
Celtics – This was the year many predicted the Celtics would slip, and we are starting to see that. As a team they are struggling on the boards and seperating themselves offensivly. They allow 96 points per game and score only 97 points per game on average. This 1 point differential is too slim, not enough margin for error. They are leaking rebounds – on both ends. They rank 30th in the league in rebounds overall, averaging 38 a game – league average is 42 p/game. This is costing them in transition and limiting any fast break points. The Celtics dont really have the roster to play a fast paced game but it would help them out if they could create a few more chances offensively.

Lakers -
Overall: 9-12
Home: 7-6
Away: 2-6
Division: 3-2
Conference: 7-10
With D’Antoni: 4-7
Against Teams over .500: 6-6
When Bryant scores 30+: 1-9

The Lakers are struggling under the weight of expectation brought upon themselves by offeseason mega moves. The team’s chemistry has been shaken, overall team philosophies changed, rotations out of synch and injuries galore. The additions of a new centre and point guard required the entire team to adjust playing styles. Messing with the teams chemistry has caused a leaky defense and this is being compounded in the fourth quarter. The Lakers are allowing the 2nd most points in the  fourth quarter of all teams. The return of Nash & Gasol full time to the lineups will benefit both players and coaching staff. This team lets too many game slip away. If they can come together as a team and shut down other teams for the final quarter their record should improve.

Lately we have seen teams adopt a strategy to combat the overwhelming force players like Dwight Howard have on close games. Howard is widely known as a poor free throw shooter, so teams are intentionally fouling him off the ball to regain possession with little risk of giving away points. Technically known as “hacking”. While still legal, should the NBA regulate the amount this tactic is used, and is it within the best interests of the game to continue to allow it to happen?

Hack-a-Shaq now Hack-a-Dwight

Hack-a-Shaq now Hack-a-Dwight

 

Nick C:

It’s legal, and there’s absolutely nothing stipulating that a team cant adopt the tactic. So why not? Well I’ll tell you. It’s an ugly, boring, cheap tactic that takes away from everything we love about watching a close game of basketball. Sure, fouling is a huge part of the game when it’s all on the line, but intentionally fouling a player off the ball within two seconds of the play the ball purely to send him to the line over, and over and over again is simply boring to watch. I’m not going to say it’s unfair, because if you just hit the damn free throws you have no issue. the problem lies within the flowing, graceful nature in which games are won and lost. It takes away from the aggressive, hard fought, grinding wins and losses that we as fans love to see. Dwight is a victim because he can’t hit free throws, and it sucks, but it can all be fixed simply by hitting them. Is it likely to happen? No, but rest assured he’s working hard on that area of his game. The Lakers have been dealt three losses thanks to Hack-a-Dwight, but would likely have won them all had he hit those free throws (or the team playing a little defense throughout the game). Remember, I’m not blaming those losses on free throws alone, but it’s certainly a big reason why. David Stern has come out in defense of those opposed to hacking, and has indicated that he would like to see something done to regulate the amount players foul down the stretch to limit it. I for one am glad he did this, as fining the spurs for lessening the value of the game as a spectacle is surely less damaging than hacking’s impact on the way a fan views and enjoys the game.

Nick H :

While I get that players will ‘spot’ a certain area of an opponents game that they feel they can cash in on, things like ‘hacking’ have to be monitored. Of course if it is overly monitored it could play into the hands of players like Dwight who have been falling victim to it. Most sports at various times have had areas of the game where players will take ‘advantage’ of certain things and it has become so commonplace amongst those sports that it has at times, ruined their respective games. Football (Soccer for U.S readers) has fallen victim to players diving for years and to counter act that Football governing bodies have allowed referees to become more ‘card friendly’. NBA recently had the issue to deal with of players ‘flopping’. It was getting so out of hand the NBA are now willing to issue fines to players they deem ‘flopping’. Hacking I think won’t get quite out of hand as ‘flopping’ or ‘diving’ but players will use this tactic, if they feel they can get away with it. What those players who are prepared to risk ‘hacking’ opponents have to their advantage is that it isn’t quite as obvious as ‘flopping’, which in turn puts serious pressure on the suits of the NBA to keep eagle eyes out on this. I’d expect similar fines to be issued if this area of the game gets out of hand.

Nick R:

Hacking has been around forever…it’s certainly nothing new. When a team has a player that can’t shoot to save themselves (or their team), then it’s within the rules to foul them, even off the ball and send them to the line. We saw it with Shaq over the years and now we are seeing it on a regular basis with players like Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin especially. David Stern has come out and said he wants it to stop, but unless there is an official change to the rule, much like we have seen this year with “flopping” then players will continue to do it. However, the easiest way for this to stop without having to update an already confusing rule is for people like Dwight Howard to become a better freethrow shooter. I mean seriously! You are a professional basketball player and you shoot worse than me from the line. Rajon Rondo was a terrible free throw shooter (actually he still is), but he has worked on it immensely and is no longer the liability he use to be from the free throw line. So rather than working on your biceps Dwight, how about you figure out how to shoot the ball from the line and then you will find that players will stop hacking at your hands every time they want the ball back.

Sam:

Hacking isn’t one of the most exciting moments in a game, it can be tedious and dull. As far as a coaching strategy goes, it can be quite effective . Unfortunately it looks tacky, in some cases its been shown to actually improve the FT % of a poor FT shooter. Currently its not illegal, the NBA has changed rules to improve the look of the game – the introduction of the shot clock. In Stern’s brief time he has left as commissioner I suspect we wont see this rule changed, it affects so few players and is often only referenced on slow news days.

We all have our teams we watch day in and day out with passion and loyalty, but in most cases we also have a second team we love to watch and secretly root for. Who is your ‘secret’ team and why?

New York Knicks

New York Knicks

Nick C:

I’ve always had a soft spot for New York. I don’t know exactly if it’s the city, the aura surrounding the team or the countless great players that have played there, but something about the Knicks always manages to catch my attention. I’m a big Carmelo Anthony fan and have been since his days in Denver, but that’s not why I like the team. I’ve always enjoyed watching old Patrick Ewing/John Starks games, but nostalgia isn’t a reason for my liking of the team either. I believe it’s the subliminal pull that New York City has, and a subconscious attractiveness for it’s various sporting teams and franchises that makes it so appealing. The beauty and majestic city that New York is makes everything within it more attractive. Maybe I’m speaking more for the City itself, I can’t be sure; but I think it’s a big part of why I consider the Knicks such a special and important team within the NBA.

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks

Nick H:

Sports, to a lot of us are emotion based relationships. There are some people out there that love their teams just as much as their missus and it isn’t unheard of wifes divorcing their men over their avid love of a team. I’ve had a ‘secret’ problem with people seriously following more than one team in a sport and I live by that. I’m a Millwall supporter and a Millwall supporter only. I have people ask me who my Premiership team is? To which I’m always blown away and answer with Premiership team? NBA is no different for me, I support the Boston Celtics and the Boston Celtics only. I do however, like many others have players around the league that I like watching. My player that I like watching is Brandon Jennings, which I suppose means I watch more Milwaukee Bucks games then I should! I in know way have any emotional tie to them however, but I do like to see Brandon do well.

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls

Nick R:

 Ha! This is a question that created a little discussion within the inner sanctum at NBA Nation OZ HQ. The topic of secret teams we love to watch or even a “2nd” team that we keep close to our chests often get’s mentioned in the world of the sportsfan and that’s because we are what we are, sports fans. We might pick a team to support and they become your passion over the years, but the whole reason we are here in the first place is because we are a fan of the sport in the first place. So while I am a Knicks fan and a passionate one at that, I am also a massive NBA fan, and I love to kick back and watch a great game of basketball, no matter the team. So to pinpoint one other team in particular, well, I reckon that would be tricky…however, there is a team that got me into basketball in the first place and I do like to keep an eye on their franchise even today. They are a massive Knicks Eastern Conference rival, but for me….they are kinda like the Royal family. You don’t have to love them, but you have to show them a little respect for shaping the modern game of basketball, and that team is the Chicago Bulls. If it wasn’t for Jordan, Pippen and co (including Mr. Longley), I doubt I would be living and breathing basketball today. So while I do keep that card close to my chest (generally), in case I meet another Knicks fan…I can’t help but show the Bulls the respect and thanks they deserve.

Knicks till I die (that ones for you Mr. How), but it really is the NBA that has me hooked.

New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans Hornets

Sam:

Traditionally I’ve always kept my eyes on the progress of the New Orleans/Charlotte Hornets. A man of short stature like myself looked up to Mugsy Bogues – he played like a bulldog, no space on court was too tight, no shot too far and no other player too big to take on. Since the days of Bogues and Johnson the Hornets have struggled, especially post hurricane when they were forced out of the city. Now the Hornets have their first ever franchise player in Anthony Davis – a charismatic, personable player who will represent New Orleans for years to come.

It’s generally all about the players…until they start to lose, then the blame turns to the coaches. It must be a tough job coaching an NBA team through a long season, especially when most teams have lofty expectations. So lets give the head coaches a little love. Which coach has impressed you most so far this season?

Zone

Nick C:
Mike Brown. Nah, totally joking. This actually follows on well from my answer to the last question, as I’m going with Mike Woodson of the Knicks. How can you not with a guy who pulled the team out of an ominous hole and take them to a 30-10 record, and 19-1 at home? The man was only meant to be an interim coach, yet he’s at the helm of what is probably the most successful Knicks team in over ten years. I’ll be interested to see how he manages the on court relationship between Carmelo and Amare when he comes back, and if he’ll indeed be able to help them adjust and play well with one another. I don’t think it’ll be as much of an issue as people assume, but given the two have struggled to co-exist in the past, it will surely be a challenge for Woodson to face. There are a lot of other great coaches in the league including Greg Popovic, Tom Thibodeau, Scotty Brooks and Eric Spoeltra, but have any of them turned a team whom no one gave any chance into a championship contender within the space of 9 months? Have any of them been able to get the highest level of competitiveness out of the oldest roster in the NBA? Have any of them come out the other side of the mayhem that was Linsanity and said ‘we don’t need him’? Has anyone exceeded expectations quite like Mike? Nope.

Nick H:

Continuing on from the last question. I watch a fair bit of Milwaukee and have been genuinely impressed with Scott Skiles. He finally seems to have his side playing some decent looking basketball. Last year, when they aquired Monta Ellis a lot of people said there would be no way that too ball hungry guards (Ellis & Jennings) could play together. How wrong that is looking to be?! Ellis & Jennings are now a very solid back court and in turn has seen Jennings up his PG game. While he still is a tad shoot first, he currently is sat on 18ppg 6apg 3rpg. The Bucks currently are the sixth best team in the assists ladder and a lot of that has to do with Jennings & Ellis. While Skiles isn’t blessed with the best starting five or even bench, he has made do with what he has to play with. The Bucks came out and said they weren’t going to offer Jennings an extension at the end of the season, and that has proved to have worked in their favour as he is now playing some great basketball. A very smart piece of mind play coaching. I honestly believe Skiles will have the Bucks very near if not in a Playoff spot come the end of the regular season. Watch this space!

Nick R:

So this one might be an obvious choice, but regardless of my love of the Orange and Blue of the Knicks, it’s hard to really go past Mike Woodson. Right now, the Knicks are the hottest thing in the East and most of it can be attributed to this team having 100% faith and trust in it’s coach. They ALL believe that Woodson is the man for the job and he has taken them from playoff fodder to genuine contenders in the space of 20 games….and all this from a coach that was intended to be just a stepping stone to someone else.  There are plenty of other coaches that deserve some praise this year, and what Scott Skiles is doing at the Bucks is a close 2nd in my opinion, but for me, when an “interim” coach steps into a team with the weight of New York faithful on their shoulders and turns them completely around deserves some loud respect. If the Knicks keep rocking all the way to one of the Eastern Conference playoffs top 2 spots…then Woodson will win the Coach of the Year award, and might just add a Championship trophy to that cabinet. Queue the haters

Sam:

Coach: Larry Drew
Team: Atlanta Hawks

While previewing the season I looked at the Hawks roster and began to think they had gotten better by subtraction. The loss of Joe Johnson to Brooklyn has given this team more room to move roster wise. Currently they sit at 12-6 and 3rd in the Eastern Conference overall. They have found constancy and are playing well at both home and away – losing only 3 at home and 3 away. The most surprising aspect has been their defence, currently they are only allowing 93 points per game – the best in the NBA. The Hawks are seemingly in every game – aided by 4 starters who are averaging 13+ points per game at least. That’s 60+ points per game from their starters – the coaching staff has instilled a lockdown defence mentality. Drew has combined this with a pass first play making  (ranked 3rd in the NBA) to make the Hawks one of most well coached teams in the league.

The NBA is a fast, tough game. A few weeks ago we bought you a special piece highlighting some of the NBA’s worst ever fouls, fights and dirtiest moments. It was pretty intense to watch! So now we have had a chance to breath again…who is today’s dirtiest player?

Metta's Famous Elbow

Metta’s Famous Elbow

Nick C:

Dirtiest players… Metta? Rondo? Stephen Jackson? Z-Bo? Jermaine O’Neill? KG? Too many bad asses in the league to narrow it down. I don’t necessarily know if these (mostly self proclaimed) ‘gangsters’ are all that they seem on the court, but I guess you have to take what you can away from their performance on game night and assume that’s pretty much everything there is to a guy. Right? I mean most guys will tell you they give you 100% of themselves when they’re on the floor, so it’s natural to assume that’s who they are in every day life…. Nah, I don’t buy it. 99% of the time these guys are putting their game face on and that’s where the buck stops. But that’s neither here nor there. I would have to say Metta is still probably the dirtiest guy in the game. But he does it so, so beautifully. Ever the nice guy, he’ll still take the opportunity to get the ball be it legal or not, but he manages to do it without getting caught. Most of the time. Sometimes he explodes, like the Harden elbow, and no one likes to see that, but Metta’s ‘sarcastic nice guy’ attitude does tend to alienate people. Sometimes hilarity ensues, sometimes it’s not pleasant but one thing’s for sure, you know that you’re gonna get a cheap laugh thanks to Ron. he’s come a long, long way since the malice in the palace, and deserves some credit for turning his life around in that regard, but he’ll always be one of those guys who’s known for being scrappy. That’s just Ron Ron, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Artest being escorted off the court post 'Malice in the Palace'

Artest being escorted off the court post ‘Malice in the Palace’

Nick H:

As my feature showed, despite some shocking moments over the years the guy that stands taller (and tougher) than the rest is Metta World Peace (AKA Ron Artest). Would you like to receive an elbow from that man? Would you like to be tucking into a pre-game burger when WHAM! he comes tumbling into the stand to kill the dude next to you? Thought not!

Artest and Kobe get into - pre World Peace

Artest and Kobe get into – pre World Peace

Nick R:

 Intensity + aggression doesn’t always = dirty play. I love nothing more than to see a battle on the court. Teams and players doing everything they can to win the game for their team. When I say “everything they can”, I mean within the spirit and integrity of the game. I just wanted to mention that because while I certainly love two players battle it out for dominance, I don’t condone thuggery or cheap shots. This shouldn’t be part of our game. There are some really intense players that cop allot of flak and get type cast as a dirty player, someone like Kevin Garnett falls into this class. Whilst I will agree that KG is a very intense player, I don’t believe he is completely dirty. For me, the dirtiest players are the ones that completely disregard the fine line between intensity and unsportsmanship, and then make up excuses to cover their asses in an attempt to justify their actions….a player like “Metta World Peace” formally Mr. Ron Artest. I mean, is that name not the craziest attempt to cover up a reputation you have ever seen? Whilst some may argue that Ron is just “overly” passionate and “overly” intense, it’s hard to really go past that he is just a thug that can also play basketball. If you look through the highlight reel @nick_a_how put together a couple of weeks ago, you will see that Ron makes regular appearances. This wasn’t us being bias and only showing you his “highlights”, it just so happens that he appears in the majority of the most infamous incidents of the modern era. He I certainly entertaining, but blurs that fine line too many times and for me….without a doubt, Ron Artest (I just can’t bring myself to call him MWP) is THE grubbiest player we have seen in a long time. 

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins

Sam:

There are a few options here but I’m going to go with the Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins. Now Perkins gets my vote because he niggles. He is always body on body, elbows into hips, in your face. Often this will get him tangled up and this brings out his darker side – he has a knack for hard fouling others. Strangely it seems like he has a reputation for being a studio gangster, Udonis Haslem has been quoted as saying he doesn’t believe Perkins “..is the tough guy that he puts on the show to be at all”. I wouldn’t want to tangle with Perkins on or off the court either way.

Thanks for reading this week – let  us all know what you think @NBANationOz

You can find our boys at

Nick Caro – @nickotogo

Nick How – @Nick_A_How

Nick Russell – @NickaRuss

Sam Monaghan – @mono85

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