Are The Bad Boys of Basketball Back?
Remember the good ol’ days of the NBA when every game might lead to a fistfight? Back in the 80s when the iconic squad was the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons who fought tooth and nail for every loose ball and fouled so hard, players forgot “and 1″ situations existed?
Technically, I don’t remember either as it was before my time, but I’ve done the research.
Well, despite the grade-school policies the league is instituting and Commissioner David Stern‘s best efforts, things seem to be headed back to the old landmark. We’ve put together a list of the “baddest” teams in basketball right now.
The Denver Nuggets
The crazy hair. The bad tattoos. The arrogant swagger, the hard fouls and the team-sized chip which sits on everyone’s shoulder (including the audience on many nights) are what make this team one of the baddest. With hot heads like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin (who infamously threatened to “put hands on” someone for a bad prank and once had bright red lips tattooed on his neck) on the team, it’s a wonder that coach George Karl can hold them together. Carmelo might be ready to ship out, but the style of play will undoubtedly go untouched in the mile-high city.
The Utah Jazz
Anyone who knows anything about pro sports knows the team takes on the personality and attitude of its coach (which explains why losing coaches get fired so quickly). Anyone who knows anything about basketball knows coach Jerry Sloan is hardcore. Therefore, his teams will always be—and have always been—bad to the bone. From Karl Malone going up for rebounds with his knee extended to even his youngest players banging around with the big boys, the Utah Jazz will stay tough for as long as their coach leads them.
The Boston Celtics
This is the team known for body language and extracurricular contact. If you want to know why they made the list, watch anyone inadvertently knock down a Celtic and try to reach down to help them up only to be shoved out of the way by another of the guys in green (usually Rajon Rondo, who may have a Napoleon complex, or Kevin Garnett). They’ve added Shaq to the team now and he even shoves his teammates away when he makes a good play on the ball. Their physicality intimidated and dumbfounded the Lakers and secured a championship for them back in 2008.
The Los Angeles Lakers
While they certainly don’t have the reputation of the others listed, the Lakers will get riled up every once in a while (usually when they’re losing and frustrated) and things get chippy. They have a tendency to get into it with the Celtics, the Nuggets, and who can forget Derek Fisher‘s flagrant foul on seven-footer Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets, whom the much smaller Fisher knocked to the ground? Adding Ron Artest, although he has calmed down considerably since his Auburn Hills days, has only heightened the team’s bad-boy possibilities. This season, things got sour in an L.A. rivalry versus the Clippers where Blake Griffin put on a show.
On most nights the league stays relatively clean as players seek to avoid fines and such. Three of the four teams on this list are in the Western conference, meaning there will probably be a more hard-fought playoff battle in the west this season.
That’s our list of the bad boys in basketball right now. Did we miss anyone?