Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Not that we’re bringing up Kevin Love here, but who’s the dirtiest (or, if you prefer, orneriest) player in the NBA these days?
Steve Aschburner: Normally I like to answer right up front and expound after, given these short-attention-span times. But … really? One graf to nominate and persuade on this loaded question? This could be a whole column. Or a series. Here’s the best I can do in the space allowed: The orneriest player in the NBA is Kevin Garnett, case closed. The dirtiest? I’ve seen Dwight Howard pull some stuff. Andrew Bynum earned a rep in his knockdowns of Beasley and Barea. But my choice is Metta World Peace/Ron Artest because of his general disregard for how brutishly he can play and how clumsy he sometimes is. He’ll use a questionable, bruising tactic and then look up like, “What?”
Fran Blinebury: Reggie Evans grabbed Chris Kaman by the junk. End of discussion.
Scott Howard-Cooper: How very passive-aggressive of you to ask the question like that. I still see that Mahorn guy on TV. I’ll go with him. If he is ineligible because you insist on following the statute of limitations on the small technicality that the accused must still be playing, the pick is Reggie Evans. Let’s just say I don’t think too many of his peers would find that an outrageous choice.
Shaun Powell: Kevin Garnett came into the league as a young, eager, somewhat innocent and effervescent teenager — Da Kid, if you recall — and will leave as the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino. As if his body language and facial contortions don’t scream “Git off my court” enough, he too often throws a verbal punch below the belt (Charlie Villanueva, etc.). From a sneakier standpoint, I’ll nominate Kurt Thomas, who has perfected the art of the timely-placed elbow and shove. “Nothing I do is illegal,” he told me just a week ago.
John Schuhmann: Kevin Garnett is definitely the orneriest player in the league, and probably sets the most illegal screens of anybody. But the two guys who would lead my All Irritant Team are Reggie Evans and Metta World Peace. Evans is obviously known for the Chris Kaman incident, but he scratches, claws, pushes and pulls for every rebound. Meanwhile, MWP makes it his job every night to get into the shirt and under the skin of the opponent’s best perimeter player.
Sekou Smith: I do prefer a different word. And it is with great appreciation that I bypass the nomination process and crown Los Angeles Clippers forward Reggie Evans with the title he so rightly deserves as the nastiest (in a good way) player in the league. Evans has grabbed other people (Chris Kaman) in places that aren’t suitable for discussion in this or any other space. But anyone that lies and says they wouldn’t want him guarding their back on the low block should be subject to 15 minutes in a rebounding drill with Evans at practice. I honestly don’t mind the way Evans plays. It’s part of what has kept him in the league this long.