There are those players in the NBA who score points, there are those that ride the bench and there are those who do neither. But there comes a time, where there are those select few players who are all about the heart, grit and grind of the game. These scrappy ballers score points, grab rebounds, give fouls, are fouled and most importantly…they get the job done!
There is no doubt his two-year standing NBA All-Defensive First Team speaks for itself. Allen has changed the basketball culture in Memphis with his creative phrase, “Grit and Grind.” His new motto has created a buzz around the NBA with signs and t-shirts being made that say, “All heart. Grit. Grind.” Allen started from the bottom, and is now at the top of this NBA scrappiest players list.
The hair may not speak for itself, but Noah’s tenacity and hard work sure do. Noah is one of those players we all love to watch. He has a fantastic work ethic and with Derrick Rose’s injuries, Noah has been expected to be on top of his game more than ever. Last season, Noah recorded his third career triple-double scoring 23 points, grabbing 21 rebounds and blocking 11 shots. He now joins players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players to record a triple-double of 20-20-10 in points, rebounds and blocks. If that doesn’t define scrappy, I am unsure what else will.
For the smallest guy on this list, Rondo is definitely one of the scrappiest. Although just coming back from injury, there is no doubt that Rondo doesn’t deserve to be here. There is also no doubt that his intensity has disappeared anywhere far in his absence. He is one of those players who talks trash, gets in your face and intimidates guys a full foot taller than him. He is absolutely reckless on the court and it is nearly impossible to stop him. Rondo comes third in this list of scrappiest NBA players.
Evans is a prime example of a scrapper. He is no all-star, he doesn’t play record breaking minutes, but he puts everything he has on the court and leaves it there. Evans stands at 6’8” and has grabbed a career high of 26 rebounds. There are a number of players that are taller, heavier and stronger than him, yet he manages to out-rebound and out-hustle his opponents. Any player that gets his tooth knocked out and stays in the game, will remain on this list.
A Toronto Raptor had to be put on the list, but for good reason. Amir Johnson is that guy you want on your team. He is fearless and will battle for every ball against the biggest, roughest players in the league. This scrapper has a soft side and is praised in Toronto for his determined style of play and his love for the city. Johnson’s hustle and grit is what earned him his starting spot at power forward this season. Larry Brown was once quoted saying he believed Johnson would become a special player one day. And indeed he did.
These players are the ones who will be there every night giving it their all. It is not only expected of them, it is in there nature and the style of game they want their fans to see in them. Although there are more than five scrappy players in the league, these five deserve to be mentioned. Others such as Anderson Varejao, Chris Paul and Chris Andersen could have made the list, but these guys knocked them out by just a few more in-your-face moments.
Were there any players not mentioned? Let me know who you would have liked to see on the list and why.
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