Jason Smith and the Biggest Goons in the NBA Right Now
In the wake of New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith's two-game suspension for putting a body check on Los Angeles Clippers superstar Blake Griffin last Thursday night, we pay tribute to the biggest goons in the NBA today.
That is not to say that these players are going out onto the hardwood every night with the intention of knocking opposing players out of the game, but they either have a track record of goonish behavior or are capable of letting their unsportsmanlike ways dominate the conversation.
Whether it comes in the form of a flagrant foul, a bone-headed reaction or a total loss of self-control, these guys do it better than anyone else out there.
Join Bleacher Report as we take a closer look at the biggest goons in the NBA right now.
Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA veteran journeyman Matt Barnes has set the tone for every team he has played for during his eight-year career, but there have certainly been times when he has gone too far.
In 2010, when he was playing for the Orlando Magic, Barnes goonishly gave Kobe Bryant a ball fake on the baseline while attempting to inbound the ball.
Unfortunately for Barnes, Kobe never even flinched and the botched move will forever be remembered as the play where Kobe Bryant punked Matt Barnes.
Jason Smith, New Orleans Hornets
Jason Smith was hardly a household name before he crossed the line on Thursday night, ramming into Blake Griffin on a breakaway and effectively solidifying himself as one of the league's top goons.
The seven-footer received a flagrant-2 foul and was ejected from the game before being suspended for two additional games by the NBA, who happen to own the New Orleans Hornets franchise, oddly enough.
Smith is only averaging 14.6 minutes and 4.6 points per game for his career, so who can really blame him for acting out against the Clippers?
Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets
Surprisingly just one night after Jason Smith's flagrant foul on Blake Griffin, Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo lost his cool against the Utah Jazz and delivered a brutal elbow to the head of Gordon Hayward.
Afflalo was ejected for the UFC-like tactic and ultimately suspended for one game by the league, who somehow felt it was less ridiculous and inexcusable than the Smith body check.
Although I disagree with the NBA's decision to suspend Afflalo only one game, it doesn't change the fact that his Friday night's actions were outrageous.
Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
Although the NBA baller formerly known as Ron Artest has cooled down a bit over the years, he still boasts a cinema-length highlight reel of goon moments, including this threatening run-in with who else: Kobe Bryant.
Metta World Peace has since joined forces with the Black Mamba, but who can forget Artest's disturbing meltdown at the Palace of Auburn Hills back in 2004, igniting a brawl that still haunts the league to this day.
Until he retires, World Peace will be the symbol of anything but world peace.
DeShawn Stevenson, New Jersey Nets
For as talented as DeShawn Stevenson is at the game of basketball, he can be equally as bone-headed at times on the court.
Earlier this season, Stevenson was called for a flagrant foul on Blake Griffin and has two already in this lockout-shortened season.
Stevenson is only averaging three points per game in nearly 20 minutes of action, so it seems he has to do something significant to remain in the Nets rotation.