NBA Power Rankings: Ron Artest and the Most Physical Player from Every Team
Throughout the history of the NBA, good, physical basketball has always been a wonderful thing to watch.
However, in today's anti-hand-check, guard-oriented league, it is becoming less and less prevalent.
Nevertheless, there are still a number of individuals who have continued to carry the torch for physical play.
Now some of these players, like Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers, have gained substantial levels of recognition for their on-court success, while many others have not.
However, one thing is certain—none of them are not afraid to incorporate strength, hard work and a basic roughness into their games.
Consequently, the following 30 slides will give recognition to some of these individuals, naming them as the most physical player from each NBA team.
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford
Because he relies more upon strength than athleticism, Al Horford just barely edges out teammate Josh Smith as the most physical player on the Atlanta Hawks.
Horford has been a beast inside for the Hawks, scoring the majority of his points on contested shots in the post or as the roll-man in the pick and roll—all while managing to convert on 56.9 percent of his attempts.
Furthermore, as one of the NBA's strongest players, he has been able to lead his team in both offensive and defensive rebounding.
And as a 24-year-old, two-time All Star, expect Horford to continue to be physical thereby allowing him to build upon his already impressive resume.
Boston Celtics: Shaquille O'Neal
Standing 7'1" and generously listed at 325 pounds, Shaquille O'Neal has made a living for nearly two decades by being an extremely physical player.
And while he is now 38 years old and facing limited playing time, Shaq has still managed to used brute force to overwhelm his opponents, albeit on a smaller scale.
So far, he is shooting 66.2 percent from the field, with the overwhelming majority of his buckets coming from inside.
But perhaps more impressively, he ranks 17th and 33rd in the league in points per possession on offense and defense, according to Synergy Sports.
Therefore, Shaq is undoubtedly still one of the NBA's premier interior forces.
Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Wallace
The Charlotte Bobcats' Gerald Wallace is definitely one of the more physical players in the league.
After all, you don't get a nickname like Crash for no reason.
And by throwing his body around and playing the game with a reckless abandon, he has earned a reputation as a top-tier rebounder, while, once again, leading his team in that category,
Moreover, he has done this as a combo forward, despite only standing 6'7" and weighing 220 pounds.
Furthermore, when this is coupled with his high level of effort and readiness to accept contact, Wallace has managed to make a name for himself as solid defender—which earned him a spot on the 2010 NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah
Finally returning to the Chicago Bulls from injury, Joakim Noah will look to bring a much-needed source of physicality to his team.
As a shot-blocker and strong finisher, Noah has managed to adequately balance his size and strength to become a solid interior player.
Moreover, he has become one of the NBA's biggest forces on the boards, never failing to grab a ton of rebounds on both ends of the court.
Consequently, when he is teamed up with Carlos Boozer, and backed up by guys like Taj Gibson and Kurt Thomas, the Bulls will certainly boast one of the most physical and imposing frontcourts in the NBA.
Cleveland Cavaliers: J.J. Hickson
One of the few bright spots for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season has been the play of J.J. Hickson.
And while no longer playing alongside LeBron James has hurt his shooting percentage, the rest of the 6'9", 242-pound forward's numbers have drastically increased.
Moreover, he has been the Cavs' largest contributor inside, using his physicality to lead all of the team's active players in rebounding, while often being forced to play as an undersized center.
Dallas Mavericks: Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion has always been able to play larger than his 6'7", 228-pound frame should have allowed, due in large part to his physical nature.
So far, he is second on his Dallas Mavericks in rebounding (only to the much-taller Tyson Chandler), while he also serves as one of the team's better defenders.
Additionally, he has also proven to be an apt scorer, showing the strength to finish in the post and when attacking the rim.
And what's more, Marion has been able to achieve all of this despite frequently lining up as an undersized power forward.
Denver Nuggets: Kenyon Martin
Detroit Pistons: Ben Wallace
If not for his physical style of play, Ben Wallace would likely have never even made it into the NBA.
However, the Detroit Pistons undersized center used his length, strength, athleticism and drive to physically dominate opponents on defense and on the glass.
As a result, he has earned four Defensive Player of the Year trophies, four All-Star berths and a spot on six consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Teams.
And even though he is now 36 years old, the 6'9", 240-pound Wallace continues to produce, currently leading his squad in shot-blocking and rebounding.
Golden State Warriors: Andris Biedrins
Andris Biedrins is another example of a player who found his niche by doing all of the dirty work.
Now in his seventh year with the Golden State Warriors, Biedrins has continued to excel on defense and at rebounding, all while shooting about 55 percent from the field.
Furthermore, he would likely be grabbing even more boards had the team not acquired David Lee, another talented rebounder, during the offseason.
However, at only 24 years of age, Biedrins still has plenty of time to get better, stronger and even more physical.
Houston Rockets: Chuck Hayes
Chuck Hayes has received a fair amount of recognition this season for becoming the Houston Rockets' starting center, despite standing a mere 6'6" and weighing 238 pounds—making him one of the shortest full-time centers in NBA history.
And for whatever he may lack is size, Hayes more than makes up for with strength, effort, positioning and sheer physical play.
Consequently, he has emerged as a outstanding rebounder, grabbing more than his fair share of both offensive and defensive boards.
Hayes has even managed use his physicality to excel on D, even blocking a decent amount of shots against his taller opponents.
However, he has been no slouch on offense, as he's currently converting shots at a 56.3 percent clip, mostly on put backs and cuts to the basket.
Indiana Pacers: Tyler Hansbrough
Coming into the league, many people doubted that Tyler Hansbrough would have the athleticism to succeed as an NBA player.
And while it's true that Tyler Hansbrough does not possess elite-level athleticism or overwhelming size, he has used his impressive strength, effort and solid fundamentals to fight his way into the Indiana Pacers' rotation.
Conequently, he has been proven to have the ability to out-muscle and out-maneuver the opposition on the boards and when putting up shots inside, establishing himself as a purely physical player.
Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin
There's not much to say here, as everyone knows by know that Blake Griffin has emerged as a man among boys during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bringing a unique combination of size, veteran-level strength and jaw-dropping explosiveness, Griffin has been able to overwhelm opponents inside, grabbing rebounds at will and viciously throwing down on anyone who has gotten in his way.
And following a dunk contest victory and an All-Star selection—and likely the Rookie of the Year award by the end of the season—the sky is the limit for the young star, as he will continue to physically dominate the opposition for years to come.
Los Angeles Lakers: Ron Artest
Upon entering the league, Ron Artest used his strength, quickness, agressiveness and drive to earn a place for himself among the NBA's top defenders.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Artest is a former Defensive Player of the Year, with multiple nominations to NBA All-Defensive Teams.
And as a 31 year old, the 6'7", 260-pound small forward is still able to use his physicality to shut down opposing offensive players.
Therefore, despite his recent offensive struggles, he will continue to play an instrumental role for his Los Angeles Lakers as they look to complete another three-peat.
Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph
Throughout the 2010-11 NBA season, Zach Randolph has continued to perform as a double-double machine, due in large part to his physical play.
Listed at 6'9", 260 pounds, he is currently leading the NBA in offensive rebounding, on his way to a total of 13.1 boards per contest.
However, what's most impressive about this is that Randolph is a below-average athlete for an NBA player, so it's clear that is able to achieve success rebounding because of his strength, positioning and effort.
Moreover, he is also managing to net 20 points per game, with the overwhelming majority coming from inside.
Consequently, the Memphis Grizzlies will need Randolph to continue consistently bringing his physical play if they are to hold onto the eighth playoff spot in the West.
Miami Heat: LeBron James
As reigning two-time MVP, LeBron James has a complete game.
But what might be the most outstanding area of his play is his physicality on offense.
LeBron routinely attacks the basket in traffic, drawing a ton of fouls and often finishing through contact.
Moreover, with a 6'8", 250-pound frame, he is able to use his strength to grab a decent amount of rebounds, while also getting it done on the defensive end.
And with an average of 26.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game, all while playing on one of the best teams in the NBA, James will certainly be in the discussion for MVP once again.
Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut
After suffering a gruesome injury last season, in which he dislocated his elbow, broke his hand and sprained his wrist, Andrew Bogut has been back and as physical as ever for the Milwaukee Bucks.
He is currently leading the NBA in blocked shots, at a career-high 2.9 per game, while he has also managed to notch another career high in rebounds, pulling down 11.4 per contest.
Moreover, the 7'0", 260-pounds Australian has achieved all of this despite possessing limited athleticism and likely needing another surgery on his elbow.
Consequently, it appears as though Bogut has an incredible level of toughness, as he refused to let injuries and athletic limitations prevent him from going out and getting physical night in and night out.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love
Kevin Love has been the heart and soul of the Minnesota Timberwolves throughout the 2010-11 NBA season.
Moreover, his rebounding has been phenomenal, as he is currently grabbing more per game (15.5) than anyone has averaged since the 1996-97 season.
Additionally, Love even managed to produce a 30-point, 30-rebound game, the first since Moses Malone notched one in 1982.
And seeing as though all of these accomplishment came from a below-average athlete, there is no doubt that Kevin Love has an outstanding grasp of how to get the most out of his strength, positioning and physical play.
New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphries
In his seventh NBA season, Kris Humphries is having somewhat of a breakout year.
In a career-high minutes-per-game average, the 26 year old is leading the New Jersey Nets in rebounding (9.3), while also putting up 8.8 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting (also career highs).
Consequently, it seems as though Humphries has finally been able to combine his elite-level strength with effort and positioning, ultimately resulting in efficient, physical play.
New Orleans Hornets: Emeka Okafor
The physical play of Emeka Okafor has been instrumental to the success of the New Orleans Hornets so far this season.
Currently, he ranks among the league leaders in both rebounding (10.1) and field goal percentage (59.4), while also managing to net 11.1 points per game.
Moreover, the strong, 6'10', 255-pounder has excelled on D, blocking nearly two shots per contest.
And all of that is quite a testament to his physicality, as there are few finesse areas to his game.
New York Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire
Ever since joining the New York Knicks, Amar'e Stoudmire has produced with an efficient, physical offense.
Often attacking the rim in traffic, Amar'e has still been able to accumulate a career-high average of 26.1 points per game.
Moreover, he has also earned a career high in blocked shots (2.2), by toughening up his defensive play.
And adding in 8.5 rebounds, it's clear that the 6'10", 240-pound forward-center's physicality has been a significant factor in his outstanding performance this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook
This season Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook earned his first All-Star appearance, due in large part to his physical play.
On offense, Westbrook has had trouble with his outside shooting, but nevertheless, he has still managed to put up 22.1 points per game, often from driving to the rim either finishing contested shots inside or ending up on the foul line.
And on defense, he has used his strength and athleticism to grab a ton of steals (1.8) and effectively slow down his opponents.
Consequently, there is no doubt that Westbrook is among the most physical point guards in the NBA.
Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard may just be the most physical player in the NBA.
Using his size (6'11", 265 pounds), strength and athleticism to physically dominate his opponents, the Orlando Magic center has won the last two Defensive Player of the Year awards, while consistently ranking among the league's best in rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage.
And this year is no different, as Howard is currently posting a stat line of 23.0 points (59.1 percent shooting), 13.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
Moreover, he does this while taking a beating, illustrated by the fact that he, by far, leads the league in free throw attempts.
And so long as he can stay healthy, Dwight Howard will continue to be one of the most imposing interior presences in the NBA.
Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand
After a string of serious injuries, it appeared as though Elton Brand would never return to his pre-injury form.
However, in 2010-11, Brand has been witness to somewhat of a resurgence in his level of play.
And although it certainly appears that he has lost a step or two, his physical play is as solid as ever.
He is finishing his shots inside at a high rate, grabbing boards on O and D, and playing tough interior defense.
Consequently, Brand is now leading the surging Philadelphia 76ers in scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking, as they fight to earn themselves a spot in the playoffs.
Phoenix Suns: Marcin Gortat
The Phoenix Suns are not a team which is generally considered to be very physical.
However, ever since being brought over in a mid-season trade with the Orlando Magic, center Marcin Gortat has been a reliable source of tough interior play.
In only 28 minutes per game, he is leading the team in rebounding (8.8) and field goal percentage (56), and is just shy of the lead for blocked shots.
And by finally providing the team with a strong inside presence, the 6'11", 240-pound center has been crucial to the recent string of strong play by the Suns, as they make a late-season push for a playoff berth.
Portland Trail Blazers: Marcus Camby
Although he has missed a significant portion of the season with a knee injury, Marcus Camby has always been a solid source of defense and rebounding when healthy.
On the season, the 36-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year is leading his Portland Trail Blazers with 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
And when the 6'11", 235-pounder is able to return (which should be soon), his physicality will certainly take some of the pressure off of LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been shouldering much of the load inside as of late.
Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins
After being drafted by the Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins has done much to prove that he is one of the NBA's better rookies.
And the 6'11", 270 pounder has done this, in large part, as a result of his physical play inside.
In only 27 minutes per contest, Cousins is leading the Kings in rebounding with an average of 8.2, while he has also been able to stand out as a solid scorer and defender in the post.
So as both the 20 year old's game and body continue to develop, expect Cousins to develop into a legitimate, physical interior force.
San Antonio Spurs: DeJuan Blair
Generously listed at 6'8", DeJuan Blair emerged as the top center for the league-leading San Antonio Spurs in 2010-11, and has started every game thus far.
However, the 270-pounder's extremely physical and bruising style of play is the only thing which has allowed his to do that, as he lacks impressive athleticism.
Nevertheless, he has still managed to use his strength and fundamentals to score efficiently from inside, defend well and grab boards, even leading his team in offensive rebounding, despite only playing 22 minutes per game.
And seeing as though the 21-year-old second-year player will certainly continue to improve as he gains more experience, ultimately the undersized big to develop into one of the most physical players in the NBA.
Toronto Raptors: Reggie Evans
In 2010-11, Reggie Evans was well on his way to his best-ever season as a pro, before he went down with a broken foot 15 games into the season.
At that point, he was using his strength and tenacity to pull down 12.1 rebounds per game on average, while also playing tough, physical (and possibly even dirty) defense.
However, he is primed for a return in the near future, and when he does come back, he will be bringing back a physicality which the Toronto Raptors have long been missing.
Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson
In his first season with the Utah Jazz, center Al Jefferson has stood out as the most physical player on the team.
Moreover, by utilizing a physical style of play inside, the seventh-year player is in the midst of a solid season—his first one with a winning squad.
His stat line helps to illustrate his success on both sides of the ball in the post, as he is averaging team-highs in points (17.6), rebounds (9.1) and blocks (1.9).
And following the trade of Deron Williams, expect Jefferson to take on even more of the load on offense, giving him a chance to prove himself to an even larger extent as a physically imposing threat in the interior.
Washington Wizards: JaVale McGee
After an impressive performance in the dunk contest, more and more people are becoming aware of the physical gifts possessed by JaVale McGee.
And although he lacks proper strength for an frontcourt player, his combination of size, length and athleticism allows him to largely overcome his shortcomings.
Consequently, McGee has become one of the NBA's best shot-blockers, averaging 2.3 swats per game in only 26 minutes.
Moreover, the 23-year-old center is sporting an improved post game, great instincts in going after rebounds and a fantastic ability to finish above traffic at the rim.
So as the young center develops and adds strength, his physical play will only get better and better.
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