The Most Difficult Players in the NBA

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA is filled with a multitude of different personalities. That is what makes the league so popular and why these players have more of a personal connection to its fans than any other sport. Not everyone can be as media-trained as LeBron James or as team-friendly as Tim Duncan. Here are some the hardest NBA players to work with.

Dion Waiters

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Waiters to the Oklahoma Thunder in a package that ironically sent them J.R. Smith. Reports came out that Cavs players were getting tired of him sulking on the court, not playing defense, and carelessness with the ball. When Waiters signed with the Heat, it marked his third team in two years, a telling sign for the former fourth overall pick from just four years ago.

J.R. Smith

Playing with LeBron and the Cavaliers definitely matured Smith, but he may never be able to shake his past. Smith has been suspended due to violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, received a playoff suspension for kicking Jason Terry below the belt, and went on an odd streak of untying player’s shoes. Smith is a fantastic 6th man, but there’s no question his behavior outside the tutelage of LeBron and the Cavaliers is costing him contract offers outside of Cleveland.

DeMarcus Cousins

I have to admit that I am a Boogie Cousins apologist,  but sometimes his actions are simply indefensible. The Sacramento Kings suspended Cousins for yelling at head coach George Karl last season, the third time he’s been suspended for fighting with a teammate or coach. Cousins subtweeted – I mean complained about yoga – the Kings saying “Lord give me the strength” when they drafted an 18-year old project center in the draft. Boogie has all the talent in the world for a big guy, so he might simply need a change in scenery.

Cousins' seemed to tweet his displeasure about the Kings' draft pick. He later claimed it was about his yoga workout.

Cousins’ seemed to tweet his displeasure about the Kings’ draft pick. He later claimed it was about his yoga workout.

Draymond Green

Green is the fiery, trash-talking leader the Warriors need, as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson lead more with their shots than their words. However, Green’s aggressiveness is also his Achilles’ heel, as he has a knack for kicking players where the sun don’t shine. The hypothetical game is always easy with 20/20 hindsight vision, but Green’s NBA Finals game five suspension may have cost the Warriors back-to-back championships. Green’s open attitude of being the ultimate team player will be fully tested this season, as Kevin Durant is somewhat taking his position on the court. Green’s antics on the court are one of the many reasons Warriors tickets is one of the most sought out commodities in all of sports.

The kick heard around the world.

The kick heard around the world.

Rajon Rondo

Like Cousins, there is little to doubt when it comes to Rondo’s skills and ability to play at a high level. However, during the playoffs two seasons ago, Rick Carlisle boldly said he didn’t expect Rondo to ever wear a Maverick uniform ever again. He said this in middle of a playoff series! Rondo also reportedly parked in Carlisle’s parking spot and Carlisle wanted to tow it. Not the ideal relationship between a point guard and coach. The Kings, who are desperate for NBA talent, also elected to not re-sign him this season. It says a lot when even the Kings rather not have you around longer than they have to.

Jeremy Lin

Usually when a player is very well known, and borderline infamous it goes hand and hand with their on-court prowess. While no one would claim Jeremy Lin CANT play ball, you’d also be hard pressed to find anyone who think is much better than an average player. But ever since that one magical season for the Knicks, when Linsanity rained down on the sports world, and really the world beyond sports as well, Jeremy Lin has been a household name. So that amount to a player who brings with him the attention and scrutiny of a mega super star, but not the actual impact to your team. Not exactly the type of guy most would WANT to play with. Sorry Jeremy..


Dwight Howard
Howard may be the most talented center the NBA has seen this decade, but his attitude is the reason why he will be on his fourth team since 2012. The Rockets tried to trade Howard and his expiring contract at last year’s trade deadline, but simply couldn’t find a suitor. Howard’s former coach Kevin McHale thinks it’s because five minutes after a loss, Howard was completely over it. Kobe Bryant has called Dwight Howard soft and questioned his dedication to winning. Below is a video of 6’3” Steph Curry bodying the 6’11” Howard for a rebound, preceded by Howard complaining about a foul. Good luck Atlanta!