In an anonymous survey of 24 NBA coaches and players conducted by the Los Angeles Times, Cleveland Cavilers guard Matthew Dellavedova was named the NBA’s dirtiest player. Dellavedova topped the list with 13 votes, nearly twice as many as runner-up Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Some of the participants cited Dellavedova injuring the ankle of Atlanta Hawks‘ Kyle Korver. “He’s as dirty as they come,” a Western Conference coach told the Times. “When you’re hurting people, that is not OK”
“He was kind of dirty in the playoffs, for sure,” an East coach said. “He broke Kyle Korver’s leg. He held Taj Gibson with his legs and Al Horford’s legs and got them kicked out the games because they retaliated against him.”
Dellavedova has support, however. “See, guys resent people that play hard because they don’t want to play hard. So if a guy plays hard, he’s dirty. He’s not dirty. He just plays hard.” an East assistant coach said.
One coach compared the play today to the play back in the 80s and 90s, saying, “Back in the ’80s and ’90s, you could cheap-shot guys. But now it’s a fine, it’s a suspension, it’s a points system. There’s no enforcer like there used to be. Who’s an enforcer like Charles Oakley? … How much can a little guard get under your skin? And Dellavedova is a backup. He ain’t dirty. None of these guys are dirty.”
Golden State center Andrew Bogut (5), Memphis forward Matt Barnes (4) and Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka (2) were in the top five.
Personally, I don’t think anything is “dirty” about his game. I’m not saying that I don’t see where these people are coming from, it’s that I believe he’s more hard-nosed than he is dirty. I believe the injuries are a result of him getting caught up in the moment or something like that, not him intentionally doing it. The NBA, in my opinion, does resent hard-nosed players, as that East assistant said. Why? Hard-Nosed players are aggressive and will pressure players. Not injure them, but put pressure on them and get them off their game. The NBA doesn’t want to see Steph Curry, LeBron James, or anyone like that off their game.