The word “chemistry” is thrown around a lot in sports these days. Good teams have chemistry, bad teams usually lack it. In the NFL, Terrell Owens appears on the verge of signing with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he’d join forces with Chad Ochocinco. In the NBA, Minnesota GM David Kahn is hoarding malcontents like Michael Beasley and Delonte West.
With all this talk about chemistry I decided to make the most combustible roster in the NBA; basically a team composed of troublemakers, big egos, and all things detrimental to team unity. How long would they last before blowing up? Meet the anti-Oklahoma City Thunder:
PG – Gilbert Arenas
Arenas has become synonymous with trouble lately. His gun incident is the tipping point for his bad behavior, but that certainly isn’t the only thing landing Arenas on this team. His avid blogging and willingness to share his opinion has been seen as detrimental to others, especially his coach. Not to mention Arenas’ habit of overdribbling, and taking his teammates out of the game with his gunner mentality.
SG – Allen Iverson
Controversy has surrounded Iverson since his days as a high school star in Virginia, and continues to do so. He still acts like it’s 2001 and he’s a star player in the League, instead of realizing he’s lost a step and some ability. His acquisition was a disaster in Memphis and Detroit, and he wore out his welcome in Denver before that. An awesome player, but a locker room disaster these days.
SF – Ron Artest
Artest did a great job of fitting in with the Lakers this season. He somehow channeled all of his antics into a positive for his team. Even though he has become a great team player in his last two stops in Houston and LA, his personality is still ridiculous. He dyes his hair, supposedly boarded a team bus in just boxers, has a penchant for crazy quotes, and his general unpredictability (“Say Queensbridge”) make him a must for this team.
PF – Zach Randolph
Randolph seems to have found a home with the Grizzlies, but to say he is not a locker room cancer would be naïve. Brandon Roy basically told Portland he didn’t want Randolph around anymore and he was promptly traded to the Knicks for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. He was recently linked to a huge drug ring in Indianapolis, and has a habit of taking terrible shots.
C – Shaquille O’Neal
I happen to think Shaq is a very funny guy, but as a teammate I wouldn’t want him in the locker room these days. He has left every team he has been on in his career on bad terms, and his oversized personality seems to dominate whatever team he plays for, which for his declining production these days isn’t necessarily a good thing. There’s a reason he’s still looking for a team to sign him in free agency.
Delonte West – He’s like a ticking time bomb. West was suspended early last season for an arrest stemming from his carrying of a shotgun while riding a motorcycle, and is the definition of a head case.
Michael Beasley – Like West, Beasley is another David Kahn reclamation project. He has all the tools in the world to be a very good NBA player, but has yet to put it all together on the court. Pat Riley couldn’t wait to get rid of him in Miami.
Shawne Williams – Williams is an arrest waiting to happen. It seems he is on the police blotter every other week at this point, and for a team like Indiana, which in recent years has tried so hard to regain the trust of their community, Williams was not a good representative for the team. He got waived by my beloved Nets last season after being acquired from Dallas, and if a 12-win team doesn’t even want you, you’ve hit rock bottom.
J.R. Smith – Smith never saw the court in New Orleans because Byron Scott wouldn’t put up with his poor decision making. His talent has allowed him to prosper in Denver but he still makes head-scratching decisions, and off the court has a penchant for arrests and suspended driver’s licenses.
Rasheed Wallace – Even though Wallace seems likely to retire, while he is still officially an NBA player he has to be on this list. Wallace is a player who seems disinterested a lot of times, and was one of Ron Artests’ sparring partners in the infamous Auburn Hills brawl. Wallace was also a part of the “Jail Blazers,” and racks up technical fouls at a rate never before seen.