Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova was voted the dirtiest players in the NBA by fellow players and coaches in a recent Los Angeles Times poll.
In the poll conducted among 24 NBA players, head coaches and assistants, Dellavedova earned 13 votes. The top five rounded out with Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (7), Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (5) Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes (4) and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (2).
Each participant in the poll was allowed to vote more than once.
Dellavedova gained his reputation as a dirty player in the playoffs last season after injuring Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver diving for a loose ball and drawing flagrant 2 fouls from Hawks center Al Horford and Chicago Bulls center Taj Gibson, getting both ejected.
“He's as dirty as they come,” a Western Conference coach said of Dellavedova. “When you’re hurting people, that is not OK.”
However, not everyone had the same feelings about Dellavedova.
“He ain’t dirty. He just plays hard,” said an old-school Eastern Conference assistant coach. “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. People question the play he made in the playoffs against Korver. I just think it was poor judgment.”
In general, the older coaches shrugged off the idea that there are particularly dirty players in the NBA today.
“I don’t think there are any dirty players anymore,” a Western Conference coach said. “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? There}s no enforcer because of the rules. 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.”