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Top 10 Toughest Players In The NBA

Top 10 Toughest Players In The NBA James Johnson

Toughness is something not much stats can show you, but that can definitely be felt and have a tremendous impact on both ends of the hardwood when you’re playing basketball, especially considering how soft the league has become over the past few years.

Every team needs a guy that puts a lot of effort and hustle on a nightly basis, that won’t hesitate to take a hard hit or even provide one in order to help his team win at all costs, and that just won’t back down from anybody.

The grit and grind these players put on the court is a huge plus for all of their teams, as they actually intimidate their opposition into submission when they’re locked in. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 toughest players in the NBA.

10. Rajon Rondo


When Rajon Rondo is locked down on defense, he’s one of the toughest players in the entire world, and a guy just a handful of opposing guards can get by with ease, even now as he heads towards the end of his career.

Rondo’s toughness has earned him a lot of enemies over his NBA career, even his own teammates. He’s a hardnosed competitor that won’t always say the right thing at the right time, but he definitely knows how to push everybody’s buttons.

9. Taj Gibson

Taj Gibson wolves

Taj Gibson doesn’t get nearly half as much recognition as he deserves, being one of the best defensive minded power forwards in the league due to his ability to guard all the way to the perimeter or protect the rim as a terrific low post defender.

Gibson brings a lot of hustle in the defensive end of the floor, is quite tough at boxing out and is a dominant rebounder as well. His stats may not show it, but he’s a major factor whenever he’s on the court.

8. Russell Westbrook


Russell Westbrook is always on attack mode, and it just feels like he’s keen and determined to prove that he’s one of the greatest basketball players in the world, something that may backfire at times when it matters the most.

Still, Westbrook is always on a mission to prove that he can outplay every single player in the world, and due to his strength, athleticism, speed and tough mindset, he’s able to do things no other point guard is capable of doing when he’s locked in.

7. Jimmy Butler


Jimmy Butler is such an underrated player and a fierce competitor, a guy that’s always ready to prove that he’s part of basketball elite and that finds a lot of inspiration when having to guard top-notch guards and forwards.

Butler isn’t the best shooter you’ll find on the court, but he makes up for that with his stubbornness and toughness to try and draw a lot of contacts and finish anyways, as well as being an outstanding wing stopper.

6. David West

David West

David West has made a living out of his harsh trash talking and grind in both ends of the glass, as well as being one of the most consistent and reliable midrange shooters in the league ever since he entered the Association.

West always tries to get into your face and won’t hesitate to foul you hard just to make you know that he’s onto you and you better be careful. Also, he’s always been great during clutch time by out-hustling his opposition.

5. Zach Randolph 


Zach Randolph can continue to play for 3 or 4 more years despite already being a veteran, mostly because he has never needed speed or high hops to thrive in the low post as a very tough big man down low.

Randolph just bullies his way to the rim with his strength and despite not even jumping to get rebounds, he’s terrific at boxing out and very light on his feet. Also, you know he’s gonna give it to you and there’s nothing you can do about it, as he won’t hesitate to get physical regardless of who you are.

4. Marcin Gortat


Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat isn’t known as “The Polish Hammer” out of pure grace, as he’s the kind of guy that would make you think twice before trying to get into his face, and even though his defense has really slowed down over the past couple of years, he’s still a huge presence down low.

On a side note, Gortat used to be a boxer back in Europe and combining that with the Mohawk and you got yourself a villain from a Rocky sequel. He still needs to put a lot more work on 50/50 balls, though.

3. Serge Ibaka

AP Photo/Nick Wass

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Serge Ibaka has always been a top-notch rim protector due to his great wingspan, defensive awareness and toughness down low, being one of the league’s best shot blockers ever since coming to the US from overseas.

Ibaka’s block totals have diminished a bit as he ages, but he’s still a tough big man that will get physical in the blink of an eye and is willing to throw punches on a nightly basis against the best low post scorers in the world.

2. Steven Adams

Steven Adams is a guy that seems out of the Game of Thrones set, a giant from New Zealand that’s willing to put his body on the line in order to draw charges and that looks more like a Rugby player than an actual baller.

Adams is tough both mentally and physically, he tries to get into your head with his trash talking and is such a big and strong man that he’s definitely going to make you think twice before attacking the lane.

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1. James Johnson

James Johnson has to be by far the toughest and scariest player in the whole NBA, and he’s not scared of letting even the biggest men in the world know that he’s always ready to fight both figuratively and literally.

Also, Johnson owns a perfect 7-0 record as an MMA fighter, and went undefeated in 20 kickboxing matches, as well as being a second-degree black belt; so you better think twice before trying to go at him.