Last Sunday, in the first edition of our Ask Complex series, two of our Sports editors sat down to answer professional football's all-important question: what is the most meaningless stat in the NFL?
Throughout the week, you read and responded, and after receiving a number of questions on Twitter and via email, we've narrowed down another topic to cover for our latest feature.
Q: If the NBA was suddenly turned into a fight club, whose starting five would you want? —Cal, Boston
Great question! Ever since the Malice at the Palace ushered in a new era of Euro flops and ill-fitting suits for the NBA, fans and media alike have loved to get up on their high horse and wag their finger at anyone vocally cheering on a fight between players. We're further away than ever from the days of Bill Laimbeer, and while that shift isn't necessarily a bad thing for the game, it also saps the NBA of the attitude and grit that defined its golden age. Let's use our imagination here and visualize a league where chaos and calamity rule the hardwood, where a player wouldn't be ex-communicated from the United States as soon as they threw a punch. Who would you pick to fight their way out of the pile? Representing the Memphis Grizzlies is Gus Turner, the News Editor for Complex Sports. Maurice Peebles is returning to take the side of the Los Angeles Clippers.
So, hypothetically, were Adam Silver to reveal himself as a 21st century Tyler Durden bent on transforming NBA arenas into high gloss venues for the savage instincts of our society's repressed everymen, I think the Memphis Grizzlies would stand the best chance of surviving the ensuing basketbapocalypse. I don't need much more reason to believe this than Tony Allen. In a post-Metta World Peace NBA, he's the guy who you can most easily imagine standing bare-chested in the middle of a large circle of bloodthirsty onlookers, toe-to-toe with a man who has a swastika tattooed on his solar plexus. He's loveably unhinged and is referred to as the "Grindfather" by his teammates, which is exactly the type of thing you want to hear about a person who you're backing for a five-on-five battle royale. Don't give me the kung fu black belt or the Brazilian dance fighter; give me someone like Allen, a man who isn't afraid to punch his own teammate!
Oh, and by the way, I hate to break it to you, Maurice, but the Chris Paul-Tony Allen matchup has already been decided. Allen's got the juice here.
Of course, let's not forget that there are four other members of the Memphis Grizzlies starting line-up. Admittedly, even I'm lukewarm on the abilities of the Grizzlies backcourt, but believe that Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph would be able to account for whatever damage suffered as a result of Mike Conley Jr.'s faux macho posturing. Gasol and Randolph are two heavyweight contenders whose physical statures alone should inspire you to run the other way at the mere mention of a fight. Don't forget: Z-Bo once clocked Ruben Patterson so hard that it effectively sidelined Patterson for the entire postseason. Does anyone honestly believe that Blake Griffin is going to stand up to one of the original Jail Blazers?
If Lionel Hollins were still coaching the Grizzlies, this argument would be a wrap. Unfortunately, David Joerger doesn't seem like the type of guy who would sock Tree Rollins in the back of the neck. —Gus Turner (@gusturner1)
The correct answer is the Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis sounds great at first, but when you really break down the starters it's the Clippers every time. Let's look at the starting five:
PG - Chris Paul
CP is your classic over-aggressive Napoleon complex case. He may not be the biggest, but his little ass is fiery (II). You know that saying "It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog"? There's a lot of fight inside Christopher Emmanuel Paul. You don't become the greatest point guard in the world at 5 feet whatever inches tall without being able to hold your own with the big boys. His history shows that he's not afraid to square up with people his own size or even anyone bigger. Cliff P isn't just insurance commercial smiles and argyle sweaters. He's assisting in whooping some ass.
SG - J.J. Redick
Once punched Chris Paul in 2004 when they met during a Jordan camp. Don't sleep on J.J. He's scrappy, he hustles, he's got a fantastic I.Q., and all the other stereotypical characteristics of a Caucasian NBA player.
SF - Matt Barnes
OG TRIPLE OG! Matt Barnes is the prototypical Fight Club NBA player: He gets under people's skin, isn't scared to square up, and he's kinda expendable so it's not that big of a deal if he gets ejected or disqualified during some point in the fight. Barnes has already been living the NBA thug life for what seems like forever, from hacking Kevin Love to shoving Serge Ibaka to clubbing assistant coaches battling Skip 2 My Lou to even attempting (unsuccessfully) to punk out Kobe Bryant. Matt Barnes is war ready.
PF - Blake Griffin
People think Blake Griffin is soft due to him being a smiley freckle-faced kid who does funny commercials and because Z-Bo called him out last offseason, but y'all fail to remember something very important: That was the old Blake. New Blake don't take no shit. New Blake calls out anybody who wants to throw hands. New Blake attacks Trevor Booker after hard fouls. New Blake is out catching assault charges for slapping motherfuckers in Tao nightclub. People don't want it with New Blake.
C - DeAndre Jordan
What really is there to say? DeAndre Jordan once killed a man on camera.
Top to bottom this is the best Fight Club starting five in the league. Between Z-Bo and Tony Allen, Memphis would be good, but Chris Paul could eat that backcourt by himself. Right after Cliff sold them a life insurance policy.