LeBron spinning the ball in his hands in the face of Serge Ibaka and nonchalantly drilling a shot in his face was a lot of things, and cocky was definitely one of them. Steph Curry kicking his legs up and high stepping after hitting a three was one of the most cocky celebrations you will see.
Arrogant plays like this have been some of the most iconic of the playoffs. Cockiness may not be a bad thing at times in the NBA, as it is great for the drama that the NBA feeds off. Players are polarized as fans love cocky players when they are on their team, but hate them when they are on opposing teams. Two teams that are flush in arrogant players are playing currently in the finals.This got me to thinking who are the most arrogant ones in the Finals. Here are my rankings of the cockiest players in the NBA Finals.
10. Richard Jefferson – You have to love RJ, but no matter how much you do, you will never love RJ as much as RJ loves RJ. This is a player who still thinks he has the abilities he had when he and Vince Carter were dunking on everyone in New Jersey. Remember Christmas Day when Jefferson somewhat dunked on Kevin Durant? RJ looked at him like he was some scrub and Jefferson was LeBron.
9. J.R. Smith – J.R. was originally at No. 2 on this list, but then came the idea of how he performs in big moments. You can’t be that cocky if you shrink in the Finals and do not even want the ball. But his sheer arrogance in the regular season is plenty for him to land on this list. Smith prefers fade away contested threes from the corner to open ones. He is plenty confident enough to talk to girls over Twitter too. Speaking of Twitter, J.R. tweeted after Game 3 of the Finals simply, “Cavs in 7.” He said it was a hacker, but we all know the truth.
8. Klay Thompson – Shooters shoot. And on a team where he does not need to score, he will shoot even when he is ice cold. We are talking about a guy that has the cajones to tell LeBron the NBA is a, “man’s league.” The man believes in himself on both ends of the floor.
7. Deron Williams – The second player on our list that still thinks they are cooking on the New Jersey Nets. Deron may still believe the argument for best point guard in the NBA is going on between he and Chris Paul. He also knows no mid-range shot he can’t knock down. D-Will may not even be the best D-Will on his own team though.
6. Kevin Durant – This was one of the players that was tough to evaluate. He willingly guards LeBron and unleashes a scream everytime he does anything, no matter how easy. On the other hand though, we are talking about a player that had to join one of the best teams ever to try to win a ring. Durant seems to know his own limits as a player and understand the power structure of the league, but is still being cocky. Sounds like we have a unicorn on our hands.
5. Draymond Green – If you watch Draymond play for five minutes, you will wonder why he is not No. 1 on this list. Green smack talks better than anyone and is not afraid of anyone. What he does do that is not all that cocky though, is know his limits. The Michigan State product will give the ball up if he is not hot and will take a backseat when necessary.
4. Kyrie Irving – The most overrated player on the list (sorry, had to sneak one hot take in the article). Irving has never seen a shot he does not like, but has never seen anything having to do with defense he does like. This guy is cocky enough to supposedly to be the wingman to the GOAT. and is the worst defender of all time, and does not seem too worried about it. Offensively, he will take the most wacky shots I have seen, but still make a good amount of them. He is another player who seems to like tougher shots than easier ones. Irving also doesn’t think the first 40 minutes of a game are important and thinks he can do enough damage in the final eight minutes to make up for 40 of mediocrity.
3. Steph Curry – Steph can get hot like few other can, and when he does, he lets you know. Curry does a ton of shenanigans after he hits a shot like high stepping across the court. He is showman and is not afraid to act cocky in front the proverbial bear in the poke the bear scenario, LeBron. Steph has that knack for making plays as flashy as possible too. He even popularized one of the most arrogant plays in the sport; running back on defense right after a shot is released assuming it is going on.
2. Matt Barnes/ Dahntay Jones – These guys fill very similar roles. They both ride the pine on good basketball teams. Albeit bad basketball players, their cockiness is decently warranted as the teams they are on have a ton of success. They also both treat garbage time like it is crunch time.
1. LeBron James – LeBron is simply the best and he knows it. James has gotten to the point where he just can say what he wants and do what he wants because of what he has accomplished. He is just so cocky that he won’t think twice about wearing whatever to a press conference, saying what is on his mind or telling the media his motivation. Everything he does is so calculated to garner the maximum amount of attention while motivating his team. Not only does he view himself as the best player on the planet, but he thinks he can out-think everyone too. He is not wrong.