Ranking the Top 5 Most High-Risk, High-Reward NBA Players

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5. Metta World Peace (Formerly Ron Artest), Los Angeles Lakers

Apr 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) is defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No risk article is ever complete without this guy in it.  The most famous instigator from the Malice at the Palace incident a while back, has traditionally been one of the league’s stoutest defenders, earning his Defensive Player of the Year honors back in 2004. He plays hard and physical on anyone he guards, leading to some of the best stopping you’ll see on his teams, particularly this year’s Lakers squad.

Artest is also a capable scorer who will occasionally nail a three (averaging 34.2 percent for his career).  He also shoots 41.7 percent from the field, and 14.1 points per game. All respectable numbers, but the game changer with him has always been his defense, which remains very good.

But then there’s the risk factors. Anyone who follows him on Twitter knows that he’s probably totally insane, and he’s liable to drag down the PR profile on any team he plays for. More than that, though, is his penchant for overly aggressive play and occasional fits of anger, leading to that infamous fight which earned him a jaw-dropping 86-game suspension, the longest in the history of the league.  Not to mention the James Harden elbow incident last year, which earned him a seven-game suspension.

At the end of the day, he’s a good player who’s liable to get himself kicked off a court at any time.