Just under 20 games into the 2021-22 NBA season and the league has already witnessed a few intense altercations that have gotten way out of hand. From the hostile encounter between Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris to LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart's mini-scuffle, the young NBA season has already gotten off to a rocking start. There hasn't been an all-out NBA brawl just yet, but with some of the league's best talent showing their ugly side as of late, it's safe to say that things have gotten pretty chippy over the past few weeks.

If one thing's true, it's that this league has a competitive nature and tempers can rise very quickly. Now that there's already been a few occurrences of egos being tested and physical altercations going from 0 to 60, there's no doubt that this trend will continue as the season progresses. So without further interruption, we'll take a look at the five scariest NBA players you wouldn't want to brawl against, ranked.

Five scariest NBA players in a brawl

5. Montrezl Harrell 

Montrezl Harrell Karl-Anthony Towns Lakers Timberwolves

As one of the league's most dominant big men, Montrezl Harrell has built a reputation for himself as an enforcer and physical presence down low. With his wingspan and innate rebounding ability, Harrell is an absolute force of nature in the paint, and his loud and electrifying presence can intimidate opponents on a nightly basis.

With all these working in Harrell's favor, it would be a massive understatement to say that he's definitely not somebody whose buttons you want to push. For if you do all kinds of trouble will ensue and you may find yourself in a scuffle quicker than expected. This, in turn, would be a grave and costly mistake that could lead to a painful result in the end. If you're going to bark at somebody, then make sure Harrell isn't the individual it's being directed at.

4. P.J. Tucker 

P.J. Tucker has really shined over the past couple of seasons as one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA and there's no doubt that he's brought grit, intensity, and toughness to every team he's played for. Whether he's getting in Kevin Durant's face or warding off the always pesky Dennis Schroder, Tucker never backs down from anyone. He's not the NBA player you'd want to challenge to a brawl.

He'll step up and fight for his teammates if any kind of verbal or physical altercation breaks out. If your team is in a close game and tensions have reached the boiling point, then Tucker is definitely the tenacious and physical presence you'd want in your corner and his never-back-down mentality is exactly why he's never been taken lightly on the basketball court.

3. Steven Adams 

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Steven Adams Grizzlies Zach Randolph Thunder NBA brawl
Steven Adams Grizzlies Zach Randolph Thunder NBA brawl

He's a fierce and dominant big man that can bring elite rim protection and rebounding to any team that's lacking size and tenacity in the low post. Given some of the previous run-ins he's had with a few of the NBA's most menacing players, it goes without saying that Steven Adams is not somebody you want on your bad side.

The fundamentally sound and tough-minded center from New Zealand is a lot of things, but a pushover has never been one of them. If he ever does find himself in an NBA courtside brawl, there's no doubt that he'd hold his own and dish out some serious damage. To all those players who think taking cheap shots at him will go unnoticed and unpunished, sorry to say you're sorely mistaken by that notion.

2. James Johnson 

A black belt in karate with an undefeated record as an MMA fighter, James Johnson is about as lethal as any NBA player in a bare-knuckle brawl. If there's one guy you don't want to receive a punch from, then without question it's Johnson and he's definitely had his fair share of disagreements on the court throughout his tenuous career.

On the flip side, he's exactly the kind of player you want on your side when things get ugly during a physical game. His aggressive play, paired with an imposing presence on the court, is what has made Johnson such a fearsome player throughout the years. Anybody with any sense or knowledge of what they'd be getting into should steer clear of trying to duke it out with Johnson.

1. Udonis Haslem 

Udonis Haslem, Heat, Dwight Howard, Sixers

Udonis Haslem may not be a prizefighter with an extensive background in combat sports like Johnson, but he's one of the toughest players to ever set foot on a basketball court and will step to anyone who brings disrespect his way. As seen last season when he got ejected from the game just moments after checking in when he got right up in Dwight Howard's face and was ready to take his head off without hesitation.

A big part of the Heat's aggressive lockdown defense is due in part to Haslem laying the foundation for them on that end of the floor. With his innate rebounding ability and defensive IQ, he's undoubtedly built a reputation for being an enforcer on the Heat all these years and won't let up in the slightest. Given all he's accomplished and endured during his time in Miami, Haslem is most assuredly the last person you want to be exchanging blows with.