From NBA Hall of Famers and All-Stars to some not so familiar role players, some of The Association’s old guard are returning to the hardwood this summer for the Big 3 tournament. The premise is a 3-on-3 halfcourt playground style league including fun rules such as a 4-point shot and changes to rules involving foul shots. The league had its first annual draft over the weekend. There are a lot of fun names in this league for a basketball junkie like me. Yet the league has rules in place to speed the game up and make it more interesting for the casual fan as well. Let us take a look at the teams.
Coach/Captain: Allen Iverson (17 Seasons 26.7 ppg 6.2 apg 42% fg 31% 3 pt)
Co- Coach: Demarr Johnson (7 seasons 6.2 ppg 41% fg 33% 3 pt)
Andre Owens (2 seasons 3.6 ppg 37% fg 37% 3 pt)
Mike Sweetney (4 seasons 6.5 ppg 4.5 rbg 48% fg)
Ruben Patterson (11 seasons 10.7 ppg 51% fg)
Takeaway: 3s company will no doubt be a fan favorite due to having Allen Iverson as a player/coach. Due to the fact that this is a 3 on 3 league, individual play in iso situations will be critical. Iverson will no doubt be showcasing flashes of the isolation brilliance that marked his hall of fame career. Don’t sleep on the 6’9 Johnson who played small forward and shooting guard during his career primarily in Denver and Atlanta. This team will struggle to hit long jump shots but will be as capable as any team in the league attacking the basket. Fun Fact: Ruben Patterson is probably best known for dubbing himself the “Kobe Stopper” not too long before this shot. To be fair, this is pretty stellar defense in an iso situation.
3 Headed Monsters
Coach: Gary Payton
Captain: Rashard Lewis (17 Seasons 14.9 ppg 5 rpg 45%fg 38% 3pt)
Co-Captain: Jason Williams (13 Seasons 10.5 ppg 5.9 apg 39.8 % fg)
Kwame Brown (13 Seasons 6.6 ppg 5.5 rpg 49.2 % fg)
Eddie Basden (1 season 2.1 ppg 40% fg)
Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (9 seasons 14.6 ppg 44% fg 35% 3 pt)
Takeaway: This is my favorite team in the league and one of my frontrunners to bring it home. How fun is it to have flamboyant Jason Williams being coached by Gary Payton? There also are the make sense additions of former Supersonics and Magic sharpshooter Rashard Lewis with the also capable Abdul Rauf to increase the ability of the monsters to spread the floor. For all of the ire that he drew during his playing career, Kwame Brown lasted in the league for over a decade for a reason. He is also one of the younger players in the Big 3. The monsters will be good. Again, White Chocolate is back!
Coach: George Gervin
Captain: Mike Bibby (17 seasons 14.7 ppg 5.5 apg 43.6 % fg 37.9 % 3pt)
Co-Captain: Ricky Davis (14 seasons 13.5 ppg 44% fg 36% 3pt)
Mo Evans (11 seasons 6.7 ppg 44% fg 36.3 % 3 pt)
Marcus Banks (11 seasons 5.9 ppg 43.2 % fg)
Ivan Johnson (2 seasons 6.5 ppg 51.7 % fg)
Takeaway: The Ghost Ballers have three serviceable options from range in Bibby, Davis, and Evans. Look for them to exploit mismatches with other teams with some pick and pop action to free up their shooters. Ivan Johnson at 33 years old is on the younger end of the spectrum in the league so do not be surprised to see him as a breakout star down low. Bibby was a solid point guard option for very good Sacramento Kings teams so the Ballers will be in good hands.
Coach: Rick Barry
Captain: Brian Scalabrine (11 seasons 3.1 ppg 39 %fg 34% 3 pt)
Co-Captain: Josh Childress (8 seasons 9.1 ppg 4.7 rpg 52.2% fg)
Derrick Byars ( 1 season 5.5 ppg 5.5 rpg 27.3 % fg)
Rasual Butler (14 seasons 7.5 ppg 40.3 % fg 36.2 % 3pt)
Dominic McGuire (10 seasons 2.7 ppg 3.4 rpg 42 % fg)
Takeaway: This team to me is more fun than actually viable as a contender in the Big 3. Who can resist rooting for Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress who at one point contended with Ben Wallace for most ridiculous afro in the NBA? Derrick Byars only has 2 games played in the NBA but was a standout at Vanderbilt as well as in the D – League. I believe they will be a bottom feeder and likely will get the number one pick in next year’s draft. (Psst.. Paul Pierce just retired)
Coach: Julius Irving
Captain: Jermaine O’Neal (19 Seasons 13.2 ppg 7.2 rpg 46.7 % fg )
Co-Captain: Bonzi Wells (12 Seasons 12.1 ppg 4.6 rpg 46 % fg)
Xavier Silas (1 Season 5.5 ppg)
Lee Nailon (8 Seasons 8.6 ppg 47 % fg)
Mike James (16 Seasons 9.9 ppg 41 % fg 38 % 3pt)
Takeaway: This is a Rugged team decked with NBA experience. Unlike other teams that have a lot of role guys who were in and out of the league the trio of Jermaine O’Neal, Bonzi Wells, and Mike James combine for an incredible 47 years of NBA experience and getting meaningful minutes for the majority of it. These guys know how to play the game. The 6’11 O’Neal should be fun to watch and is among the tallest players in the Big 3. That should give their starters a big advantage inside and a devastating pick and roll/pick and pop option.
Coach: Clyde Drexler
Captain: Cory Maggette (14 Seasons 16 ppg 5rpg 45.3 %fg)
Co-Captain: Cuttino Mobley (12 Seasons 16 ppg 43.3% fg 37.8 % 3pt)
Jerome Williams (11 seasons 6.6 ppg 50 % fg)
Deshawn Stevenson (15 seasons 7.2 ppg)
Moochie Norris (12 Seasons 5.1 ppg)
Takeaway: This team is going to beat a lot of teams up. Cory Maggette and Cuttino Mobley were both very physical players during their time. Deshawn Stevenson was also no chump and gave LeBron James all he could during his years with the Wizards. Keep an eye out for injuries with the old guys when facing this group.
Player Coach: Charles Oakley (19 Seasons 9.7 9.5 rpg ppg 47% fg)
Captain: Chauncey Billups (20 Seasons 15.2 ppg 5.4 apg 41% fg 38 % 3pt)
Co-Captain: Stephen Jackson (17 Seasons 15 ppg 3 apg)
Reggie Evans (15 Seasons 4 ppg 7 rpg 46% fg)
Larry Hughes (17 Seasons 14 ppg 40% fg)
Brian Cook (12 Seasons 5.5 ppg)
Takeaway: How is this team even fair? Billups and Jackson and your third option at guard is Larry Hughes. Reggie Evans and Brian Cook both played productive seasons in the league and will hold the fort down low for what should be everyone’s clear favorite to win the tournament. I guess my only question for this team is how can Charles Oakley (52 years old) still play at all? Jackson claims that a team of players from this tournament could hang with teams in the current NBA Playoffs. I don’t know about all of that but you have to like the spunk.
Coach: Rick Mahorn
Captain: Kenyon Martin (15 seasons 12.3 ppg 6.8 rpg 48 % fg)
Co-Captain: Al Harrington (18 Seasons 13.5 ppg 3.6 rpg 35 % 3pt)
Rashad McCants (5 Seasons 10 ppg)
James White (3 Seasons 2.7 ppg)
Dion Glover (7 Seasons 8.2 ppg)
Takeaway: Kenyon Martin has only been out of the league for 3 years and Al Harrington is a known sharpshooter that gave the league many years of service and headaches off of screens. This duo can work along with longtime overseas favorite James “Flight” White. Rashad McCants was the number one overall pick after 5 seasons in the NBA and being a McDonalds All-American in high school. Dion Glover had some moments as a shooter in the NBA but we will have to see what he can provide at age 38.
Season opener tickets at the Barclays Center are on sale now with full season tickets becoming available May 6th. There will be a 10 city tour ending with the championships this August in Las Vegas Nevada. Get ready for the Big 3 season tipoff on June 25th.