With the BIG3 Playoffs slated to start in Dallas, Texas this Friday, several members of the Society gathered for a roundtable discussion on their championship favorites, which player will prove to be the biggest X-factor in the postseason and the coach they trust the most. Our participants are:
1. Out of the four playoff teams (Power, 3-Headed Monster, 3’s Company and Tri-State), who do you give the best chance to walk away with this year’s BIG3 crown?
Calpin: I am giving the 3-Headed Monster the best chance to walk away with the BIG3 crown this year. I think it is going to be a great battle but the grit and grind of Reggie Evans and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf plus the fact that they were the runner-ups last year, with a little chip on their shoulders, makes me think they walk away with the championship trophy. Also, you can never count against Gary Payton, the best coach in the BIG3 League.
Cannuscio: I have Power winning it all this year in the BIG3. Corey Maggette has been fantastic all year and his consistency is his most attractive quality. Under Nancy Lieberman’s leadership, who I believe has been by far the best coach this year, Power should have no problem taking the crown this year.
Kirkland: I’m going to go with 3-Headed Monster here. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is likely the best overall shooter in the league (he’s the only guard in the top-five of shooting percentage) and has guys around him that can attack the rim with league-leading rebounder Reggie Evans and former NBA 2K Cheese God Jamario Moon. Add Gary Payton to the mix and that is a championship formula. However, I believe Power with a rejuvenated Glen “Big Baby” Davis will give them a run.
Allan: I would give the edge to 3-Headed Monster. As Justin said above, the shooting of Abdul-Rauf can’t be overlooked. Paired with dominant defender and rebounder in Reggie Evans, they should be able to come away with the crown. Gary Payton is also a huge factor in all of this with the way he has been able to control the game as a head coach.
2. Which player will prove to be the biggest X-factor come playoff time?
Calpin: My biggest X-factor obviously has to come from my champs and that is the 3-Headed Monster so with that being said my pick is Reggie Evans. Evans will need to be prepared to go up against some big bodies whether that is Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Chris “Birdman” Anderson or Amar’e Stoudemire. Evans must be ready to crash the boards and bring the hustle to secure the championship.
Cannuscio: The biggest X-Factor in the playoffs this year is without question Rashard Lewis. He has missed the last four games for the 3-Headed Monsters who were undefeated with him healthy. The reigning BIG3 MVP has to be healthy for the 3-Headed Monsters to have a chance in the playoffs. If he is indeed good to go, Gary Payton’s team has a great chance of winning the championship.
Kirkland: Big Baby! Glen Davis is having a nice season to the tune of 11 points and five rebounds per game for Power and will be one of the best bigs in the playoffs. His 14 points helped Power to earn the No. 1 seed last week and look for him to be a key part of a championship run for Nancy Leiberman’s squad.
Allan: Reggie Evans. He will be matching up with some familiar foes in Amar’e Stoudemire and Glen Davis, and 3-Headed Monster will need him in a big way if they hope on claiming the championship. He won’t need to put up many buckets, but his rebounding ability will prove to be major.
3. Who’s the team you think nobody should want to see in the playoffs?
Calpin: That is a tough one. I think all of these teams are fun to watch but if I have to pick one, it’s 3’s Company.
Cannuscio: It has to be Power, the team that I see winning it all. They are a very deep team with Quentin Richardson, Glen Davis, Chris Andersen, and Cuttino Mobley who assist the probable MVP in Corey Maggette so effectively. No one wants to see this team in the playoffs as they are an extremely feared unit, no matter the three-man lineup they throw out there.
Kirkland: If Rashard Lewis manages to be healthy, the 3-Headed Monsters will be tough to contain. He was last year’s MVP, and they just need him to pair up with Abdul-Rauf’s shooting and they should be able to force a bunch of mismatches with Lewis’s height on the perimeter.
Allan: 3’s Company. The way Baron Davis has shown up this season for them should be eye-opening for everyone and don’t be surprised if he’s able to take control in the postseason and lead his team to the championship.
4. Dr. J, Michael Cooper, Gary Payton and Nancy Lieberman: Which coach do you trust the most under playoff pressure?
Calpin: Oh, this one is easy. As great as Dr. J is no one is as cool, calm and collected under pressure than Gary “The Glove” Payton. Any type of pressure that his team faces he is going to be able to bring them together and get them all on the same page.
Cannuscio: Mentioned it before, but Nancy Lieberman has been a fantastic coach for Power this year. Everyone on the squad respects her and lets her lead as she probably has the most intelligent basketball mind on the floor. She’s the type of coach that will call a timeout up 13 after the team just scored one bucket. Her players are always focused on getting the best shot available at all times and that has a lot to do with Coach Lieberman.
Kirkland: I’ve got my money on the Glove but mostly because I enjoyed his antics this season and he actually has ruffled a few feathers. Trash talking and basketball are about as perfect a pair as you can find. Gary Payton is a legend in both.
Allan: I will have to agree with Aram on this one because when it comes to basketball intelligence, Nancy Lieberman takes that crown. She really obtains the attention of her players, and that isn’t always easy to do, given the amount of knowledge and basketball these players have under their belts.
5. The BIG3 Championship will be between ____ & ____
Calpin: 3-Headed Moster vs. Tri-State in the BIG3 Championship with 3-Headed Monster taking home the hardware.
Cannuscio: 3-Headed Monsters vs. Power.
Kirkland: 3-Headed Monsters vs. Power.
Allan: 3-Headed Monster vs. Power.
BONUS: Which recently retired NBA player would you most like to see in the BIG3?
Calpin: Give me Tim Duncan. Let him bully these big guys underneath and show them how to play basketball the right way!
Cannuscio: I would love to see someone like Steve Nash dominating the BIG3 one day if he were ever up for it.
Kirkland: This is cheating but I would love to see Dirk Nowitzki take a year or two off and come play. Otherwise, I think Gilbert Arenas would be a lot of fun and his style/personality would fit the league well.
Allan: If Ray Allen played in the BIG3 it would be awesome to watch that jump shot again. How many four-pointers do you think he’d make?