Being that it is the off-season and we don't have much to debate about (except how long it will take Amile to make a decision) right now, I thought it would be interesting to pose a question to the board that was posed to me yesterday. It has two parts: 1. If you had to pick three current Duke alums in the NBA to play in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament who would they be and why? 2. What other schools would have great 3 on 3 teams using current NBA players and who would be on them?
Obviously this little game excludes NBA players who went straight from High School (LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, etc.) and players who came from other countries without playing at an American University (Dirk, Gasol(s), etc.). Off the top of my head I decided on this team to represent Duke:
One other school that I think would put together a formidable 3 on 3 squad is Wake Forest with:
What do you all think?
I would probably go with Kyrie, Luol and JJ. In 3-on-3 you want someone who's an athletic defender, which Kyrie is. You also want two people that can drive and slash, and Kyrie and Luol can fill that role. Finally, you want someone who's a deep threat and can move off screens for pop-up jumpers. That's JJ right there. Shane would be the 4th man (most 3-on-3 tourneys you can have a 4th as a sub! )
Duke | Mirecourt | Detroit| The U | USA
How about Westbrook, Love and Holiday [with that first two, the third could be just about anyone -- Collison, Afflalo, Ariza or even a frosh to be...].
I don't think Battier would be my choice as the 3rd man, although it's an interesting spin on the idea that the 3-on-3 requires better mobility. But guys like Redick, Boozer, Brand, Maggette, Dunleavy, and Henderson would need to be considered as well.
UNC could field a pretty decent squad with Lawson, Carter, and Jamison. Their second 3 would be pretty decent too, with Felton, Green, and Hansbrough.
Kansas could throw any of Hinrich, Pierce, Gooden and Chalmers, Rush, and Arthur out there, with the Morris twins as fall backs.
Ga Tech would do pretty well with Jack, Morrow, and Bosh.
Kentucky could throw out Wall, Rondo, Knight, Meeks, Cousins, Hayes, Prince, Patterson, Bogans, Mohammad, Magloire, and Bledsoe.
And of course UCLA would do pretty well for itself.
UConn isn't shabby with Allen, Gay, Walker, Butler, Gordon, Hamilton, Villanueva, and Okafor.
Memphis can throw Rose, Evans, and CDR out there with Elliot and Shawne Williams as well.
Texas could throw Durant, Aldridge, Evans, Augustin, Bradley or Gibson out there.
EDIT: didn't see superdave's post about Arizona.
I'd select JJ for his shooting on the outside, Boozer for his size and defense inside and Duhon for his speed and passing ability.
(P.S...if it isn't alums only I go with Kyrie instead of Duhon and leave my other two.)
I like this thread, it's a twist on which team has the best NBA Jam lineup.
I like a team of Kyrie, Deng, and Boozer, it's the right combination of speed, athleticism, and size.
Also fun, JJ, Dunleavy, and Battier. They could shoot the lights out.
"Something in my vicinity is Carolina blue and this offends me." - HPR
I'd probably go with Kyrie and Luol Deng, but would have trouble picking between JJ and Gerald or Elton or Carlos.
Here's a breakdown -
Redick shot .425 on FGs, .418 on 3s. His per 48 minutes stats were 20.4 points, 4.1 boards and 4.5 assists to 1.8 TOs.
Henderson shot .459 on FGs, .234 on 3s. His per 48 minutes stats were 21.8 points, 5.9 boards, 3.3 assists to 2.6 TOs.
I think Redick is the better player right now, but Gerald has a higher ceiling and is head and shoulders above JJ in terms of athleticism. So I would pick Gerald over JJ for the Duke squad.
Here's a quick look at Brand vs. Boozer from this season -
Brand shot .494 on FGs and his per 48 are 18.3 and 11.9, with 2.7 blocks and 1.8 steals.
Boozer shot .532 and his per 48 are 24.4 and 13.9, with 0.6 blocks and 1.6 steals.
Brand was born March, 1979 and Boozer November, 1981, so Boozer has scoring rebounding and age advantages.
Would you need Boozer on the Duke squad or would you be ok going with Deng as your biggest player?
How about D.Wade, Steve Novak and Jimmy Butler outta Marquette?
This is a great thread and it's fun to piece together squads from the teams with fewer pros:
Boston College -
Jared Dudley, Sean Williams and Reggie Jackson
Mike Miller, David Lee and Chandler Parsons or Bonner (going for versatility which is why I didn't choose Noah, Horford, et al)
David West, James Posey and Jordan Crawford
Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter (might need to add lil Nate, the ultimate match-up problem)
OJ Mayo, Taj Gibson, Nick Young
Dejuan Blair, Sam Young, Aaron Gray
Blake, General Grievous and Wilcox
Jamal Crawford, Manny Harris and Juwan Howard
You could probably do it with 8 teams, with four players each, but when I started putting together potential teams, I realized how hard it was to rank teams 5-10, so I decided to put together a 16-team bracket. The guys I went with aren't necessarily who I think are the best four guys from each school, but rather the teams I think who would work best in a half court, 3 on 3 games, to 21 by one with 2s, and make-it-take-it. For most teams I went went with a scoring point or two guard, a wing who could handle the ball and a big who could step out and defend or make a 15 footer, but there were some guys who didn't fit any of these descriptions who I couldn't justify leaving off.
Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona, UConn, Texas, and Kansas
Duke: Irving and Deng, with two of Battier, Boozer, Redick and Hill and the third and fourth guys. Irving and Deng would be must haves in this style of tournament, with Deng's versatility and Irving's ability to get to the rim, pass, or knock down an outside shot.
UNC: Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Antwan Jamison, and Marvin Williams? Oh how the mighty have fallen. A few years ago, this team would be loaded, with Rasheed, Jamison, and Vince Carter, but now they've got a solid point guard, a big who makes up for his lack of athleticism with hustle and deceptive footwork, and Antwan Jamison. This team could really go either way, depending on match ups and what Jamison and Williams bring to the table.
UCLA: Love, Westbrook, Trevor Ariza, and Aaron Afflalo. Westbrook and Love would be the driving force behind this team, with Ariza doing most of his work on the defensive end. I can see this team doing well with a lead, but struggling to play from behind, which is why I included Afflalo as the 4th man instead of Jrue Holiday or a hypothetically healthy and motivated Baron Davis.
Kentucky: DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, John Wall, and one of Rajon Rondo or Tayshaun Prince. Despite the talent of their alumni, a Kentucky roster was probably the toughest to put together because their style doesn't exactly translate to a 3 on 3 game. Rondo and Cousins are probably the most talented of their alumni, but Rondo's jumpshot is such a liability that I almost left him off altogether. Cousins would be a force down low on offense and defense, but Wall might be better suited to run the point because defenses would have to respect his jump shot slightly more than Rondo and couldn't afford to help on Cousins. Patterson's game seems ideal for 3 on 3, with a solid midrange game, but the ability to take advantage of smaller players.
Arizona: Jordan Hill, Iguodala, Derrick Williams, and Jason Terry. This team's got a lot of versatility, but might not have the top-end talent to make a run. Despite the number of NBA players from Arizona, guys like Richard Jefferson and Gilbert Arenas are too far past their primes to do any real damage, while Hill and Williams have yet to reach their peaks as players.
Uconn: Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, Ray Allen, and Caron Butler. For a school that supposedly does a good job getting bigs to the NBA, it has struggled to keep them there. Okafor should probably be on this unit to at least give it someone down low, but he's hurt right now and even when healthy, but I think the UConn team would be more successful playing small ball, with aggressive on ball defense, lots of dribble penetration and kick outs for open jump shots.
Texas: Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge (if healthy), D.J. Augustin, and Avery Bradley. Like UCLA, this is primarily a two-man team, the difference being that Durant and Aldrige don't compliment each other as well as Love and Westbrook, while Augustin and Bradley would contribute more than Ariza and Afflalo. If Augustin and/or Bradley can do enough to balance out their opponent's third best guy, then I can see this team being dominant in 3 on 3, my only small concern is Durant finishing through contact.
Kansas: Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, and probably Gooden and a Morris twin. Honestly, I have no idea who I'd go with on this team. 5-7 years ago, it would be a no-brainer, but now, there's Paul Pierce and a good argument for three of Collison, Chalmers, Gooden, Hinrich, Collison, and the Morris twins.
Wake Forest: Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Al-Forouq Aminu, and Jeff Teague. Like Texas and UCLA, a two-man team. Duncan is past his prime, but can still bring it in stretches, while Chris Paul is perhaps the best point guard alive, especially in the fourth quarter, where he just shifts into another gear. Aminu is a serviceable third guy and Teague can get to the basket if he needs to. In a make-it-take it format, I can see this team being one of the most ruthlessly efficient in the tournament between Duncan's lethal bank shot and Paul's decision-making and execution.
Georgia Tech: Chris Bosh, (pre-injury) Iman Shumpert, Jarrett Jack, and Derrick Favors. Bosh, Jack, and Favors would be a formidable threesome, with the Bosh's ability to create mismatches and Shumpert's defense. If you get rid of Shumpert, Jack is serviceable and Thaddeus Young could step in to provide more size.
USC: O.J. Mayo, Nick Young, Taj Gibson, and Brian Scalabrine. Scalabrine might not push this team over the edge from a talent perspective, but it wouldn't be a meaningful basketball tournament without him sitting on the end of someone's bench, providing a much needed emotional boost to his teammates.
Syracuse: Carmelo, Wesley Johnson, and two of Jonny Flynn, Hakim Warrick and Donte Green(?). Basically, Carmelo and two other guys, which is similar to how the Knicks were playing in the last month of the season. They're not going to win any tournament, but they've got the potential to win some games with Carmelo carrying them.
Marquette: Wade, Steven Novak, Wesley Matthews, and Lazar Hayward. The same rationale as Syracuse.
Memphis: Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Shawne Williams and Elliot Williams. It pains me to do it, but I guess Elliot has to go on Memphis's team. They don't have much size, but can score with anyone and play decent defense on the perimeter.
Ohio State: Mike Conley, Michael Redd, Evan Turner, and Kousta Koufos. Even without Greg Oden, this team isn't too shabby. They can defend, knock down jump shots, and create mismatches. They don't have any star players, but are solid everywhere.
Florida: Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Mike Miller, and Bradley Beal. Since Florida doesn't have any guards in the NBA at the moment, I had to go with Brad Beal to give them a ball handler. Their strength is definitely size, but I'm not sure if they've got the versatility or scoring to get it done in this tournament.
Honorable mention: Michigan State, Maryland, and LSU.
Seeding (feel free to disagree with my seeding, by the time I got done putting together teams, I ran out of gas). In general, I rewarded teams who had balance, or at least a solid guard and a solid big, so teams like Florida and Memphis were penalized for being too one-dimensional.:
1. Texas v. 16. Florida
2. UCLA v. 15. USC
3. Wake Forest v. 14. Georgia Tech
4. Kentucky v. 13. Kansas
5. Duke v. 12. UNC (the selection committee was shamelessly concerned about rating with these seedings and pairings)
6. UConn v. 11. Syracuse
7. Memphis v. 10. Marquette
8. Ohio State v. 9. Arizona
I think Texas and UCLA are in a class by themselves, because so many of the elite players in the league did not go to college. The elite players that would participate here (All-NBA/Team USA level players) who actually went to college are few. Durant, Westbrook, Love, Melo, Iggy, Rose, Aldridge, Bosh, Gay, Wade and Paul. None of these players played college beyond their sophomore year, by the way.