With 3 on 3 basketball rumored to become an official Olympic sport in 2016, each SB Nation team blog is picking players for a mythical 3 on 3 tournament. SBNation/NBA will run a tournament, starting with a selection show where the teams are seeded. A panel of six judges will then determine the winner of each matchup, winner moves on, loser is out. BUT, to add an element of chance (as there would be in a single elimination tournament) only the odds of winning will be determined by the judges -- the actual winner will be based on a roll of a die. If all six judges pick one team, no need to roll. But if the vote is 5 to 1, the underdog still has a 1 in 6 chance of pulling the upset.
- Games are one 10 minute period -- team ahead at the end of 10 minutes wins, unless a team reaches 31, in which case that team wins.
- Points are scored in 2's and 3's.
- 7 fouls results in the bonus situation.
- You can't foul out.
- 12 second shot clock.
That sounds simple enough. Which Wizards would you pick and why? My choices are after the jump.
Three on three basketball is obviously similar to a standard game of five on five. However, the extra spacing it provides as well as the shortened shot clock serve to benefit perimeter players while hurting big men who need to be fed the ball via an entry pass. As a result, the best players in a standard basketball game might not be the best choices for a game of three on three.
Player 1: John Wall
Wall's the best perimeter player on the Wizards, and his ability to get to the basket and finish would be greatly helped by the extra spacing provided by only having three defenders to worry about. While his lack of a jump shot could be a killer, allowing teams to just pack the paint and dare him to beat them from the outside, his athleticism and defensive versatility should more than make up for this.
Player 2: Nene Hilario
Another obvious choice, Nene would be perfect for any three on three tournament. While his ability to score in isolations, protect the rim, and pick and pop are obviously important, his quickness and length are what are really important here. Wall's obviously talented, but he's a poor pick and role player who is still better in isolation situation according to MySynergySports.com (last year he was the league's 65th best isolation player but only the 128th best pick and roll ball handler). As a result, a three on three team featuring him would likely consist of a lot of isolations for Wall while his teammates cleared out of the paint and focused on defense. Nene's ability to switch onto perimeter players and quickly get all over the court would be key to a squad that will likely only go as far as its defense will take it.
Player 3: Trevor Ariza
I almost went with Cartier Martin here due to his shooting and ability to occasionally create shots off of the dribble, but Ariza and his defense eventually won out. Ariza has the length and quickness to form a nasty defense with Wall and Nene, and his ability to hit the occasional corner three pointer would be extremely handy. While his off-the-dribble game is a huge negative, it won't be a big deal if Wall dominates the ball and Ariza and Nene play off of him. At the same time, Ariza's underrated passing ability would mesh well with Nene's court vision and Wall's elite ability to score off of cuts to the basket. The offense wouldn't be pretty, but the team would probably be able to score just enough to get by. At the same time, Ariza's ability to play the passing lanes and guard the vast majority of perimeter players would give the Wizards an above average defense while providing the team with the necessary versatility to avoid getting killed by an opposing player who's six inches taller than the guy guarding him.
Obviously, this team isn't going to be great, but it would at least be competitive against most of the league. The Wizards don't have any elite scorers and the lack of a pick and roll point guard would probably kill them in a tournament like this, but it would still be fun to watch.
So who would your choices be? And how do you think the Wizards would do in a tournament like this?