The NFL Draft ended on Saturday, setting the stage for the main event of sports drafting this weekend: The BIG3 Draft in Las Vegas on Sunday. Yes, everyone’s favorite 3-on-3 basketball league featuring retired NBA stars finally held its highly anticipated draft, where 24 selections were made to round out the five-man rosters ahead of the summer season.
There were some big names in the BIG3 draft pool, but it was made clear that name recognition was not going to be enough and that these teams were looking for the guys that still actually have game left in the tank. Among the former NBA names that weren’t drafted on Sunday were Latrell Sprewell, Steve Francis, Smush Parker, Flip Murray, Kenny Anderson, Isaiah Rider, and Joe Smith.
While those former NBAers are left without a team, there are 24 players that have a new squad for the summer. We’re going to break down how all eight teams did, to the best of our ability considering a lot of these guys haven’t been in the league for quite some time, and offer up some very serious draft grades based off how teams filled needs, acquired talent, and if I just generally liked the players they drafted.
3’s Company — Andre Owens, Mike Sweetney, and Ruben Patterson (D): Allen Iverson and DerMarr Johnson are the captain and co-captain here and I just don’t think they really addressed team needs especially well. Sweetney is the only big body on the roster, and he’s not a guy you’d think you could rely on to play the majority of games. So, this is the official small-ball team of the BIG3, and I just don’t know if they have enough shooting around Iverson to really make it work. We’ll see.
3-Headed Monsters — Kwame Brown, Eddie Basden, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (B): Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams did a better job than Iverson and Johnson at filling needs, the question is whether they got enough talent in those spots. Kwame seemed fired up about the draft and was actually mad he wasn’t taken before No. 5 overall, so maybe he’ll come in looking to dominated. Eddie Basden is an unknown for me, as his one year in the league doesn’t yield much of a sample size to go off of, but Abdul-Rauf is the really interesting pick here. He’s 48 years old, but back in the day he could fill it up. If he can still shoot and help out some, this might not be a bad squad.
Ball Hogs — Derrick Byars, Rasual Butler, and Dominic McGuire (C-): The captains here are Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress, which means there is one glaring weakness on this roster. There isn’t a point guard. There’s not even really a two-guard — Childress and Butler were primarily 3s in the NBA — so I just don’t know who handles the rock here. This is one of the younger teams in the league, which could play to their advantage with three guys under 35, but I just have questions about who will run the offense and put the ball on the floor to go to the rim.
Ghost Ballers — Maurice Evans, Marcus Banks, and Ivan Johnson (B+): I’m going to be honest, I’m a little biased here as a huge fan of Ivan Johnson, but I like this roster for Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis. My concern is at center, but Ivan is crazy strong, young enough to play lots of minutes, and can put up points in a hurry. I think he’s perfect for this league. Mo Evans could always shoot and stretch it out to three-point range, and Banks is a decent shooter in his own right. I like this roster a lot, so long as Ivan doesn’t foul out every game — I don’t know what the foul rules are, but that would be the top concern with no other depth in the front court.
Killer 3’s — Reggie Evans, Larry Hughes, and Brian Cook (A): Stephen Jackson and Chauncey Billups crushed this draft. They got exactly what they needed to fit with them on the court. Larry Hughes can stroke it as a career 40 percent shooter from three in the NBA, and I feel confident in calling him one of the steals of this draft. Evans is a beast on the boards and Cook gives them a nice stretch-big option when they need a scoring lineup on the court. Also, coach Charles Oakley will apparently play some as well. I don’t know if he can still help, but I do know this team will be one not to trifle with.
Power — Jerome Williams, DeShawn Stevenson, and Moochie Norris (B): Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley are your captains here and I think they did a pretty solid job. Williams will get on that glass and give them scoring presence inside. Norris will run point and Stevenson gives them a defensive presence up top. I like this draft, think it’s solid and addressed needs, which, gets a high grade considering what some others did.
Trilogy — Rashad McCants, James White, and Dion Glover (B+): This was a good draft from Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington. McCants went first overall and I have to think that’s for a reason. He was so good at UNC and could always shoot. At 32, he’s got some of the freshest legs in the league and if he can still shoot, I’m thinking he’ll be a problem. Martin and Harrington addressed the rest of their backcourt needs with James “Flight” White and Dion Glover, neither great shooters, but solid players and really this grade is for getting McCants at No. 1.
Tri-State — Xavier Silas, Lee Nailon, and Mike James (A-): Jermaine O’Neal and Bonzi Wells’ squad added the youngest player in the league in Silas, who can fill it up as he proved in the D-League this past season. Nailon gives them some more size with O’Neal and James once averaged 20 points per game for an entire NBA season (this really happened in Toronto and then he never averaged more than 10.1 per game after). I don’t know who plays defense on this team, but I do know they can get buckets and that’s what the BIG3 is really all about so good job, Tri-State.
The full rosters can be viewed here, and games tip-off on June 25 in Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center.