After a very successful first season, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 professional basketball league the BIG3 just announced its plans for season two. Along with adding cities to which they’ll travel, Cube and company revealed a list of some marquee names to the already star-studded and competitive league.
The likes of Carlos Boozer, Nate Robinson, Glen Davis, Drew Gooden, Amar’e Stoudemire and Ron Artest were named co-captains for teams, while names like Greg Oden, Derek Anderson, Quentin Richardson, Smush Parker, Eddy Curry, Morris Peterson, Ryan Gomes and around 15 other new names entered into the league’s second official draft and draft combine.
The entire roster from championship winner Trilogy will return, as they look to win back-to-back titles and go undefeated for another season. Meanwhile the runners-up the Three-Headed Monsters, coached by Gary Payton, are still without a second co-captain (to be announced), but similarly will return intact.
Most other teams will be returning with about half of their original squads, but those roster holes will be filled via the draft. Trilogy has no picks, Three-Headed Monsters have one, and the remaining six teams will have three picks each, for a total of 19 selections in the draft. Currently, the draft pool is a whopping 67 players, with another 80 expected to be added via the combin. So only about one-fourth of the players at the combine will end up being selected.
We decided to run a mock draft of the selections based on the way things are currently shaping up. Things will most certainly change and I’m sure we’ll hear more players decide to jump in before this draft combine happens on April 11th.
We don’t yet know the draft order for teams, but here’s our guess at how the selections will fall. Players are listed with last year’s BIG3 team denoted, and “Newcomer” designation if they’ll be entering the BIG3 for the first time.
1. Xavier Silas – Ball Hogs/Northern Arizona Suns
Silas was a top pick in last year’s inaugural draft, and didn’t disappoint. Most recently, he’s played on Team USA and with the G-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, where he’s been arguably one of the best players on the Sun’s G-League affiliate and in the G-League as a whole. He’s a great shooter who can be versatile with who he’s guarding based on his size and quickness.
After USA’s demolishing of Cuba, Jeff Van Gundy said “I admire guys like Xavier, they’ve been in this for a long time. They’re good enough to be on an NBA roster. Why they’re not is anybody’s guess. It’s just a limited player pool. But I love his approach, I love his passion. He’s got every intangible characteristic you need.”
While there may be bigger names, the BIG3 is about competition and high-level, hard-nosed basketball. If a team picking at the top wants to win, they’ll pick Silas.
2. DeShawn Stevenson – Power
Stevenson lit it up last year for one of the league’s most consistent teams. His shooting from outside coupled with his ability to get his own shot is really unique. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and he’s the type of player that others feed off of. Stevenson had a few huge game deciding buckets for Power and he’s a guy who’ll be wanted by everyone.
3. Andre Owens – Three’s Company
Playing for Allen Iverson’s team, Andre Owens did it all. He was the go-to guy and he led his team in scoring. He can really shoot the basketball and his upper body strength gives him an advantage over many. They call him “Rambo” and the name certainly goes with how he plays and conducts himself.
4. Greg Oden – Newcomer
Oden hasn’t played professionally since 2016. But, the former number one overall pick has all the tools to dominate in the BIG3. The big question is health. But, if it’s only once a week, one could assume he would be able to put in work. Even if it’s only 60 to 80 percent of what we know or have seen, that’ll still be valuable due to his dominant post presence. It wouldn’t shock me if he didn’t get drafted. But, I think he’s going to surprise some people.
5. Ryan Gomes – Newcomer
In the NBA, Gomes could shoot the heck out of the ball. I think he’ll be a nice addition to one of the better teams in the BIG3, if he’s picked. His ability to shoot coupled with decent size and defensive skills makes him a potential steal in the draft.
6. Derrick Byars – Ball Hogs
Byars was a top pick in last year’s draft and had a ton of hype coming in. Having played with some of the BIG3 players previously, many looked at him to make a big impact immediately. He was certainly good in the role he was given but he could’ve been utilized more. Last season, he only played 22 minutes per game and averaged double-digits in points, making him a possible sleeper in this draft.
7. Marcus Banks – Ghost Ballers
Banks played well last season for a team that made the postseason. His defensive ability is what really shined as he’s able to lock guys down and get crucial steals in a game where every possession really matters. His offensive ability showed as the season progressed as he hit some big shots down the stretch for Iceman’s team. He should be a lock for a top-10 pick based on the way he played last season and working out with other BIG3 talent like Rashad McCants in the offseason.
8. Ivan Johnson – Ghost Ballers
Another Ghost Ballers player, Johnson was somewhat of an X-factor for them in the sense that his play could give you an indication of how they played as a team. His strong build and ability to shoot makes him a tough guy to matchup against. Johnson could be taken later, but it would be hard to see him left out this year.
9. Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams – Power
Recently added to the board of directors with the BIG3, Williams is an irreplaceable locker room guy. His energy feeds an entire room and his presence in the post is dominating at times. He may not be able to step back and hit a three but his ability to get offensive boards and do the “little things” are what make him so valuable.
10. Marquis Daniels – Newcomer
Daniels’ game may have gone under appreciated, but he could be a really good player in a three-on-three format. He’s a good shooter and can lock down on defense, specifically in isolation. He could be a good do-it-all player for any team in the middle of the draft.
11. Lee Nailon – Tri-State
Nailon has the size to get buckets in the paint but he can also shoot when asked to. His play last season got better as the season progressed averaging double-digits and playing just 20 minutes per game. That number could jump up depending on the team fit and need. He’s a sleeper and a guy who could make some noise this season.
12. Will Bynum – Newcomer
Bynum had a long-lasting NBA career and last played in Turkey this past year. He’s clearly still got it as he hasn’t taken any time off. His play should fit the 3-on-3 game very nicely as he can finish at the rim, drive with power and his isolation basketball is still evident in some of his most recent games. He should be a lock to be drafted, whether or not it’s at number 12 is yet to be seen.
13. Al Thornton- 3’s Company
Thorton can hit shots from outside and also play with his back to the basket. He’s a good perimeter defender with a size advantage on a lot of the players he’ll face. Last season, he averaged over 11 points and 4 rebounds in about 20 minutes a game while producing occasional blocks, steals and not turning the ball over frequently. He could go higher depending on his combine and teams need.
14. Mo Evans – Killer Three’s
Evans has a nice mid-range jump shot and a game that fits in with any team. He’s not going to look to shoot every time he gets the ball, as he seems to facilitate and be behind a lot of point-scoring opportunities. But, a lot of the teams drafting will need a player like Mo. He’ll be drafted based on his all-around game.
15. Morris Peterson – Newcomer
Peterson hasn’t played in the NBA since 2011 but has supposedly stayed ready to play in some capacity. We’ll see where he stands at the combine but if he can replicate some of his NBA skills, he’ll be picked up without question. Peterson is a clutch defender and player, he could lock you up and hit a game-winning bucket. For Peterson, it’s just a question of how he shows up and performes at the combine. He’s probably got a ceiling of a top-6 pick and a floor that puts him out of the draft.
16. Derek Anderson – Newcomer
Anderson was a physical, tough guard who could penetrate the lane aggressively. If he can replicate some of his long-time NBA and college success, he’ll be a surefire pick in the draft. Teams may go higher than 15 but that depends on whether he comes into the combine ready to produce.
17. Jamario Moon – Newcomer
Moon went undrafted last year but I presume he wouldn’t come back if he didn’t feel he was likely to get drafted. Moon had a long career in the NBA and if he was able to replicate some of the success from behind-the-arc as well as some of his playmaking ability, he should be a guy on the fringe of making the cut. Like I said, why would he come to the combine for a second straight year if he wasn’t going to get picked? I think he has something to prove.
18. Brian Cook – Killer Three’s
In L.A., Brian Cook became a BIG3 legend for his performance against undefeated Trilogy. He was cashing out from all areas of the floor and looked unstoppable. A late addition to the BIG3, Cook should be drafted based on his combination of size, post-moves, and shooting ability.
19. Smush Parker – Newcomer
Smush Parker has been playing professionally in 2018 and is known for his defensive efforts and scoring ability. If he comes into the combine ready to play and compete, I’m thinking he’ll be drafted at some point.
Other Notable New Names in the Draft: