LOOK: Who should rep NBA teams in 3X competition?
Adrian Dy on Aug 24, 2018 01:34 PM
FILE - Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant celebrates with Stephen Curry, left, and Draymond Green (23) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
With the NBA 3X Philippines Playoffs kicking off this weekend at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, the mind inevitably drifts off to imagining how actual NBA players would do in a three-on-three competition.
To aid that musing, here are our picks to represent the 30 NBA franchises, should the league decide to have such a tournament. Of course, this was easier for some teams, compared to others, and perhaps that challenge is what makes the mental exercise so intriguing.
Disagree with our four-man selections? Let us know in the comments!
Atlanta Hawks - John Collins, Taurean Prince, Trae Young, Vince Carter
The Hawks go young with their squad, and could have even gone younger, plugging in rookies Kevin Huerter or Omari Spellman into their fourth spot. However, the very chance of 41-year-old Vince Carter dunking on people in a 3X game is too tantalizing to pass up.
Boston Celtics - Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown
The deep, deep Celtics have plenty of ways to go. You could field a defense-oriented squad with Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes leading the way, or go guns-blazing with Jayson Tatum. However, we're opting for a middle-of-the-road approach here, with the established superstars leading the way, plus the ultra-versatile Jaylen Brown filling the fourth seat.
Brooklyn Nets - Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Joe Harris
The Nets have acquired plenty of veterans in exchange for draft picks over their rebuilding process, and a Jared Dudley-Kenneth Faried-Allen Crabbe-Ed Davis quartet has some appeal. We're opting for some of their younger stars though, and you could definitely make the argument that D'Angelo Russell should be somewhere in the mix too.
Charlotte Hornets - Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Nic Batum
A pretty obvious selection for Buzz City here. We will possibly revise this if Malik Monk makes a second-year leap.
Chicago Bulls - Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen
Sure Denzel Valentine and Jabari Parker have claims to a spot, but the above four are definitely the pieces Chicago seems to be building around long-term.
Cleveland Cavaliers - Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton
We'll pretend that Jordan Clarkson is off at Gilas practice and unavailable. Also, JR Smith not knowing the score might be more problematic in a 3-on-3 game, so he'll sit this one out.
Dallas Mavericks - Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic, Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan
The Mavericks' two super-kids in Doncic and DSJ are obvious shoo-ins, as is the venerable Dirk. The fourth spot is a bit up for grabs, but I'm opting here for their offseason acquisition Jordan. Harrison Barnes though would be deserving of the spot too.
Denver Nuggets - Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic
This is Denver's core and boy is it a powerful one, though Millsap will probably have to take on the bulk of the defensive chores. It's also tempting to figure out a way to add Isaiah Thomas, who has the potential to go off in such a tournament.
Detroit Pistons - Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson
Detroit's 'Big Three' of Drummond, Griffin, and Jackson are obvious shoo-ins. The question mark is the fourth guy. Henry Ellenson for a little jack-of-all-trades? Luke Kennard for shooting? In the end, I'm going with Stanley Johnson, crossing fingers that under new coach Dwane Casey, his stats will take a leap forward.
Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant
With DeMarcus Cousins still iffy with his achilles tear, we'll have to "settle" for GSW's All-Star quartet. Also, we may have found the thing to start a little in-fighting among the Dubs - figuring out who of the four starts on the bench.
Houston Rockets - Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela, Carmelo Anthony
Maybe there's a possibility that PJ Tucker would be a better fit than Melo, but Chris Paul says Anthony's in, and who am I to argue?
Indiana Pacers - Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic
The Pacers surprised many last season, and this quartet was at the center of their uprising. One extremely hard cut? New signing Tyreke Evans, though he would duplicate a lot of what Oladipo brings to the table.
Los Angeles Clippers - Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley,
Injuries aside, this is a very potent four-some from the Clips. The Bradley + Beverley combo should put the clamps on anyone, while freeing up Gallo or Harris from downtown.
Los Angeles Lakers - LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma
I was tempted to go with a Meme Team lineup of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee, along with LBJ (and apologies to Michael Beasley), but let's go with the Lakers kids instead. The mix of youth and James' experience ought to be a potent combo.
Memphis Grizzlies - Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons, Jaren Jackson Jr.
Once upon a time, a Grit 'N Grind four of Conley, Gasol, Tony Allen, and Zach Randolph probably could have run away with this. Instead, we're hoping Parsons is healthy enough to spread the floor, and that Jackson Jr. is as impressive as he was in Summer League.
Miami Heat - Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, James Johnson, Josh Richardson
There are plenty of ways to go with the Heat. Kelly Olynyk was a great addition last offseason. Hassan Whiteside, despite his clashes with the coaching staff, could still submit a dominant performance. A healthy Dion Waiters is a very 3x3-esque player. Oh, and if the Heat bring back Dwyane Wade, he's got to be a shoo-in. All of that said, I like this mix of players, but you can certainly change my mind.
Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Thon Maker
The Greek Freak is the centerpiece of any squad you form out of the Bucks. With the way the court is shrunk, you can be sure Antetokounmpo will be everywhere, on both offense and defense. The challenge is finding guys to complement him. Middleton is the obvious pick, while Bledsoe versus Malcolm Brogdon is a bit of a toss-up. To round out the team, I can't help but give the nod to Maker, you know, just in case we need someone to unleash a Mortal Kombat-esque flying kick.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague
Coach Thibodeau wouldn't reallllly consider a Butler-Taj Gibson-Derrick Rose trio right? *pause* Let's move on.
New Orleans Pelicans - Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle
This is as jumbo a line-up as you can get here, with Holiday being the only real guard, and that's what makes this Pelicans team so intriguing.
New York Knicks - Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Knicks go young with Zinger, Frank and the rookie Knox. The only real question is the fourth player. You could make the case for Enes Kanter, or even the resurgent Trey Burke, but my pick here is for THJ for more perimeter scoring.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson
When this four-some were on the court last season, the Thunder slapped opposing teams into straitjackets and tossed them away into some dark cell. If Roberson's healthy again, this group will probably do the same in 3X.
Orlando Magic - Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac, Mohamed Bamba
It's all about the wingspan for the Magic.
Philadelphia 76ers - Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Dario Saric
We're going to trust the process here, and roll out the 76ers' core group. Sure you might want JJ Redick to address the lack of a true knockdown shooter, or roll the dice on the possibility of Markelle Fultz looking like a number one overall pick, but it's hard to argue with the skillset of this four.
Phoenix Suns - DeAndre Ayton, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Trevor Ariza
The first three in the desert are all young and unpolished to varying degrees. That's why we're rounding out Phoenix's squad with veteran Trevor Ariza, in order to show this group how to notch W's.
Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins
Obviously you go with the Dame-CJ one-two punch. Nurkic, after signing his extension, is a lock too. The question comes with the fourth chair. Evan Turner? Seth Curry? Mo Harkless? Ultimately, my pick is second-year player Zach Collins, as the team could use his hustle, and a guy who doesn't really need a whole lot of touches.
Sacramento Kings - De'Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III
We're going young again here, and it's hard to argue with this Kings quartet. However, don't sleep on Harry Giles, who red-shirted what would have been his rookie season last year. He is primed to break out, based on his Summer League performance.
San Antonio Spurs - LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Dejounte Murray
The Spurs throw out a veteran squad, with the exception of the long-armed, defensively-stout Murray. Patty Mills might be a better option if you're worried about the team's lack of shooting, and you could certainly debate slotting in Pau Gasol for Rudy Gay as well.
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
In the regular season, the Raptors thrived thanks to a deep bench, but that's not an option in 3X. Instead, we'll make defense their calling card, as highlighted by new get Kawhi Leonard. Pairing "The Klaw" with Siakam and Anunoby turns any game into a defensive slugfest, and of course, Lowry is there to run the show.
Utah Jazz - Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Ricky Rubio
You could very well make the argument that this is the second-best squad in this field.
Washington Wizards - John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Dwight Howard
Guys, when even John Oliver is making fun of Dwight Howard, you know we've all gone too far.
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