2018 BIG3 Snapshot
June 22, 2018
By Tony Mejia
Did you know you could bet on BIG3 basketball? You definitely do if you were on board last year, since this column gave you the projected champ nearly a year ago before a game was even played. Trilogy never lost, largely dominating and being tested only a few times.
To play BIG3 historian for a second, Allen Iverson's 3's Company squad was originally the favored bunch, which didn't work out too well since he never finished. Games were supposed to be played to 60 points but got scaled back down to 50, improving the product. Contests weren't available to be streamed at first and were ultimately shown the next day, long after the results were known to those who cared. That set-up did little to attract wager enthusiasts.
The finals were played in Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena on Aug. 26, but Trilogy failed to cover in a 51-46 win over the 3 Headed Monsters. That's right, an undefeated season ended on a win-no cover.
Rejoice. This year, all games will be televised live on Friday nights. Craigs everywhere can potentially be fired for gambling on games, even if it's their day off. Hi, Amy Trask!
This year's schedule opens at Houston's Toyota Center on June 22 with Ghost Ballers/3 Headed Monsters up first and Trilogy/Tri-State as the late tip. Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Boston and Atlanta will host weekly regular-season action, while Dallas will get this year's semifinals. Brooklyn, which is where the league tipped off its inaugural games in 2017, will host this year's championship.
In looking for a repeat of my own, below is a look at the season's current rosters, their odds to win the BIG3 Championship courtesy of BetOnline.ag, my projected champ and a few notes to be aware of:
Trilogy (Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington, Rashad McCants, James White, Dion Glover, Dahntay Jones)
Coach: Rick Mahorn
The champ is here! Returning intact while adding Dahntay Jones, the defending champs carry a 10-game winning streak into their opener. McCants was the top selection in the first draft and came through, scoring a team-best 18.3 points and dominating alongside Harrington. Although Martin remains a captain, it's Big Al, McCants and White who drive this squad, so we'll see if they stay hungry to keep the unblemished mark deep into the summer. White is the reigning BIG3 Defensive Player of the Year. Rick Mahorn has scoreboard as the top coach. It's impossible not to ride a repeat, though I don't see this group getting through unscathed again. Read below for top threats to the throne.
3's Company (Baron Davis, Drew Gooden, DerMarr Johnson, Andre Emmett, Jason Maxiell, Derrick Byars)
Coach: Michael Cooper
While A.I. let down 3's Company nation and former No. 2 draft pick Andre Owens now finds himself on the Ball Hogs, this group could be a contender. Baron Davis runs regularly out in L.A. and should be Newcomer of the Year if the league decides there is such a thing in Year 2. Oakland native Drew Gooden is also suiting up as a co-captain, joining holdover Johnson and draft picks Emmett, Maxiell and Byars. It sounds like a revival is coming for a team that was last year's biggest disappointment for obvious reasons.
3 Headed Monsters (Rashard Lewis, Reggie Evans, Kwame Brown, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Salim Stoudamire, Qyntel Woods)
Coach: Gary Payton
Lewis is the reigning MVP and had stretches where he looked like he should still be running around in the NBA. He averaged 21.3 points and made a BIG3-high four-game winners. Lewis will be a force again, so this squad could fully recover to win it all since it took a hit when Jason Williams injured his knee in the opening week. This year's group has a bigger look with Evans coming over from the Killer 3s to join Brown, who remains the biggest player in the league. Stoudamire and Woods have to step up as scorers alongside Abdul-Rauf, who can still fill it up at 49. The former Nuggets star scored 22 points in last year's title game, hit two game-winners and averaged 13.4 points for the season. Woods replaced Damien Wilkins, who took a full-time gig with the NBPA.
Killer 3s (Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Metta World Peace, Alan Anderson, Ryan Hollins, Mike James)
Coach: Charles Oakley
Billups only suited up four times last season since he was flirting with taking the Cavs GM gig, so his return is a major coup. Ron-Ron is going to run and will never not be a physical marvel, so with a 7-footer in the mix, the team featuring three ESPN analysts should continue to look good on TV. Jackson averaged 20.9 points last season and has a competitive group in place, so if there's a team that I'd back to derail Trilogy, it's this one.
Ball Hogs (Brian Scalabrine, Josh Childress, Andre Owens, Deshawn Stevenson, Corsley Edwards, Jermaine Taylor)
Coach: Rick Barry
The White Mamba returns to lead this group that went 2-6, but results will hinge on Stevenson's ability to get help after thriving with Power last season. Owens was the '18 Draft's No. 1 pick after being the only player in the BIG3 to finish in the top 5 in scoring (16.5 ppg), rebounds (60) and assists (19). Taylor is a terrific scorer who played at UCF, while Edwards is a difficult matchup, so expect much better results.
Power (Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley, Quentin Richardson, Chris Andersen, Glen Davis, Ryan Gomes)
Coach: Nancy Lieberman
With Clyde Drexler surrendering power of Power to Lieberman upon becoming commissioner, BIG3 beat the NBA to employing the first female head coach. She's got a lot of tattoos to work with, starting with Birdman, who was taken fourth overall in the most recent draft. Maggette played only one game last season due to injury but is ready to make up for lost time for a team sure to be a favorite with fans in Florida given the amount of guys who played for the Heat or Magic.
Ghost Ballers (Mike Bibby, Carlos Boozer, Ricky Davis, Marcus Banks, Lee Nailon, Mario West)
Coach: George Gervin
Boozer's availability is the big news for Boo Nation since he looks to be in excellent shape. Every one knows how diesel Bibby is these days, while Davis and Banks return after playing well last year. After finishing third, they're looking for more and could be a force if Boozer can still get it done. There's nice value here.
Tri-State (Jermaine O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire, Nate Robinson, Bonzi Wells, David Hawkins, Robert Hite)
Coach: Julius Erving
O'Neal played in just three games last season, so if he can be more durable, the prospect of he and Stoudemire anchoring things inside is promising. Robinson may be the top athlete in the BIG3 since he's always been a marvel and there's high hopes that Hawkins, a Temple product, will be productive.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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