Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NBA Lockout Alternative: 3-on-3 Tournament

The Miami Heat had the best trio in the NBA last season and would be prohibitive favorites to win a 3-on-3 tournament if the NBPA organized an event similar to the FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championships during the NBA Lockout. Of course, they would have to come up with a better entrance than the one they made on July 9, 2010 to compete with the kids from New Zealand.

On the latest HEATcast, Alfredo Arteaga from HeatFreak.com suggested the National Basketball Players Association organize a 3-on-3 tournament in Las Vegas during the NBA lockout. The question debated on the HEATcast was, “Who would be on the Heat’s 3-on-3 team?” and “Who would they play for the championship?”

Miami Heat 3-on-3 Team
The first three members of the 3-on-3 team would obviously be LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The real question is, “Who would come off the bench?”

Alfredo said he would give the bench spot to Udonis Haslem since Wade and LeBron provide enough ball-handling. According to the Heat Produced Page, UD was the fourth-most productive player on a per-minute basis for the Heat last season (among all players with at least 300 minutes played).

However, Haslem is still rehabbing from his foot injury and may not be ready for a 3-on-3 tournament. He told the Palm Beach Post he was at 100 percent strength in August, but the Peninsula Is Mightier blog reported he was still recovering from the setback of returning from injury early to help the team in the playoffs.

If Haslem can’t go, then there are two alternative options for coming off the bench: Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller. Chalmers finished the regular season and the playoffs fourth on the Heat in Estimated Wins Produced. Miller finished right behind Chalmers in the regular season but only played half as many minutes.

Both bring the advantage of three-point shooting, but Miller has the same off-season rehab issues as Haslem. If UD can’t go in a 3-on-3 tournament, then Chalmers should be the choice.

Three Kings vs. the NBA
LeBron, Wade and Bosh produced 51.5 wins last season, which was more than any other trio in the NBA, according to sports economist David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal. Which trio was the second-most productive?

This spreadsheet lists Berri’s Wins Produced stats for the top guard, forward and center trios in the NBA last season. See this FAQ for more information on Wins Produced.

The Lakers had the second-best trio in the NBA last season with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol producing 42.2 wins. The Lakers could be a formidable opponent for the Heat in a 3-on-3 championship game with the size of Andrew Bynum coming off the bench, but they would probably get dusted off by the Heat like they did in the regular season.

The Boston Celtics had the third-best trio in the NBA last season with Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce producing 41.8 wins, but the Heat showed how to dismantle them in the playoffs.

The New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic had the fourth and fifth-best guard-forward-center combos, but they were more one-man teams than trios and therefore not a legitimate threat to beat the Heat in a 3-on-3 championship. If Chris Paul or Dwight Howard go to New York in 2012, then they would elevate an average Knicks trio of Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire from 14th to 2nd (approximately two to four wins produced behind the Heat).

That leaves the Dallas Mavericks (6th), Oklahoma City Thunder (7th), San Antonio Spurs (9th) and Memphis Grizzlies (10th) as the only other legitimate contenders.

Wade could single-handedly shred the Mavericks, as he showed in the NBA Finals, because Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler cannot guard him. LeBron and Bosh may struggle against their defense but Wade and Chalmers would have their way on the perimeter.

The Thunder pose a different problem with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka matching up well with LeBron, Wade and Bosh. The Three Kings are the Best In the World until proven otherwise, but they did struggle with the Thunder last season, as this spreadsheet illustrates.

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are too old for the Spurs to be considered a legitimate threat since they were crushed by 30 the last time they visited Miami and run out of the playoffs by the Grizzlies.

Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Rudy Gay are the new, young guns in the Western Conference but no threat to the Heat in a 3-on-3 battle. They barely beat the Heat in Memphis without Wade and were crushed by 30 in Miami at Wade’s block party after he got full custody of his children.

The numbers indicate the Heat are the favorites to win a 3-on-3 tournament, but who do you think would win? Which players would you pick from your favorite team for a 3-on-3 tournament with NBA players?

No comments:

Post a Comment