What An Opportunity

The Big 3

In Sports on April 11, 2012 at 7:24 am

Sitting here at 2 in the morning when I should probably get some sleep is the best idea I have had in a long time. Drinking some water out of my “Troy and Abed in the Morning” mug (I know you’re jealous), I’m gonna write about Big 3’s. They’re a wonderful phenomenon that has hit the Association in a big way, and I wanted to see what makes up a quality Big 3.  Just thinking. The picture at the top has nothing to do with this idea, except that my personal favorite Big 3 helped my favorite player, Kobe Bryant, get his big 5 over another Big 3…I mean 4…I mean…whatever. So, with apologies to my bed, here we go.

Really, there are only five teams with trios worth noting. Apologies to the Clippers because: #1: You are the clippers and I’m a Lakers fan, and #2: It’s CP3, Blake “My ridiculous dunks are really getting out hand…i mean did you see what i did to Pau Gasol?” Griffin, and…my point exactly. My condolences to the Timberwolves because #1: Kaaaaaaaaaaahn (love Bill Simmons), #2: You’re the Timberwolves, and #3: It’s Kevin Love (has no one made the George Mikan-dominant big man-Minnesota connection yet?), Ricky Rubio (real sad injury news) and…Darko Milicic? As for the Knicks, #1: You only have two. Linsanity doesn’t count. Sorry. Great story though. But all 3 of those teams are close.

The five teams I’m referring to are the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Thunder, and Spurs. The Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs have all enjoyed parades after the season has ended for their trios, and the other two have seen recent playoff success of varying degrees. Here’s a simplistic breakdown team-by-team:

Lakers: Kobe Bryant, SG…Pau Gasol, PF…Andrew Bynum, C

Celtics: Paul Pierce, SF…Ray Allen, SG…Kevin Garnett, PF

Heat: Lebron James, SF…Dwayne Wade, SG…Chris Bosh, PF

Thunder: Kevin Durant, SF…Russell Westbrook, PG…Serge Ibaka, PF

Spurs: Tony Parker, PG…Manu Ginobli, SG…Tim Duncan, PF

Rule #1: Don’t repeat the same song and expect a different sound.

This should be the “Miami Heatles” rule. While all the teams have players at different positions in the starting line-up, playing style has to be a factor. A well-documented hypothesis that has been spoken countless times around basketball circles is that Lebron James and Dwayne Wade play the same way. It’s awesome when they’re throwing full-court alley-oops to each other, but in the half court, they play better with the ball in their hands. The other teams (besides maybe the Thunder; Russell Westbrook can get trigger-happy, which doesn’t always bode well for them) don’t really run into this problem. This causes disjointing of the offense and stagnation when players don’t move well without the ball. Which leads into the second rule…

Rule #2: Have an alpha dog (or players willing to follow a single mantra regardless of what’s going on around them).

Again, I should probably call this the “Miami Heat” rule, but it applies to the winning teams. With the Lakers, there’s no question who the alpha dog is. If you don’t know…search “1996 NBA Draft” in Google. Look at the Charlotte Hornets’ first round pick. Memorize that name, then post in the comment section. As for the Celtics, their emotional leader is K.G. It’s just who he is. But those players were willing to buy into a single idea and left their egos at the door. The only thing you see on the court is determination, defense, sweat, and hustle. Don’t like them, but a lot of respect. The Spurs also don’t have a alpha dog, but Tim Duncan is the quiet leader. He leads by example and everyone has bought into the principles of Gregg Popovich. Again, don’t like them but a lot of respect. It’s also interesting to note that these Big 3s have been coached by extraordinary men in Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers,  and Popovich.

The Thunder, however, have a very young superstar in K.D. He’s only 23 and has to be the alpha dog on his team. Why? Because Russell Westbrook is also an-out-of-this-world talent who attacks in many of the same ways that K.D. does, but K.D. is better. As a non-traditional point guard, Westbrook’s style has been criticized, and many wonder if he can co-exist with Durant. But they are finding their groove and buy into the ideas of coach Scott Brooks. They are committed to the team, and that should take them very far.

The Miami Heat though…(pause for snickers at the screen)…don’t quite get it. James and Wade still attack in the same way. They may buy into Erik Spoelstra’s ideals about defense, but utilizing the players off the ball has been an issue for some time now. The leader of this team is Dwayne Wade. But Lebron is the potential MVP. One of them has to cede control, and it won’t be Wade. But Lebrons “cajones” will be decimated in the court of public opinion (they already have, I know). Without that Jordan-Pippen idea, (Soup Nazi voice) “No rings for you!”

Rule #3: Have a fourth.

This rule defies common logic, I know. But hear me out. These trios, as great as they are, have a fourth that puts them over the top. Again, the Heatles don’t have that (in fact, I can only count a Big 2. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Chris Bosh, please call the Miami Heat. They’re worried sick). The Lakers had, and do have, a multitude of fourths including Lamar Odom (interesting impending free agent situation brewing there), Derek Fisher (so very clutch), Ramon Sessions, and Ron Artest Metta World Peace (Adam Morrison, Jason Kapono, Luke Walton, and Troy Murphy barely missed the cut). The Celtics have Rondo (18 consecutive games with at least 10 assists), the Spurs have whoever-they-choose-to-plug-in-because-they-develop-players-so-well-for-their-roles-that-they-can-rotate-anybody-in-and-get-worthwhile-production, and the Thunder have James Harden (really not fair that your Big 3, er 4, is comprised of great picks that are all under the age of 23, all under contract, and all love playing for each other). Having that fourth to contribute to your Big 3 is rather helpful.

That second rule may be the most important. The relationships between the players is very, very important. Still, it’s fun to see what becomes of these Big 3s. Especially if Steve Nash becomes a member of the Heat (seriously, if that happens, they should change the stat of “assists” to “nashes” because I can only imagine the amount of dimes he can hand out to Lebron, Wade, and that other guy in the half court. And don’t even consider what fast breaks would look like. You won’t be able to sleep if you’re a fan of a team not named the Heat.)

Off to bed. Have a good night.

God bless.

A.D.A.

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