Ice Cube recently created a basketball league called the BIG3 League, something that has never been done before as it features retired NBA stars competing in 3-on-3 half court basketball.
Additionally, the Olympic committee announced earlier this summer that 3-on-3 basketball will now be included in the Olympics moving forward in addition to traditional 5-on-5.
With the BIG3 League recently coming to Los Angeles and Ice Cube admitting that he has been trying to convince one of the best players of all-time, Kobe Bryant, to join the league, it got the Lakers Nation staff thinking about what the best 3-on-3 team of all-time would look like.
Players from any era can be chosen, whether it be current or retired players, dead or alive, and they were chosen with the intention that they would be competing against other top players to ever play under today’s rules. Lets see the teams our staff was able to come up with:
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon
My all-time 3-on-3 team would be comprised of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kevin Garnett, which in my opinion, would be pretty unstoppable. The only drawback to this team would be a lack of a true 3-point threat, but their dominance everywhere else makes up for it.
The biggest thing I like about this team is the defensive versatility. Hakeem and Garnett are the two best defensive bigs of all-time, equally capable of protecting the rim and chasing around smaller players on the perimeter, while Jordan is a lockdown player who is very strong for his size and could hold his own against bigger players as well. No matter how many screens are set or switches are made, I feel confident my team can shut the opposition down.
Offensively they are still strong as Jordan could obviously get his shot any way he feels and the same could be said for Hakeem who had the best array of post moves the league has ever seen. Garnett could float around wherever necessary, hounding the offensive glass for putbacks or knocking down perimeter shots like he did his entire career.
I have a hard time believing anyone could touch this team.
Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane): Michael Jordan, LeBron James,
I’m going to assume that we are playing under BIG3 rules, which means a more physical game that includes hand checking. If that’s the case, I’m going to focus on players that have the physical strength to finish through contact as well as the playmaking and shooting ability to take whatever the defense gives them. Defensively, I want players who can switch with ease and have the kind of grit and toughness necessary for this kind of game.
So for my team, I’m going with prime Michael Jordan and LeBron James to start since both can be effective in multiple roles. James’ passing ability will allow him to essentially act as a guard on offense, while Jordan’s killer instinct could perhaps only be matched by Kobe Bryant, who I was sorely tempted to make my third player. Additionally, both James and Jordan are more than capable of playing the physical brand of basketball necessary to get the job done.
Rounding out my team, I decided a true big man would be the way to go, but opted to go away from a power big like Shaquille O’Neal, despite how dominant physically that team would be. I wanted someone with at least a little bit of range on their shot plus slightly more mobility, so I went with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Obviously the sky hook is a weapon, but prime Kareem also offers up the rim protection and rebounding that would make this team extremely difficult to defeat.
Eric Avakian (@EAvakian5): LeBron James, Kevin Durant,
The ultimate 3-on-3 team needs to have chemistry, selflessness and a desire to win. Even if they are facing mismatches, a defense that communicates can accommodate most situations. With that being said, my team won’t stick to the necessary guard, forward, center confines. Also want to point out that my team features a modern NBA 3-on-3 team, to try and combat the teams that will have many NBA legends.
My ball handler will be LeBron James, capable of switching any pick on defense and being able to put up a fight and contend. On the offensive side, he can penetrate and hit the rim harder than perhaps any NBA player in the history of the game. With the ability to also hit a three, he demands respect at all time.
My bonafide shooter is going to be Kevin Durant. Durant has so many things going for him that it’s hard not to recognize how useful he could be. His outstanding length and seemingly seven-foot figure would be the versatile on defense, as a primary option and someone that can play help side and interrupt passing lanes. His offense also provides the ultimate Swiss Army knife.
My last pick was a toss up, as I considered whether to go versatile with a guard or use a big man to provide the ultimate mismatch. In the end, a big man seems like the ultimate icing on top, considering how James and Durant can both defend smaller positions. At the same time, I had to consider matchups against dominant centers like Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon. With that being said, my last player would be DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins brings the necessary intensity to man the paint, while also having the physicality to guard O’Neal and Abdul-Jabbar. Cousins also has impressive ball handling and passing abilities, while being able to space the floor and knock down a three-pointer and mid-range jump shot.
With LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins on one squad, they provide the ultimate versatility, while all having the ability to space the floor for one another. Durant would require attention on the three-point line, while a pick-and-roll featuring Cousins and James would be tough to defend.
Nick Torres (@Nickotee): Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony
In the world of three versus three basketball it is always fun to imagine players that could form a potent trio. There are many great players past and present that could do well in the three versus three setting but I would argue that the most entertaining and maybe unbeatable team would be Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Carmelo Anthony.
I understand that is a bit of an odd combination but the skillset among the three would be tough for anybody to counteract. The speed of Iverson, the magic of Kobe, and the strength of Anthony would be lethal. It would be fascinating to see them go against the likes of all-time greats. While we must likely never see them on the same team it is certainly fun to think about.
Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand): Magic Johnson, Larry Bird,
My perfect 3-on-3 team would consist of Magic Johnson, the best point guard to ever play, Larry Bird, one of the best shooters of all-time, and Shaquille O’Neal, the most dominant big man ever.
With Johnson running the offense he has the ability to get to the rim himself, throw it to O’Neal down low, who no player has ever been able to guard 1-on-1, or he also has the luxury of having a three-time MVP in Bird on the perimeter.
The pick-and-roll combination of Johnson and O’Neal would be unstoppable, and if defenders are somehow able to stop it then Bird would likely be standing by himself in the corner ready to knock down an open three.
Defensively all three players have tremendous size and athleticism, giving them the ability to switch everything. I have been watching the BIG3 League this summer and a lot of it comes down to defensive versatility and size, which no other team can compete with mine in that department.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015): Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal
Like some others are with their players, I’m extremely confident in my threesome. When putting together a 3-on-3 team, I believe key factors are having a score who can not only put the ball in the basket at will, but also make a tough shot.
Who better than Bryant? He’s a self-professed one-on-one player at heart, and we’ve seen countless times his ability to make one incredible shot after another. While it’s hardly his calling card, let’s not forget Bryant is capable of playing elite defense when he chooses.
Next, you’d want a versatile wing player who can play defense and stretch the floor. Durant does that and much more. He’s a matchup nightmare offensively and proved to be a strong defender last season. Whether behind the arc or in the mid-range and pinch-post, Durant can fill it up.
While the game has evolved to a shooter’s league, having a low-post presence, particularly in a half-court setting, can go a long way. That’s where the Most Dominant Ever comes into play.
The ball could be dumped to O’Neal whenever a high-percentage shot was needed, and he’d control the paint on the defensive side.
Scoring, shooting, versatility, dominant force. Good luck beating this team.