Friday, May 29, 2020

3-on-3 basketball is coming to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Give us your choices for rosters.

Three-on-three basketball is coming to the Tokyo Olympics next year. It is still unknown if current NBA players will get involved, but for the sake of discussion, what players from past Celtics teams, playing at peak level,ย  would make up the optimum 3-on-3 team. The teams will have one substitute, so we need four players. Because of the nature of the game, and limited participants, versatility is key – ball handling, shooting, rebounding, passing and defense. Here’s my All-Time Celtics 3-on-3 crew:

Kevin Garnett, Larry Bird, John Havlicek and Dennis Johnson. Where’s Bill Russell you ask. He lacks outside shooting. Why Dennis Johnson? Because with his Celtics stint, he was under-rated – by a lot. He could do it all. And we needed more ball-handling and passing.

How about choosing four guys from the present Celts roster. Think versatility here, not just All-Star appearances, shooting expertise or defensive intensity. Here are my choices:

Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. Yes, this is small ball taken to an extreme, but I don’t see any of Boston’s bigs making the roster here. Daniel Theis? Maybe, but both Tatum and Hayward are the same height as Daniel (6’8″). And before you bring up Smart’s long-range accuracy, I’ll remind you that he hit 36.4% of his 3-pointers last season. That’s better than Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward.

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Okay, here we go with the four 3-on-3 players chosen from the current NBA rosters. This is a tough call. I’ll do the best I can:

Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Anthony Davis and James Harden. Giannis Antetokounmpo is out for the same reason as Bill Russell – lack of outside shooting. Steph Curry was a tough ommision. Readers may have their own choices.

Be aware there is a 12-second shot clock and the game is half-court. Action is fast. Shots beyond the arc count for two points, double the one point for shots taken inside the arc. In the NBA, the 3-pointer counts only 50% more than the 2-point shots. Thus, long range shots have more value as compared to the NBA.

Visit the comment section to give your additions, subtractions and critiques.

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6 Comments

Tom Lane July 23, 2019 at 10:44 pm

From Milton Cram – The Tokyo Olympics is going to have a three on three basketball medal pretty cool .There will be four players on each team .Using only the Celtics please send me your all time Celtic four .Here are my picks Larry Bird because he wants it more than any player who ever played.in my opinion Kevin Mchale would not be my choice in a full court game too slow but I think in half court his height and one of the best over under moves that there ever was .that leaves us with an outside shooter I am going with pistol Pete he is not necessarily the best play maker he never saw a shot he did not like but at the end of the day tremendous shooter since I only have one more player I do need a playmaker who has basketball smarts I choose Dennis Johnson I believe one of the smartest players and a great play maker there you have it letโ€™s see what you guys think

Tom Lane July 24, 2019 at 9:25 am

Lisa Lane McCarty Thanks, Milt! Hope all is well with you! I donโ€™t like the idea of going up against the two super basketball brains of you and my dad but…if itโ€™s 3 on 3…Iโ€™m going with Bird, John Havlicek and Paul Pierce. I think Pierce continues to be underrated in talks of the best Celtics of all time. Havlicek was fast, great defender and could handle the ball. And Bird needs no explanation of course

Tom Lane July 24, 2019 at 9:27 am

Bird is definite. So is Dennis. He tempered and altered his game amid the Big 3 of Bird, Parish and McHale. The Pistol I left out because of his brief stint with Boston, but I loved his game. Flashy, but effective. With 2 ball handlers (3 counting Bird), McHale could fit. But I still like Havlicek’s constant motion and 2-way game. And I am a huge fan of The Big Ticket. Tough one.

David Anthopoulos July 24, 2019 at 9:56 am

Suggest putting in Paul Pierce for Dennis Johnson.

David Anthopoulos July 24, 2019 at 10:02 am

Suggest Pierce instead of Johnson.

Tom Lane July 24, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Brian FlemingJuly 24, 2019 at 7:59 AM
I think for the all-time Cs team, I would go with Bird, Pierce, Hondo, and KG. I don’t think a point guard would really be needed when you only have a 12-second shot clock, and pretty much every guy I have selected would be able to handle the ball at times, but maybe not KG as much. The defense would be there with this squad and there would be plenty of passing, rebounding, and scoring ability.

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