Wake Forest does not send a ton of guys to the NBA but their recent players have had some quality careers. It got me thinking; would they win a hypothetical 3 on 3 tournament against the alums of other top universities?
The first assumption is that this is discussing the professional careers of these players, not what they did in the collegiate game. Of course, an international team or high school team would crush any of these teams but they are not being included in this exercise.
Before we look at the teams, let's discuss the rules. Like any pickup 3 on 3 game, this game will played in a halfcourt setting, with the first team to 11 (by 1s and 2s), make it - take it with players calling their own fouls. The games will be a best of 3 series, with one series being played in a day, with the winners moving on to play another 3 game series the next day. In the mold of European soccer, the championship game will be a one game matchup.
I felt like seeding the teams and setting up a hypothetical bracket would not be a worthwhile exercise, as much of the debate would be centered around the seeding of the teams, instead of who would be the best team. I also did not want to inject my own bias into the debate from the start but allow you to decide who is the best team. I will discuss a few of my thoughts on each team as we goalong but nothing too indepth at this moment.
You will see the teams in alphabetical order, after putting our own Wake team first in the list. The teams are composed of 4 players, which would obviously allow for one substitute in a three on three tournament. For the most part, I selected the four best players, although I did make some exceptions if one team needed a ball handler or a big man and it was a toss up between somewhat comparable players. If you want to change the makeup of a team if it would influence your decision, feel free to do so.
One last note before we get to the teams: You have to take the players where they are in terms of age but you can assume they are 100% healthy. For example, even though Caron Butler is out for the year, we are going to assume he is healthy for this exercise but keep in mind he is 31. Same goes for a matchup like Tim Duncan against Kevin Love: Duncan has had the better career to date but he is much older. Can he handle this many games in a short period of time?
Now that we have the schematics figured out, let's get to the teams I selected.
Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, Josh Howard, James Johnson
I really like how Johnson has played since his trade to Toronto as he is finally getting a chance to show what he can do. I personally think this could be the strongest team but let's look at the other 15 teams.
Andre Igoudala, Richard Jefferson, Jason Terry, Channing Frye
This is a team I think would thrive in a an uptempo game, which is hard to play in a halfcourt setting. How will this aging team react to this many games?
JJ Redick, Loul Deng, Elton Brand, Shane Battier
I decided to add Battier in over some other players since I like what intangibles he can still bring to a team. Feel free to argue that someone else should be added in his spot.
Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Mike Miller
A big roster that will cause as many matchup problems as they face. If you take away Horford, they may struggle to score.
Kirk Hinrich, Paul Pierce, Nick Collison, Brandon Rush
Not a very strong team from a great basketball school, which is kind of surprising.
This athletic team could pose big matchup issues with some teams. They can go small with Rondo/Wall/Prince or a little bigger with Prince and Cousins on the court at the same time.
Marcus Thornton, Anthony Randolph, Tyrus Thomas, Shaquille O'Neal
Thorton is turning into a scorer but Randolph and Thomas have shown they are more athletes instead of players and they round out the team with an aging Shaq. In my mind, they are a Cinderella team if they win a few matchups.
Not much here outside of Rose and Evans but that may just be enough.
Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph, Morris Peterson, Shannon Brown
Not much to see here in my opinion.
Jonny Flynn, Carmelo Anthony, Wesley Johnson, Hakim Warrick
Do you think Carmelo and serviceable but not great teammates around him is enough for him once again?
DJ Augustin, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson
A very strong team, especially with Aldridge's recent emergence. One of the top teams, in my opinion.
Another juggernaut filled with young stars. Quite the formidable foursome.
Ben Gordon, Ray Allen, Caron Butler, Emeka Okafor
Several good perimeter players but they don't have a whole lot of size on the interior.
Several solid players but no stars.
Nick Young, OJ Mayo, Taj Gibson, Demar Derozan
Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Spencer Hawes, Jon Brockman
A healthy Roy paints this team in a pretty decent setting.
I think a Final Four of Wake Forest, Texas, UCLA and Florida would be a fun final grouping to watch. What do you guys think? Hopefully this will spark some fun dialogue.