Feb 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) loses Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (3) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
We've got another cool SBNation series of posts going up throughout the NBA blogs today. Today's theme is a 3 on 3 tournament. Basically, I was asked to pick three players from the Cleveland Cavaliers' roster that would represent the team in this hypothetical 3 on 3 tournament.
Since this is just a hypothetical, the rules aren't super specific. But we do know that you can only have three players and that we're pretending the game would be played in only the halfcourt. In other words, there won't be big fast breaks or whatever. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get down to picking the team.
The first slot on the team is taken by Kyrie Irving -- that's obvious. He's the best player on the Cavs. He has ridiculous ball-handling abilities and he'd be downright impossibly to stop with the added room to operate in this setup. With only 3 defenders on the other team, he'd basically just drive to the basket nonstop. But now we have the tough part -- who joins him?
Tristan Thompson -- The case for putting Tristan on the team would be that he's big, athletic, and can protect the rim. If you run pick and rolls with Tigger and Kyrie, it'd be tough to stop. We basically want him there to catch alley-oops, block shots, and hold his own in post defense. He's a real possibility. The downside is that he isn't particularly skilled, yet. You aren't going to just toss him the ball and let him post up unless he has an enormous mismatch.
Anderson Varejao -- We need at least one big man on the team so Andy gets consideration. He'd be a monster on the boards and is one of the more versatile defenders that the Cavs have. He can defend opposing big man and is very good at pick and roll defense. Considering the format, his offensive rebounding and defensive flexibility makes him an intriguing option.
Tyler Zeller -- If we're looking for a more skilled big man, we could go with Zeller. He's got more of an offensive game and could step out and knock down some jumpers to draw the defense away from the hoop. This would create more lanes for Kyrie.
Alonzo Gee -- You know that a lot of the teams in this tournament will have good scoring wings. How do you counter that? You bring a good defensive wing. Having Gee to slow down the opponents top scorer would be nice. The problem about using Gee is that the fastbreak is basically eliminated and he isn't very good in the halfcourt. He doesn't shoot well enough to really be a viable offensive option.
Dion Waiters -- Personally, I think Dion is perfect for this type of thing. His skill set is based on breaking people down off the dribble and getting to the basket. That's pretty much exactly what you need in a halfcourt game. Putting Waiters next to Irving sets up two guys who can drive and score -- that's hard to defend. The downside of picking Waiters is that you've now got a very small team. If you have Irving, Waiters, and a big man -- who's going to defend Kevin Durant? Or Carmelo Anthony? Or even a guy like Harrison Barnes?
After a few minutes of pondering, I have come up with the team that I think would perform the best and also be the most fun to watch (I admit, I put a bit more emphasis on the latter portion). Here's what we're going with:
Kyrie Irving because who's going to stop him?
Dion Waiters because they're going to put the best defender on Kyrie allowing Dion to have his way with whoever else they have.
Anderson Varejao because he can defend the pick and roll as well as post-ups. He'll grab offensive rebounds, get Kyrie extra possessions, and hustle his ass off.
Tell me why my team would get smoked by your team. There's certainly no right or wrong combination (unless you don't pick Kyrie), so feel free to mix and match. There's viable arguments to be made for a bunch of players. If a team has two big men, we're screwed. But then again, wouldn't it be hilarious seeing Dion or Ky cross up Pau Gasol?