Go to work Goran! You're our best hope. Time to unleash the Dragon!

On Monday, I introduced SB Nation's NBA3on3 Tournament. In response to the possibility of 3-on-3 basketball being added to the 2016 Olympics, every NBA blog on the network is putting together their own 3-on-3 team made up of players currently on their teams' rosters. Nationality and current injuries are not taken into account, so anybody on the roster is fair game. In the real thing teams also include a sub, but for this event we're going to stick with the top three players.

Once all the rosters are in, they will be seeded and placed in a 32-team bracket. A panel of six SB Nation bloggers will judge each match-up and set the odds. The winners will be determined by a roll of the die, so there is still hope even if a team seems outmatched. Ultimately, we are going to have one team left standing and one blog will earn all the bragging rights.

For this exercise, we are assuming basic FIBA rules will be followed. Games will be played in the halfcourt and shots will be worth 2 and 3 points (rather than the 1 and 2 points currently used for the real FIBA 3-on-3 games). A 12-second shot clock will be used. The winner will be either the team with more points at the end of a ten-minute period or the first team to score 31 points, whichever comes first.

Now that the rules and background information are out of the way, it's time for the fun part. Let's pick our squad!

1) Goran Dragic

  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
  • 2011-12 Basic Stats (as a starter): 18 PPG, .490 FG%, .379 3FG%, .839 FT%, 3.5 RPG, 8.4 APG, 1.8 SPG
  • 2011-12 Advanced Stats: .567 TS%, .518 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 106 DRtg, .139 WS/48, 1.55 WP48

Dragic is an obvious pick for this team. He's arguably the best player on the entire roster, so he has that going for him. He's also the best shot-creator in the backcourt and somebody on the team will need to handle the ball after all. Dragic isn't a perfect fit for 3-on-3 as he loves to get out in transition, but even without that part of his game he brings a lot to the table.

Versatility is a great thing to have in 3-on-3 ball, and Dragic certainly has that. He has the size and athleticism to match up with both point guards and shooting guards defensively. He's great with the ball in his hands but he can also play off the ball if he needs to. He can shoot from outside, finish in the paint with floaters and runners and can also take it all the way to the rack. He can run the pick-and-roll or create a shot all by himself in isolation. And we all know he can get hot in a hurry. Remember this?


2) Marcin Gortat

  • Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds
  • 2011-12 Basic Stats: 15.4 PPG, .555 FG%, .649 FT%, 10 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.5 BPG
  • 2011-12 Advanced Stats: .578 TS%, .555 eFG%, 115 ORtg, 103 DRtg, .172 WS/48, .190 WP48

Luis Scola has a valid claim for this spot as his skill-set would fit in very well on a 3-on-3 team, but in the end Gortat was simply a much better player last year and so I have to go with the Polish Machine.

Gortat is very mobile for a big man and should be able to cover both power forwards and centers pretty well. He is an elite pick-and-roll finisher (1.23 points per possession according to MySynergySports.com) and would play very well with Dragic. Gortat is also solid enough as a cutter, post player, mid-range shooter and offensive rebounder that opponents would have to respect him even when he's not rolling to the basket after setting a pick. Finally, Gortat is pretty decent passer for a big man, an important trait for 3-on-3 basketball.


3) Jared Dudley

  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 225 pounds
  • 2011-12 Basic Stats: 12.7 PPG, .485 FG%, .383 3FG%, .726 FT%, 4.6 RPG, 1.7 APG
  • 2011-12 Advanced Stats: .575 TS%, .547 eFG%, 115 ORtg, 109 DRtg, .121 WS/48, .162 WP48

Michael Beasley was the runaway winner of Monday's poll with over 50 percent of the vote. However, after looking at all the data and spending a lot of time thinking about it, it is clear that Dudley is simply a much more effective basketball player, despite the gap in athleticism or perceived natural talent.

Beasley is certainly more capable of taking over a game than Dudley is. However, Beasley's dominant games are few and far between, while Dudley's performance is much more consistent. I am not a judge, but if I were I'm not sure I'd be willing to judge this team as if Beasley was locked in and feeling it, since the opposite is true far more often. Therefore, I chose the more reliable Dudley to complete our squad.

Dudley will probably be one of the least athletic wings in this entire tournament, but that hasn't stopped him yet in his NBA career. Dudley again provides versatility, with the ability to defend multiple positions and hold his own in almost any match-up. He is a very smart player that understands what it takes to win and will do anything the team needs him to. Dudley is one of the best spot-up shooters in the NBA (1.21 PPP). The former collegiate power forward can still do work in the post and is very effective on the offensive glass. He is a much-improved ball-handler and has also developed the ability to shoot running off of screens. Basically, he can do a little bit of everything, and with top notch efficiency to boot.


Bringing it All Together

What this team lacks in big names and top-end athleticism it more than makes up for in basketball IQ, hustle and chemistry. All three of my choices are smart players who can complement each other well.

A Dragic-Gortat pick-and-roll could be devastating for their opponents, especially with Dudley in the corner waiting to shoot the open 3-ball should his man collapse on Gortat. With only three defenders on the court, Dragic should have plenty of driving lanes as well.

I can see a lot of give-and-goes and back-door cuts involving Dragic as well. And if the clock starts to run down, Dragic can always put his head down and drive to the basket.

The Suns may not have any individually dominant players, but as a team, Dragic, Gortat and Dudley would be pretty darn tough for any team to slow down.


Now I know it has been a very heated debate here at Bright Side as to how good (or rather how bad) the Suns will be this coming season.

Most of us have a tendency to be overly optimistic while some are all doom and gloom. I came across this article at NBA.com that sums up our discussion nicely and puts it in perspective.

The author emphasizes the fact, that this season is the beggining of a process, but finds some hope in validity of the foundations for this roster change.

For me the main point he makes, is that most of the new additions to our roster are players with "something to prove". It rings true for an ageing vet like Scola, a proven commodity still refining his game like Gortat and first and foremost to draft busts - Beasley and Johnson. The author's perspective further validates the makeover stating what still isn't that obvious for most fans here - the conference finals were rather an overachievement on our part than a prelude to a championship team.

It sounds reasonable, that the personnel we've had wasn't enough to get us to the finals (hell, even conference finals) in upcoming seasons. We've had great players (on and off the court), beautiful uptempo offensive style and a lot of highlight reel material, but IT SIMPLY WASN'T ENOUGH. In part, it came down to a lack of above average centers, in part - tough opposition. You could argue that the sytem was just not good enough to take us all the way to the top (few centers would be able to fit in perfectly into an uptempo style of play).

For Blinebury the new foundations are sound. But the success hinges on one guy - Michael Beasley. If he can be an MVP on this team in terms of production and effectiveness the Suns are playoff bound. However, in all likeliness, he will fold, like he did multiple times in his 5 years in the league and we will get another draft pick.

All in all his article seems to be a fair asessment of the current state of affairs with one serious positive thought - coming seasons will only be better, how much better, seems to be the only question.

Now I know it has been a very heated debate here at Bright Side as to how good (or rather how bad) the Suns will be this coming season.

Most of us have a tendency to be overly optimistic while some are all doom and gloom. I came across this article at NBA.com that sums up our discussion nicely and puts it in perspective.

The author emphasizes the fact, that this season is the beggining of a process, but finds some hope in validity of the foundations for this roster change.

For me the main point he makes, is that most of the new additions to our roster are players with "something to prove". It rings true for an ageing vet like Scola, a proven commodity still refining his game like Gortat and first and foremost to draft busts - Beasley and Johnson. The author's perspective further validates the makeover stating what still isn't that obvious for most fans here - the conference finals were rather an overachievement on our part than a prelude to a championship team.

It sounds reasonable, that the personnel we've had wasn't enough to get us to the finals (hell, even conference finals) in upcoming seasons. We've had great players (on and off the court), beautiful uptempo offensive style and a lot of highlight reel material, but IT SIMPLY WASN'T ENOUGH. In part, it came down to a lack of above average centers, in part - tough opposition. You could argue that the sytem was just not good enough to take us all the way to the top (few centers would be able to fit in perfectly into an uptempo style of play).

For Blinebury the new foundations are sound. But the success hinges on one guy - Michael Beasley. If he can be an MVP on this team in terms of production and effectiveness the Suns are playoff bound. However, in all likeliness, he will fold, like he did multiple times in his 5 years in the league and we will get another draft pick.

All in all his article seems to be a fair asessment of the current state of affairs with one serious positive thought - coming seasons will only be better, how much better, seems to be the only question.




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We'll need Goran to unleash to Dragon for any shot in this 3-on-3 tournament.

Inspired by this story about the possibility of 3-on-3 basketball being added as an Olympic event for the 2016 games, we here at SB Nation have decided to host our own 3-on-3 tournament. No, that doesn't man you'll get to see myself, Leiland and 7footer team up and lace up our sneakers (although we'd totally kick butt).

No, it's not a blogger 3-on-3 tournament. Instead, each NBA blog is going to pick three of the players on its teams current roster to field a team. The team will then compete (on paper) against the other 29 NBA blog teams, a team of unsigned and international players put together by Scott Schroeder and a squad of probable 2013 draft picks selected by Andrew Sharp.

I think it's fair to say Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat are the two best players and locks for the team. However, after those two, I struggle to find a clear number three player on the roster.

Should we pick a standard point guard-wing-big line-up? If so, Dudley might be the most versatile wing on the team. He can shoot from the perimeter (you always need a shooter in 3-on-3), post up a little bit, crash the boards and even handle the ball some. Dudley could be a great complementary player to the two-man game between Dragic and Gortat. Would Dudley make the team better?

Is Michael Beasley the guy? He's a former No. 2 draft selection who hasn't quite found his way in the NBA. But there has to be some talent there if he was taken that high, right? Perhaps Beasley's game is better-suited for 3-on-3 play rather than the 5-on-5 action of the NBA. With only 3 defenders on the court,there should be more driving lanes and it should be easier to finish in the paint. There is also more room for isolation play. Should Beasley be the guy?

Or how about Luis Scola? Perhaps we should go with the twin towers look and overwhelm opponents with size and skill. We can post Scola up on the block or run some high-low action with he and Gortat. Scola already has great chemistry with Dragic as well. Would Scola be the best fit?

Do we need someone who can both defend inside and space the floor? Channing Frye could be pretty devastating spotting up in the corner while Dragic and Gortat run the pick-and-roll in the middle. There's no one to rotate over if his man has to leave him to stop Gortat rolling to the hoop. Does Frye have a spot on the team?

Or how about young Markieff Morris? He struggled as a rookie but showed some flashes and was pretty dominant in Summer League play this year. He is a very versatile scorer who can shoot from outside, post-up smaller players and face up on bigger guys and take them off the dribble. He was a pretty bad defender as a rookie, but with a year under his belt I expect to see improvement, and I think he could probably defend wings and stretch-fours better than the other two bigs. Do you like Morris as the third man?

I'm not a fan of the twin-towers look in 3-on-3, especially with the size and athleticism of some of the wings on opposing rosters. I'm looking for a guy with versatility, who can match up with either bigs or wings as every team they face will be different. I also want someone who can shoot from outside, handle a little bit to help out Dragic and can hold their own both on the glass an defensively. There's nobody that perfectly fits that template on the roster, but the three guys I see as the best fit are Dudley, Beasley and Morris.

I've said my piece. Now it's your turn Bright Siders. Who deserves that third spot? Remember to take all factors into consideration. We're looking for the best fit, not necessarily the best player (especially considering there isn't anybody clearly better than the rest of the group.

Don't just vote in the poll, though. It's not a guarantee that I choose the poll winner. I already have an idea of who I'm going to pick. So it's your job to convince me that your guy deserves to be on the team. Make your voice heard in the comments.

Poll
Who is your choice for the Suns' third man?

  722 votes | Results


Still a slow time of the year. Not much happening till mid-month, when players start arriving for voluntary workouts before training camp.

A couple of things to talk about this week, in random order:

1) The Suns are apparently interested (at least mildly, at the vet min) in former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa. Why? With Brown/Dudley set to share SG duties, and new recruits Beasley/Johnson/Tucker at SF, whose minutes would Barbosa take? Think about this from the FO perspective - they signed everyone in the wing rotation this summer except Jared Dudley, who was already under a great contract. What are they thinking, when expressing interest in Barbosa?

2) Suns C Marcin Gortat is playing well for Poland, but the rest of his national team is just not very good. They are 2-2 so far in qualifying for the Eurobasket 2013, with 4 games left (Last game on September 8). They have a very good chance of finishing well, especially if former Suns Maciej Lampe returns to action soon (out with minor injury).

3) Jared Dudley tweets that this is his final week in Vegas before returning to Phoenix for the season. He is not partying, rather he's playing daily pickups games and working out hard with other NBA players. His biggest diversion seems to be movies. I've been wondering who would organize Suns workouts in Phoenix this fall - maybe its Dudley?

4) Anything else?

Ready...set...talk!

Still a slow time of the year. Not much happening till mid-month, when players start arriving for voluntary workouts before training camp.

A couple of things to talk about this week, in random order:

1) The Suns are apparently interested (at least mildly, at the vet min) in former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa. Why? With Brown/Dudley set to share SG duties, and new recruits Beasley/Johnson/Tucker at SF, whose minutes would Barbosa take? Think about this from the FO perspective - they signed everyone in the wing rotation this summer except Jared Dudley, who was already under a great contract. What are they thinking, when expressing interest in Barbosa?

2) Suns C Marcin Gortat is playing well for Poland, but the rest of his national team is just not very good. They are 2-2 so far in qualifying for the Eurobasket 2013, with 4 games left (Last game on September 8). They have a very good chance of finishing well, especially if former Suns Maciej Lampe returns to action soon (out with minor injury).

3) Jared Dudley tweets that this is his final week in Vegas before returning to Phoenix for the season. He is not partying, rather he's playing daily pickups games and working out hard with other NBA players. His biggest diversion seems to be movies. I've been wondering who would organize Suns workouts in Phoenix this fall - maybe its Dudley?

4) Anything else?

Ready...set...talk!


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