Mid-Season Rewards – BIG3


Can you believe we’re already halfway through the BIG3 regular season? If the season ended today, here are the players I would put at the top of the list:

MVP – Jason Richardson, Tri State

24 hours ago I would have put Kevin Murphy there – I’ll talk about him in a moment. However, the more I looked at everything, the more obvious it became that J-Rich was the league’s most valuable player in the first half of the season.

Richardson missed Game 1 of the 2022 season and Tri State lost that game by a final score of 50-35 when they played Power.

Richardson returned to the team in Week 2 and Tri State defeated 3’s Company 51-35. The following week they beat the Killer 3 50-38. In Week 4, they defeated the Ball Hogs by a final score of 50-44. In other words, Tri State lost the game they played without Richardson by 15 points and won all three games they played with their captain in the lineup by a total of 34 points.

Richardson’s per-game numbers aren’t soaring, but his efficiency is. Through the first four games of the season, Richardson put up 18.7 points per game with 62.9% shooting from the ground and 50.0% from three-pointers. (He also had the only four-point shot he’s made so far.) That’s something out of the ordinary. Only four players have a higher FG% than Richardson this season, and they’ve made a combined three-pointer between them — Richardson has made eight.

Richardson also deserves a lot of credit for what he does defensively. The 6’6 Richardson, who played center growing up, is a physical and versatile defender capable of handling any game.

So far, Tri State has given up fewer points than any other BIG3 team, despite their favored formation being Richardson, swingman DaJuan Summers and 6’0 Justin Dentmon, one of the smallest players in the game. the league. (NB – since the FIREBALL3 format means you are no longer allowed to play offense after allowing your opponent to score 50 points, a good offense can literally double as a good defense, but I promise Tri State the brings to both ends of the floor.)

There is also the question of Richardson’s leadership. In every game their captain has been on the court, Tri State have looked as sharp as any team in the league, consistently running sets, finding the counters when their initial action is defended and setting each other up for open shots. through screening and passage. instead of relying on isolation basketball. Defending Coach of the Year Julius Erving, of course, deserves a lot of credit for that, but the effects of Richardson’s leadership are evident.

Like I said above, it was hard not to give 3HM’s Kevin Murphy the green light here. He leads the league in total points and points per game and led the 3 Headed Monsters to a 3-1 record despite team captain Rashard Lewis missing the last two games, both won by 3HM. He is the very definition of a walking bucket and has certainly taken on a bigger offensive role than Richardson. He also averaged an impressive 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, and turned it over less than once per game.

I gave Richardson the go-ahead right now because of his incredible efficiency and the stark difference in how Tri State plays with their ground captain. Honestly, though, I’d just flip a coin and name the midseason MVP based on how he lands.

Also, don’t forget Iso-Joe. The reigning two-time MVP missed a game and didn’t make much of an impact in Week 2, but he’s dropped 30 points in two of the three games he’s played this season, even though his sweater didn’t not dropped as much. as it has done in the past. In no way underestimate the possibility of Johnson winning his third consecutive MVP.

Rookie of the Year – Gerald Green, Bivouac

Honestly, there’s not much discussion to be had here. With all due respect to No. 1 pick Glen Rice Jr., who leads Power in scoring with his ability to make any shot at any time against any defense and hit a very impressive 8, 3 rebounds per game, Green has been on another level.

The numbers are quite impressive. Green is averaging 23.3 points per game (3rd in the league) and 7.5 rebounds per game (8th in the league). He also does this with remarkable efficiency and is currently shooting 47.3% from the field and 45.2% from beyond the arc. The latter is particularly impressive since he leads the BIG3 with 14 trios made.

He makes it look so easy. When one of his teammates gets a defensive rebound, they sprint to the corner for the pass and usually get up for a three-point shot before the defense realizes what’s going on. In half-court situations, he can get up and use his fine shot to drive it home if a defender gives him anything resembling space.

Via Ballislife

If the defense plays on him, he’ll overtake them and soar through the air for a spectacular edge finish. He has an easier time throwing jump punches than I do putting my keys in the airport security line bowl. I just want to know what it’s like to be able to play basketball like Gerald Green for a day. I would give a year of my life. When he gets up, he must see an ocean of nylon. If Bivouac wasn’t 1-3 (and as a reminder, all of their losses have been exactly three points), he’d be a serious MVP contender.

Defensive Player of the Year – Deshawn Stephens, Aliens

A ton of credit for the Aliens’ 3-1 start goes to what the team’s three European players brought to the team, but the Aliens experience wouldn’t work without Deshawn Stephens. The Los Angeles native is technically 6’8 tall, but he has a wingspan of 7’3 and he takes off from the ground in the time it takes a hummingbird to flap its wings. The LA native has been a beast of a shot blocker and rebounder throughout a career that has taken him to four continents, and that hasn’t changed in the BIG3.

Stephens is averaging a league-high 10.8 rebounds per game and simply owns the paint at both ends of the floor. In the Aliens’ Week 4 game against Trilogy, perhaps the most physical team in the league, Stephens managed to win the Aliens by battling in the trenches and managing to pull off 19 rebounds.

An argument could be made here for Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session, who is 6’2 but is somehow second only to Stephens in rebounds per game, as he manages to grab 8.5 boards per game. He also averages one steal per game and is usually all over the pitch at all times. Frank Nitty has failed to advance his perimeter game so far this season (he’s shooting 40.5% from the floor and 12.5% ​​from 3-pointers), but the way Session leads the Killer 3 for example with his energy and physique makes him a special player.

4th Man of the Year – TJ Cline, Power

Coach Nancy Lieberman starts the game with a lineup of Royce White, Glen Rice Jr. and captain Cuttino Mobley, but the team was at their best when Mobley rests and Power plays his double lineup with Cline, White and Rice.

Cline and Rice’s combined skills negate all the traditional downsides of getting big. The 6’8 White is willing and able to intimidate his man in the post if he gets a lag, but he’s also one of the best passers in the league.

For his part, Cline, like White, is a savvy passer. He may also be the best big man in the league off the ball. On board games, he knows exactly when and where to place a screen in a timely manner. In the course of the game, he is constantly on the move. He finds openings for drapes with cuts. He’ll fake a screen and catch the defense napping for a layup. If all else fails, he can go out and hit all three open.

He does not waste his possessions. He is currently shooting 62.9% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range. He returned the ball a grand total of once during the 2022 season.

Finally, Cline has a sixth sense of what to do in “unclear” situations, FIREBALL3’s version of a quick break – when a team gains possession after an opposing team fails to touch. the edge for some reason, she doesn’t have to clear the ball before shooting. Most players take a bit of getting used to, but Cline isn’t most players.

If he bounces off a shot that didn’t hit the ledge under the basket, he goes straight up and lays it home. If he catches a long airball bounce or recovers a turnover away from the basket, he knows to seek out a teammate (usually Royce White) and feed him for a layup. If a teammate recovers the ball in a similar situation, they fly to the edge and place the lay-up on a pass from the teammate who recovered the ball.

Cline is the son of Power Coach Nancy Lieberman, and Coach Lieberman should certainly be proud of him as a coach and mother. However, she should also be proud of herself as a talent scout, as she was able to nab a true impact player with Power’s second-round pick in the 2022 BIG3 Draft.

Coach of the Year – Rick Mahorn, Aliens

The Aliens have a share of the league’s best record at 3-1, and much of their success is down to the fact that they brought a whole new style of play to FIREBALL3. Their European-influenced attacking style is a symphony of cuts, off-the-ball screens, feints and extra passes.

Most of the teams they faced in 2022 just didn’t know how to handle the Aliens’ style. It’s unlikely they could play this way without their trio of European players (captain Dusan Bulut and co-captains Karlis Lasmanis and Tomislav Ivosev), but coach Mahorn deserves a ton of credit for his willingness to bring that style of play to the BIG3.

Too Hard to Keep – Chris Johnson, Ghost Ballers

He’s 6’11, plays like a guard, can make contact and finish in the paint, has a nice fade from midrange and has reach to the three-point line – he even swept a four points in both Week 3 and Week 4. If he goes there, especially from the outside, there is absolutely nothing to do.


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