2022 BIG3 Draft Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn May 26, 2022
Pick #1: Power, Glen Rice Jr.
WIth the first pick of the draft, Coach Nancy Lieberman opted for versatility:
Glen Rice Jr. had a short NBA career before making his mark around the world. In 2018, The Georgia Tech alum was the Israeli League top scorer, the Israeli Cup MVP, and won the Israeli Cup. He’s also spent time in the G-League, and won the G-League championship in 2013. Other stops on his journey include Saudi Arabia, Argentina, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Standing at 6’6 and at just 31 years old, the extremely well-traveled Rice could be an impact player in the BIG3.
A luxury Power had coming into the draft was the ability to pick for talent instead of need. Cuttino Mobley is a 6’4 professional scorer, Royce White is a 6’8 with all the skills of a point guard, and new signing Nikoloz Tskitishvilli is a 7-footer with a smooth 3-point stroke and the ability to score inside. A jack-of-all trades wing like Rice should be able to free up the players on Lieberman’s squad to play their own games and show off their considerable talents.
Pick #2: Aliens, DeShawn Stevens
DeShawn Stephens will add a new dimension to Aliens, especially on defense.
When Stephens was still at San Diego State, Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune said that Stephens “stands 6’8 but plays 7’4,” which is as good a way as any to summarize his game.
Stephens has a 7’3 wingspan, weighs in at 225 pounds, and is as athletic as the day is long – he even has a 2015 Slam Dunk Championship trophy back home. Stephens rarely ventures beyond the three-point arc, but gets plenty of points inside. He’s played in Japan, Turkey, France, Italy, Venezuela, and Israel, and has provided inside scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking wherever he’s gone.
In 2022, Stephens won the Bosnian Cup, so the 32-year old is clearly ready to contribute. The BIG3 tends to be a tough place for lumbering big men. That means a player like Stephens, who uses his wingspan and athleticism instead of pure size to be effective in the paint, could be the perfect big man for FIREBALL3.
With Coach Rick Mahorn and Aliens building around three highly skilled European players, a hyper-athletic big with physicality and the ability to play above the rim should slide right in with the Aliens.
Pick #3: Ghost Ballers, Darnell Jackson
The Ghost Ballers went for a true big man who’s already proven himself in the BIG3:
“D-Block” played for Power last season. He averaged a very solid 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 53.1% shooting from the field. Any team that takes Jackson should know exactly what they’re getting. After winning the 2009 NCAA Championship with Kansas and a 3-year career as an NBA rotation player, Jackson went around the globe, playing played in Europe, China, Venezuela, and the Philippines. At 6’9 and 253 pounds, Jackson is a lot to handle in the post, he has a soft touch from mid-range and can even step beyond the arc, and he’s mobile enough to stay on the court in FIREBALL3, which tends to punish slower players.
Jackson’s game seems to be a natural fit for FIREBALL3, and clearly the Ghost Ballers feel the same way.
Pick #4, Ball Hogs: Stacy Davis
There’s no question the Ball Hogs added some toughness and versatility with this pick:
At 6-6 and 244, Pepperdine Alum Stacy Davis doesn’t have the height of your typical center, but he makes up for it with a well-rounded game. After four years at Pepperdine, Davis played in Ukraine, France, Mexico, Slovakia, Finland, Hungary, and Poland, and has averaged at least 10 points and five rebounds per game everywhere he’s gone. In fact, the 27-year old appears to be getting better and better, as he’s averaged 15.3, 18.1, 18.0, and 17.8 points per game over his last four seasons.
Davis isn’t exactly a knock-down shooter, but he has to be respected from beyond the arc, and has consistently shot in the mid-30s from deep throughout his professional career. In short, Davis is a jack of all trades who can score inside, rebound, hit the outside shot when the situation calls for it, and be effective in just about any role he’s asked to play.
With Davis, Coach Rick Barry and Captain Leandro Barbosa will be getting a player with the mentality of a big and the speed and scoring skills of a guard – that’s never a bad combination.
Pick #5, 3’s Company: Julian Wright
There tends to be one common adjective when describing the players who have the most success in the BIG3: Versatility. As luck would have it, Julian Wright just happens to be versatility incarnate.
The 6’8, 225 pound Wright was taken with the 13th overall pick by the Hornets in the 2007 draft. Wright could do it all on a basketball court. He could play above the rim, put the ball on the floor, find his teammates, and step out and hit long jumpers. Unfortunately, he came into the league just before “positionless” basketball became the norm in the NBA, so his NBA career only lasted four years.
After that, Wright went overseas, playing in Israel, Russia, Greece, Puerto Rico, Italy, Turkey, France, and Taiwan.
He’s shown flashes of perimeter skills wherever he’s gone, but has never quite been a consistent outside shooter. What he has provided to teams all over the world is a player with the speed and athleticism of a wing and the inside impact of a big. He led the Isreili league in rebounding in 2015, and was a Turkish league All-Star in 2017.
Wright is also a BIG3 veteran. He played for Power in 2019, and spent last season with Bivouac. Expect Coach Michael Cooper to have a plan to get all he can out of the prodigiously talented Wright.
Pick #6, Triplets: Ryan Hollins
If you have size, athleticism, and energy, you’re going to have a job in professional basketball for a long, long time, and the BIG3 is no exception.
Ryan Hollins, who stands at 7 feet tall and has been controlling the space above the rim since he came out of UCLA in 2006, when he was taken with the 50th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
After a 10-year NBA Career, Hollins spent three years overseas before coming to the BIG3, where he’s spent the last three seasons. Hollins has never been a guy who puts up huge numbers, but he defends the paint and makes defenses constantly worry about the lob, which opens things up for his teammates on both sides of the floor.
Triplets Coach Lisa Leslie must be extremely excited for what Hollins’ size and energy can bring to her team next season – it’s never easy for a USC legend like Leslie to take a UCLA grad with their first pick.
Pick #7, Tri State: DaJuan Summers
Dr. J, who lost Earl Clark to Tri State in the offseason, took another versatile big with his first selection in the draft:
Georgetown alum DaJuan Summers will be throwing his hat into the ring. After being drafted with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Summers played 83 NBA games for the Pistons, Hornets, and Clippers before his international journey begun. He’s been a Turkish League All-Star, won the Ukrainian Basketball Cup, and was named to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup First Team. Summers stands at 6’8 and has the ability to hit the three. The BIG3 prizes versatility, so don’t be surprised if he catches on with a team.
Summers will be able to hold down the fort defensively when reigning Defensive Player of the Year takes a breather, punish teams inside, and punish teams if he’s left alone from beyond the arc.
Pick #8, Bivouac: Jeff Ayres
With a new coach and a new Captain, Bivouac is looking to turn things around from last season, when they went 0-6. To do that, they spent their first pick on big man Jeff Ayres.
Ayres, who was known as Jeff Pendergraph until he changed his name in the summer of 2013, stands at 6’9 and weighs an imposing 240 pounds. The Arizona State product was taken with the last pick of the 1st round in the 2009 NBA Draft. He spent six years in the league as a role player, and won a championship with the 2014 San Antonio Spurs. After his NBA career came to a close, he went overseas. The 35-year old has played in Russia, Turkey, and Japan. He almost never ventures outside the three-point line, but has provided interior toughness everywhere he’s gone.
Bivouac clearly felt they had enough scoring going into the draft, as they went with defense-first players with both of their picks. With new Captain Gerald Green and Ike Diogu on hand to fill up the basket, it’s hard to fault new coach Gary Payton’s attitude towards roster-building.
Pick #9, KIller 3s: Dominique Johnson
With “Frank Nitty” heading up the Killer 3s on the court, you would be forgiven for thinking they wouldn’t take a scorer with their first pick. Well, surprise: they took 34-year old Dominique Johnson, best described as the archetypal “walking bucket.”
Johnson, who spent time in the G-League before going overseas, has filled it up in Europe, Mexico, and Israel. He can get to the rim, knock down the deep ball, and is a dead-eye shooter from the free throw line.
With “Frank Nitty” and Johnson in the same backcourt, good luck guarding the Killer 3s next season, whom I very much suspect will live up to their team name.
Pick #10, Enemies: Sek Henry
Sek Henry is another player who can flat-out score, and him and team captain Nick Young are going to put a lot of pressure on defenses next season.
The 34-year old Henry, who stands at 6’4, has been a consistent scorer all around the world, and actually won the MVP of the Isreli League in 2018. He’s capable of getting to the rack and hitting the long jumper, and is generally a problem for anyone tasked with guarding him.
If nothing else, Young and Henry, along with Co-Captains Isaiah Austin and Elijah Stewart alongside them, should be must-watch basketball next season, especially with Coach Gilbert Arenas guiding them from the sidelines.
Pick #1, Ball Hogs: Kuran Iverson
After going with Stacy Davis in the first round, the Ball Hogs decided to double down on players who could provide an interior presence.
The 28-year old Iverson stands at 6’11 and has been a rebounding machine wherever he’s gone. In four years at Memphis and Rhode Island, Iverson averaged 14.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per 40 minutes, along with 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals for good measure. He has been a bit turnover-prone and isn’t the best shooter, but if you find yourself next to him in the paint, your day is about to take a turn for the worse.
Recently, Iverson thrived playing pro ball in New Zealand, averaging 17.9 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game in the 2018-19 season.
Rick Barry already has one of the best backcourts in the league in Leandro Barbosa and Jodie Meeks – with Davis and Iverson holding things down in the middle, there’s a good chance this will be the year the Ball Hogs break their playoff drought.
Pick #2, 3’s Company: Alex Scales
Three’s Company decided to spend their second-round pick on deadeye shooter Alex Scales, a 43-year old veteran who will stretch the floor for Mario Chalmers and BIG3 rookie Michael Beasley.
Listing all the places Scales and his silky-smooth stroke have played over his 22-year career might cause my computer to run out of memory. Suffice it to say that when Scales got to the BIG3 in 2019, he immediately established himself as one of the best shooters in the league, knocking down a tidy 45.0% of his shots from three-point range. Last season, he struggled with his shot a bit, but he’s still not someone to leave open under any circumstances. He also happens to have the nicest bag of trick shots in the entire BIG3, so make sure you get to your seat early if you have a ticket to a Three’s Company game.
The combination of Beasley powering his way towards the rim and Scales ready to catch and shoot if his man doubles down onto Beasley should already be giving opposing teams nightmares – for us fans, it’ll just be a pleasure to watch.
Pick #3, Enemies: Keith Benson
With their second-round pick, the Enemies went big with the 6’11, 240 pound Keith Benson.
Benson only played 9 NBA minutes. When he went overseas, he never got as much playing time as he likely deserved. I say that because when he was actually on the floor, nobody had an answer for him. Over four years in Europe and Australia, Benson averaged 16.7 points and an eye-popping 11.6 rebounds per game, and 5.2 of those rebounds were offensive boards. Benson has been a D-League Champion, made the D-League All-Star team twice, and won the Bulgarian League Championship in 2021.
Arenas and the enemies added a lot of toughness and interior presence with this pick. Thanks to Benson’s offensive rebounding ability, if you can make the Enemies miss (not an easy task to begin with, considering how much offensive talent they have), your job is only halfway over. That’s not a fun proposition for anyone going up against Agent Zero’s squad.
Pick #4, Aliens: Adam Drexler
Nope, that’s not a coincidence – Adam Drexler is in fact the son of BIG3 Commissioner Clyde Drexler. Aliens coach Rick Mahorn, who knows a thing or two about defense and toughness, praised those elements of Drexler’s game. Also, while he might not quite be able to get off the ground like Clyde the Glide could, he’s more than capable of playing above the rim. For a full download on Drexler, check out this excellent article by Dia Miller of Blazer’s Edge.
Pick #5, Power: TJ Cline
Another legacy pick – Cline just happens to be the son of Power coach Nancy Lieberman.
The 6’9, 229 pound Cline has experience playing pro basketball in Europe and Israel, and as you would expect from the son of “Lady Magic,” he has a formidable combination of size and passing ability. He’s particularly deadly from the pinch post, and his basketball IQ is, as you might expect, off the charts. Also, he’s more than capable of stepping beyond the arc and keeping the floor spaced for his guards.
Would Cline have been chosen in this spot if his mother didn’t happen to coach the team? It’s hard to say. However, Coach Lieberman knows his game as well as anybody on the planet, and she’s too much of a competitor to let nepotism get in the way of her second BIG3 title. I’d expect this pick to pay major dividends.
Pick #6, Tri-State: Garland Green
Yes, that’s Gerald Green’s brother. Every now and again, the BIG3 can feel like a family affair. However, like Drexler and Kline, Green is more than just a last name.
The 31-year old Green is a member of the four-continent club, having played in Australia, Europe, and Japan as well as the US. He was named an All-Star in the hyper-competive Bundesliga in 2016, and (this should not come as a particular surprise), won the league’s dunk contest that same year. Green brings athleticism, intensity, and the ability to score from anywhere on the floor – on Draft Night, the analysts at the desk compared his combination of athleticism and three-point touch to that of Jason Richardson, whom Green will be playing alongside this season.
Green won’t get to play with his brother this season, but expect him to make a name for himself on Dr. J’s squad.
Pick #7, Triplets: Alonzo Gee
Frankly, I’m surprised Gee lasted this long in the draft.
Gee is a tremendous athlete, can hit the three, takes pride in his defense, can guard multiple positions with his 6’6 frame, and has BIG3 experience, having played for Bivouac last season.
Gee is a classic “plug-and-play” guy who will do whatever is asked with him for a smile on his face, and he’ll almost certainly put a smile on Coach Lisa Leslie’s face on more than one occasion next season.
Pick #8, Killer 3s: KJ McDaniels
KJ McDaniels will be the newest member of the Killer 3s.
McDaniels played three seasons in the NBA after being drafted with the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. After that, the Clemson product played 105 games in the G-League between 2015 and 2021. Most recently, McDaniels played with the NLEX Road Warriors of the Philippine Basketball Association. At 29 years old, McDaniels is still in his athletic prime. McDaniels is 6-6, weighs 205 pounds, and uses his 6’11 wingspan to consistently make impact plays on defense.
In short, the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year is the type of long, versatile defender that fits perfectly with Coach Charles Oakley’s defensive-minded philosophy.
Pick #9, Bivouac: Corey Brewer
In another perfect match of coach and player, Gary Payton was able to snag the defensive-minded Corey Brewer with his second round pick.
At the combine, a number of coaches said they were looking for a lock-down defender and someone who could play multiple positions. As it turned out, Gary Payton was the one who was able to get him on his squad. Brewer stands at 6’9 with a wingspan to match. He has extremely active hands. Perhaps most importantly, he never, ever stops moving, and is almost always one of the fastest players on the court.
The former Florida Gator and the 7th overall pick in the NBA Draft played 13 years in the NBA, because there’s not a coach on the planet who doesn’t want a player with Brewer’s combination of size, hustle, and ability to be an absolute pest on defense. Brewer’s NBA career didn’t end until the 2019-20 season, so there’s a good chance the 36-year old still has plenty in the tank.
Brewer has as good a resume as anyone who was drafted on Wednesday and his ability to defend multiple positions makes him a natural pick for FIREBALL3 – this may end up being the steal of the draft.
Pick #10, Trilogy: David Hawkins
Hawkins has been successful everywhere he’s gone, so this was a fairly safe pick for Trilogy. The 39-year old veteran guard has won championships in Italy and Turkey, and has played in every season of the BIG3, and was one of the league’s most prolific scorers in both 2017 and 2018. If he can find that form again, this may be the steal of the draft.
Pick #11, Ghost Ballers: Jermaine Taylor
Taylor has BIG3 experience, and he had a fantastic 2018 before unfortunately suffering an Achilles tear right at the start of the 2019 season, which has kept him sidelined until now. He’s back, and if he’s at anywhere near 100% the Ghost Ballers will get the kind of player you just don’t expect to be there with the penultimate pick of the draft.
Pick #12, Three-Headed Monsters: Abdoulaye N’Doye
With the final pick in the draft, the Three-Headed monsters went young and international when they selected Ab N’Doye. The 24-year old Frenchman has won gold medals in the FIBA Under-16 championship and the FIBA Under-18 championship, so it’s fair to call him something of a prodigy. He’s played in Europe and Africa, and won the 2021 Eurocup Championship.
We’ll see if those accolades will translate to BIG3 success for new Three-Headed Monsters coach Reggie Theus. Coach Theus noted on the draft broadcast that with Reggie Evans out indefinitely with a hand injury, N’Doye’s athleticism and ability to provide an interior presence could be crucial for the team until Evans is ready to return.