Championship Key Matchup: The Scorers
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn August 17, 2022
On Sunday, Trilogy will play Power for the 2022 BIG3 Championship. We’re going to dig deep on each of the matchups we expect to see. First off, the scorers: Isaiah Briscoe and Glen Rice Jr.
Trilogy: Isaiah Briscoe
6’3, 215 pounds
19.1 PPG/4.5 RPG/3.5 APG, 44.6% FG Percentage, 29.3% 3PT Percentage
Isaiah Briscoe is a special player. Even though he stands at just 6’3, he’s as dominant an inside presence that exists in the BIG3. He can keep the ball on a string even while going downhill at full speed, and has a full arsenal of dribble-moves that allow him to go around perimeter defenders.
Once he gets into the paint, he can straight-up go through any defender that tries to challenge him at the rim. His combination of strength, ability to get off the floor quickly, concentration, and touch allows him to absorb contact and still make layups consistently, even when he takes a hard foul.
Since Briscoe is elite at going around and through defenders, the gameplan on him is simple – keep him out of the paint and make him shoot over defenders. It’s difficult to express how much easier said than done that is, but it’s still what teams should aim to do.
Still, it’s not like Briscoe is completely helpless from outside. He shot 29.3% from three on the season, which is certainly below average. Still, he’s more than capable of hitting a deep jumper if left open. He can even bunch a few perimeter shots together, which is what he did when he made three shots from beyond the arc in Trilogy’s semifinal game against the Aliens. When that happens, you just have to pray he falls in love with the outside shot and stops attacking the rim.
Briscoe is the tip of the spear for Trilogy, and if Power isn’t able to load up on him and take his angles to the rim away, it’s going to be a long night of work for them.
Trilogy Coach Stephen Jackson has kept his rotation incredibly tight this season, but Briscoe’s de facto backup would be Team Captain James “Flight” White. White scored 21 points in Trilogy’s Week 1 matchup with the Triplets, and he scored 17 points over Trilogy’s next eight games. Unless Briscoe gets hurt or in serious foul trouble, I wouldn’t expect to see much of White on Sunday.
Power: Glen Rice Jr.
6’6, 206 pounds
17.5 PPG/6.3 RPG/3.3 APG, 50.4% FG Percentage, 44.1% 3PT Percentage
What Briscoe does with force, Rice does with finesse. He was one of the best outside shooters in the league this season, but he’s much more of a scorer than a shooter. Once he gets the ball, he can pull up, step back, pull a crossover out of his bag, or throw up a variety of floaters or runners that he has an uncanny knack for making.
There’s no particular way to play him – he just knows how to get the ball in the hoop. The best way to defend Rice might be to dare him to become a passer. Since he can make any shot at any time, he can be guilty of forcing a tough shot early in the shot clock when making the extra pass would have been the wiser decision. (To his credit, his preference to shoot his way out of tough situations means he doesn’t try many risky passes – he finished the season with a fantastic AST/TO ratio of 4.33 assists for every turnover.)
And even though Rice is much more on the finesse end of the spectrum than Briscoe, he’s not afraid to get inside and mix it up. He loves to draw contact, and when he does he’s a reliable free throw shooter.
Coach Nancy Lieberman is much more willing to go to her bench than Coach Jackson, and Team Captain Cuttino Mobley actually starts at guard for Power. The team’s crunch-time lineup is made up of Rice, TJ Cline, and Royce White, as Cline provides a level of size and energy that Mobley can’t match.
Still, Coach Lieberman likes to have her captain in at the beginning of the game to try and get her team some quick outside shots and have them go hot out of the gates. At this point in his career, Mobley is essentially a three-point specialist, especially since he’s struggled with injuries this season. He shot an impressive 8-18 (44.4%) from three-point range this season, but just 10-26 (38.4%) from inside the arc. Still, Mobley still has that sweet stroke and championship experience, so sleep on “Cat” at your own peril.
So there you have it – two of the best scorers in the league. One mainly does it with strength and the other mainly does it with finesse, but they’re both capable of taking over a game for their respective teams. We’ll see how it goes down in Atlanta.