George Gervin Wins 2023 Coach Of The Year
By BIG3 September 18, 2023
NBA legend and 2023 BIG3 Coach of the Year George “The Iceman” Gervin has always been cool. His signature shot, the finger roll, is now a part of every player alive’s arsenal. (It’s not easy to get an underhanded shot to catch on, even if it’s effective – just ask Hall-of-Famer and Ball Hogs Coach Rick Barry.) This summer, Coach Iceman made going big cool again.
In both the NBA and the BIG3, the trend has been to go small. In many ways, this was the year of the guard in the BIG3 – with what Leandro Barbosa, Jodie Meeks, Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session, Jordan Crawford, Elijah Stewart, Jeremy Pargo, and Ryan “Hezi God” Carter were all able to do in the league this season, it’s clear that true guards are thriving more than they ever have in the BIG3.
Also on that list is the Ghost Ballers’ Mike Taylor, who, under Gervin’s guidance, had a career year. The Ghost Ballers built their offense around their newly-minted Captain, which allowed him to use his combination of a lightning-fast dribble attack and a deadly outside shot to full effect.
Taylor was a key part of the Ghost Ballers’ success, but what really put Gervin’s team over the top was their combination of size and outside shooting. With the rest of the league going small, Gervin doubled down on size. Outside of Taylor, the Ghost Ballers’ roster was made up of muscular swingman Jonathon Simmons and 3 true big men – Charles Garcia, Chris Johson, and Darnell Jackson. The Ghost Ballers’ size allowed them to bully smaller teams inside, giving them a unique advantage in a league that has featured more and more faster players and fewer true big men.
The Ghost Ballers also did a great job of punishing teams from the outside – they made 42 3-point shots during the Summer of Fire. (Only the Enemies and the Ball Hogs made more.) That inside-outside combination was simply too much for teams to handle. The ultra-talented Chris Johnson, who had had some trouble living up to his potential before this season, was the perfect glue guy in Gervin’s system – he locked down the paint on defense and was deployed perfectly on offense, and finished the season shooting 65% from the floor and 61.5% from three-point range.
Under Gervin, the Ghost Ballers were fearsome everywhere on the court, equally able to beat teams up inside or pick them apart from the perimeter. That’s why they were able to make it to the Semifinals, and that’s why George Gervin is the 2023 BIG3 Coach of the Year.