Three Takeaways From Week 8
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn August 9, 2022
Well, the regular season is over and the last four teams will duke it out over the next two weeks for the 2022 BIG3 Championship.
1 – Isaiah Briscoe Will Run You the Heck Over
Isaiah Briscoe is the answer to a question I had never asked before – what if a point guard with an excellent handle and touch around the rim was also Saquon freaking Barkley?
I’ve written about Briscoe’s strength and playstyle before, but after his 24-point performance in Trilogy’s win over the Killer 3’s, I feel compelled to talk about it again.
With Trilogy’s season potentially on the line, Briscoe left nothing to chance. He went to the rim over and over and over again, and the Killer 3’s couldn’t stop him without fouling him. He also made all six of his free throws, two nice little mid-range shots from just beyond the free throw line, and even swished a three. It was perhaps the most purely overpowering performance I’ve seen all season, and Briscoe is 6’3.
The typical thing to say here is that Briscoe will become truly special if he can turn his outside shot from a weakness (he’s shooting 29.3% from 3-point range this season) to a strength.
However, that might be a little like ordering a vegan steak. There have been studies that suggest the relationship between height and weight tends to be the key in outside shooting effectiveness – basically, you want to look like a telephone pole, not a fire hydrant. If you think about it, not a lot of particularly stocky or musclebound players tend to be great shooters, while the best shooters tend to be on the svelte side.
Still, the fact that Briscoe doesn’t have much of a jumper to speak of means he’s that much less likely to settle for it, and when you’re as much of a problem in the paint as he is, that might not be the worst thing.
2 – Play The Full 50 Points
I could just be imagining things. This could just be confirmation bias. But doesn’t it seem like when teams get to the 43-45 point range or so with a decent lead, they start playing like they have a dinner reservation they need to catch? Ball movement goes out the window and players just start jacking up shots, and more often than not it allows the opponent back into the game.
At the risk of stating the obvious, you can’t just run out the clock in the BIG3, because there is no clock. If you don’t make baskets, no lead is safe. And if you don’t run an actual offense, you’re probably not going to make baskets.
We saw this in Week 8 when Power saw a 40-25 lead get cut to a 44-39 lead, which ultimately kept the Aliens’ season alive. Power is normally one of the best passing teams in the league, but Glen Rice Jr. went completely off-script late in the game and forced some very tough shots, which he failed to convert. (To be fair, he had just made a number of difficult shots – to circle back to confirmation bias, it might be time for GRJ to do some research on The Hot Hand Fallacy.)
3 – A Weird Thing That I Think Is Progress
So in the 3 Headed Monsters’ Week 8 game against Tri State, Kevin Murphy usurped the basketball to a ludicrous degree. He took 14 of the team’s 26 field goals, and the next-highest scorer on 3HM had 5 points to Murphy’s 24.
All of this happened in a relatively meaningless game – 3HM came into the game having already clinched a playoff spot, while Tri State had already been eliminated. Generally, a team’s best player will take it easy in a “moot game,” if they play at all, because an injury will doom their team’s postseason hopes for no real reason.
However, Murphy went all-out. I’m not a mind-reader, but I’d imagine he did so for one of two reasons:
1 – He was trying to break Joe Johnson’s single-season points record. He needed 25 points to tie the record and 26 to break it. He finished the game with 24 points, and painfully missed a free-throw that would have gotten him to 26 points and given him the record right near the end of the game.
2 – He was trying to tie up the league MVP Award, which he is the favorite for at this point.
I’m not the biggest fan of selfish basketball, but if players are starting to care this much about setting BIG3 records and winning BIG3 awards, I think that’s ultimately a good thing for the league – the longer the league lasts, the more it matters to have a place in its history books.