Season in Review: Triplets
By Derek Little November 15, 2022
The Triplets had the rug pulled out from under them in 2022. The team was, as always, well-coached by Lisa Leslie. The Pargo Brothers and Ryan Hollins provided a solid inside-out punch. Unfortunately, the team was never able to recover from losing Joe Johnson, who only played in the first three games of the season before making the decision to retire from the BIG3.
It’s difficult to overstate just how big of a loss this was to the Triplets. As of this writing, Johnson is the greatest player in the short history of the BIG3, and he’s been with the Triplets the whole way. The Triplets were added to the league for the 2019 season, which was also Johnson’s BIG3 rookie year. Behind an MVP performance from Johnson, the Triplets became the first expansion team in history to win a BIG3 championship. In 2021, Johnson was again named the league MVP in his second BIG3 season, and he led the Triplets to the league semifinals.
With Johnson in the lineup, the Triplets pulled off a Week 1 victory against Trilogy, who won the league championship in 2021 and would go on to repeat in 2022. In Week 2, the team cruised to a 50-33 win over Aliens.
In Week 3, the Triplets lost a thrilling game against the Ball Hogs, with the Ball Hogs able to pull out a 50-48 win. Johnson had 30 points, but Ball Hogs Leandro Barbosa had 24 of his own, and was able to hit the game-winner. Neither the Triplets or the Ball Hogs would win another game after what turned out to be Johnson’s last game in the BIG3.
Without Johnson in the lineup, the Triplets were able to find a fairly effective offense by running a series of pick-and-rolls with one of the Pargo Brothers and Ryan Hollins, but it was never enough for them to get back in the win column.
This offseason, Lisa Leslie will have the unenviable task of trying to “replace” Joe Johnson, the most irreplaceable force in the history of the BIG3. The team can absolutely find success again, but everything will have to change now that they won’t be playing through the two-time MVP. It will be fascinating to see how the Triplets will remake themselves in the offseason, and what kind of noise they’ll be able to make in 2023.