Who Should Be the First Pick in the 2022 BIG3 Draft?
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn May 20, 2022
Power, led by Coach Nancy Lieberman, Captain Cuttino Mobley, and Co-Captain Royce White, will have the #1 pick in the 2022 BIG3 Draft. With the Draft Combine in the books and an extremely talented draft pool for Lieberman and Co. to choose from, here are some possibilities:
At the combine, a number of coaches said they were looking for a lock-down defender and someone who could play multiple positions. Fortunately for them, Corey Brewer is in the 2022 BIG3 Draft Pool. 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.
I’ve been a fan of Lawson’s since I saw this video of Oak Hill vs. Montrose Christian, which has to have featured as much talent on the floor as any high school game ever played. A young Kevin Durant jumps off the screen (he tends to do that), but Oak Hill hung right with KD’s team thanks in large part to Lawson. The play of the day also went to Lawson – watch him mercilessly snatch this poor defender’s ankles.
Of course, Lawson’s accomplishments continued well after a high school game in 2006. During the 2009 season at UNC, Lawson won the ACC player of the year, the Bob Cousy award for the best point guard in the nation, and led the Tarheels to an NCAA Championship. After that, it was time for his 9-year NBA career to begin.
Lawson is an absolute blur who can keep the ball on a string and has excellent court vision. While his 3-point shot is a bit unorthodox, it’s plenty effective – Lawson shot 35.9% from deep over his NBA career.
After his NBA career was over, Lawson went to China and thrived. Over three full seasons in the CBA China league, Lawson averaged 26.5 points and 7.9 assists per game on 53.4% shooting from the floor and 40.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Most recently, Lawson had a brief stint in the Greek League.
Lawson, who stands at 5’11, doesn’t have the ability to play multiple positions that many BIG3 coaches put at a premium. Still, talent is talent, and the 34-year old Lawson still has the goods.
My thoughts on Blair haven’t changed since his entry into the draft pool, so I’ll re-post them here:
“DeJuan Blair will be throwing his name into the BIG3 Draft Pool for the first time. Blair was the 39th overall pick out of Pitt after being named a first-team All-American in his sophomore year. Blair played seven seasons in the NBA, and spent nearly all of that time in the paint. The 6-6, 270 pound Blair didn’t get moved from his spot often, and was an absolute rebounding machine throughout his time in the NBA. He averaged 11 rebounds per 36 minutes throughout his career with the Spurs, Mavericks, and Wizards, and led the NBA in offensive rebound percentage his second year in the league.
After his time in the NBA, Blair spent a year in China, where he was nearly unstoppable. In his lone season with the Monkey Kings of CBA China, Blair put up 24.1 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. Blair is big, crafty, knows how to clean the glass, and knows what his game is about. He’s worth keeping an eye on.”
Again, here are my thoughts on Crawford from when he entered the draft pool:
Jordan Crawford will be in the draft pool this year. After a college career that included putting LeBron James on a poster in a pro-am game, Crawford spent six years in the NBA with the Wizards, Celtics, Warriors, Pelicans, and Hawks. He averaged 10 or more points in each of his first five NBA seasons. Crawford has also spent time in China, Turkey, Europe, and the G-League.
His time in China was particularly notable. In 26 games with the CBA China League’s Gold Lions, Crawford averaged an astonishing 43.1 points per game. During that season, he averaged 31.3 field goal attempts in 37.5 minutes per game and averaged 2.0 assists per game. Jordan Crawford does not lack confidence. It should be noted that he has shown more of a well-rounded game recently. During the 2021-22 season in the Turkish Super League, he averaged 6.6 assists per game, which is a career-high. Since BIG3 games only go to 50 points, I very much doubt he’ll average 43 points again, but he could definitely make an impact in the league.
“D-Block” actually 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. If Lieberman decides to take him, there won’t be any questions about what she’ll be getting. After winning the 2009 NCAA Championship with Kansas and a 3-year career as an NBA rotation player, Jackson went around the globe. He played in Europe, China, Venezuela, and the Philippines. At 6’9 and 253 pounds, Jackson is a lot to handle in the post, and he has a soft touch from mid-range. We’ll see who will be looking for a true big man on Draft Night.
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.
Glen Rice Jr.:
Glen Rice Jr. had a short NBA career before making his mark around the world. The Georgia Tech alum was the Isreli League top scorer, the Isreli Cup MVP, and won the Isreli Cup in 2018. 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 BIG3 could be where the extremely well-traveled Rice can be an impact player.
Norris Cole is nothing if not adaptable. In 2010-11, he was playing for Cleveland State in the Horizon League. The next season, he played 65 (of a possible 66) games for the 2012 Champion Miami Heat. The next year, he played 80 games en route to back-to-back titles. After his six-year NBA Career, Cole went to Europe. He averaged 13.7 points and 3.9 assists per game over his six seasons in Europe, and played in the French pro league in the 2021-22 season.
Cole is a jack-of all-trades guard. At 6’2, Cole has good size for a guard, can create his own shot off the dribble, knows when to set up his teammates, and has three-point range. Time will tell how his game translates to FIREBALL3.
There were also a number of players who impressed at the combine after earning their spot through the open tryouts that took place across the nation:
Dallas tryout ticket winner T.K. Edogi, who graduated from Iona in 2018 and has been a rotation player overseas ever since, raised some eyebrows. He’s 28 years old and stands at 6’8, 220, and that combination of youth, athleticism, and a body the right size for FIREBALL3 makes him extremely enticing.
Kevin “Uncle Skoob” Kutyei, who got his combine spot at the DC Open Tryout, also impressed. Skoob eschewed offers to play internationally to found Separate Yourself, which teaches basketball and life skills, and in DC and Vegas showed he’s got the ability to score at the rim and from the perimeter.
Victor Evans, who got his combine spot at the Phoenix tryouts, showed the ability to fill it up in Vegas, especially from outside. He also showed some impressive flashes of athleticism. In Vegas, coach Lieberman told me she expects the four-point shot to become something BIG3 teams design offensive sets around – could Evans be the dead-eye shooter capable of making that happen?
Evansville alum and DC Ticket winner Artur Labinowicz, who has played spot minutes in Poland and the G-League, also showed out, showing the coveted combination of range and athleticism. Maybe FIREBALL3 is the right format for the 6’4 guard’s game.
Finally, there’s Greg Helt. Just to get to the Vegas Combine, the well-known “streetballer” raised over $1,200 on GoFundMe, and he did his best to make those who donated to him proud.
Well, those are the players to keep an eye on. The BIG3 Draft will take place on May 25th from the Microsoft Lounge in Los Angeles. It will take place at 8:00 EST, and you can watch it live on BIG3.com and the official BIG3 YouTube Channel.