Who Should Power Take With the Number 1 Pick in the BIG3 Draft?
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn May 16, 2022
Hall of Famer and Power coach Nancy Lieberman has a long list of talents. As of Friday, May 13th, you can add “getting the right ping-pong ball out of a lottery spinner” to that list. Lieberman drew the first overall pick for Power during her first turn at the wheel. When she got her chance to draw again in the second round, the highest pick available to her was the #5 pick – naturally, she drew the #5 pick in the second round for power. I suppose Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky day for everybody.
The question now is what Coach Lieberman will do with the #1 pick. When she was asked about what kind of players she was looking for before the drawing, Lieberman said she was looking for players to compliment Captain Cuttino Mobley and Co-Captain Royce White, the latter of whom was the #1 overall pick in the 2019 BIG3 Draft. White led Power in assists per game last season while standing at an impressive 6’8. If anyone knows how to build around him, it’s probably Lieberman, who earned the name “Lady Magic” for her all-around skill and passing ability during her playing days — in her senior year at Old Dominion University, the 5’10 Lieberman averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists per game on 53.3% shooting from the floor. Finally, Coach Lieberman will need a new co-captain to replace Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who will not be playing for Power in 2022.
It should be noted that Lieberman knows what it takes to get to the top of the BIG3 – in 2018, her first season as the head coach of Power, Lieberman led the team to the championship, and became the first female coach in BIG3 history to win the title.
Power had a middling season last year, with four wins and four losses, and Dusan Bulut, arguably their best player, will be playing for Aliens next season, so it will be important for Lieberman and her captains to make the right picks in this year’s draft.
When I asked Coach Lieberman what she was looking for at Saturday’s draft combine, she said she was looking for “A ball handler, a shooter, maybe a couple bigs…there’s so much talent here. Of all the combines we’ve had, this is the most talent.” She also touched on the difference between drafting a veteran or a younger player, saying that with veterans she was looking for “how they can use their experience” and for younger players “how they can blend their youthfulness with your team.”
Lieberman also said she expects the four-point shot to become a more integral part of FIREBALL3 going forward, saying it will become entirely possible for teams to draw up sets that revolve around a shooter spacing the floor from a four-point circle. In other words, don’t be surprised if Lieberman drafts someone comfortable shooting the deep ball.
Who will Lieberman end up taking with the #1 overall pick for Power? Will it be New Williams, who showed incredible athleticism, a nice left-handed stroke on his jumper, and a noticeable killer instinct at the combine? KJ McDaniels, the former ACC Defensive Player of the year who played with the 76ers and Rockets and who, at 29, is very much still in his prime? Or will she go big and take someone like Quincy Miller, who has an active body at 6’11, played with the Nuggets, Kings, and Pistons, is a Serbian League Champion and Israeli Cup winner? Like McDaniels, Miller is only 29, so the rigors of the BIG3 season shouldn’t be a problem for him. Will Kevin Kuteyi, aka “Uncle Skoob” go all the way from winning a combine spot at the DC Open Tryout to becoming the #1 pick?
Or will she go in a different direction? After all, Lieberman herself said this was the most talent she’d ever seen at a draft combine, and the 2022 draft pool is full of players capable of making an impact. Power already has a walking bucket in and veteran leadership in Mobley and an ultra-versatile playmaking wing/big in White. Based on that, I would expect them to be drafting for talent instead of fit. I also know that Coach Lieberman has as sharp a basketball mind as you’ll find anywhere in the world, and expect her to make the right pick for her team as it looks to get back into title contention.
If you’d like to do your own scouting before the draft, you can watch all the Combine coverage on the BIG3’s YouTube Channel: BIG3 COMBINE 2022 – YouTube
To find out who Coach Lieberman ultimately decides to go with, make sure to tune into the live stream of the 2022 BIG3 Draft from the Microsoft Lounge in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25th, at 8:00 PM EST.