The inaugural season of the Big 3 basketball league will continue tonight with week 3 games at the BOK center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The games will air will air on Monday night, on Fox Sports 1.
But before deciding if it’s worth spending T.V. viewing hours on these games again, there are some important questions that need to be addressed, now that one quarter of the regular season is under our belts.
Has the league been a disappointment thus far? (Yes)
What can we expect going forward? (hopefully something)
And did Ice Cube need to rap for the theme song? (Absolutely not)
Okay, to say the Big 3 has been a disappointment might be a bit harsh, because I’ll grant them, like anything, it takes some time to figure out. However, there did seem to be a few oversights in the planning of this league, some more fixable than others.
The most obvious one is injuries, and injuries were a large part of why week 1 went about as poorly as it could have. Three different team captains went down with injuries, and those familiar with the league know that the team captains are the big names that we care about. Both Jason Williams (knee) and Corey Maggette (leg) left the floor midway through their first games, and are likely to miss the remainder of the season, while Kenyon Martin (hamstring) was out last week and who knows what kind of shape he’ll be in going forward.
Where’s the Star Power?
There was also another de facto injury in Allen Iverson. Through the first two weeks, he was a combined 2-10 shooting with four points, and very limited playing time. Iverson was by far the biggest draw for the Big 3, so his lack of ability to get playing time, and actually produce when he is on the floor, might as well be an injury in the way it impacts Big3 viewing. Turns out, spending 14 years throwing yourself at people twice your size takes a toll on your body, who knew?
We, and Ice Cube, seem to be slowly figuring that out together as we watch Iverson, and other “stars,” in physically hampered states.
While Iverson is the extreme case, he highlights, in my opinion, the trickiest problem facing the Big3, lack of star power. The stats leader, and heart, of Iverson’s team (3’s Company) so far is Andre Owens.
I’ll wait here while you google which NBA teams Andre Owens played for. And when you figure it out, please email me what you found because I don’t care enough to look it up myself.
That’s what we’ve been able to expect when tuning into the Big3 for the first couple weeks. Some of the big names (Rashard Lewis, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Mike Bibby) have performed at a fairly high level. But for the most part, the leaderboards are currently dominated by names like Owens, Derrick Byars, Rasual Butler, Lee Nailon, Mike James, Ivan Johnson, and even Kwame Brown. These are guys people didn’t want to pay to see when they were in the actual NBA.
That is a hurdle that the Big3 will have to find a way to overcome in the future.
The only advantage to the lack of effect the stars have had on the Big3 games: I get an excuse for having what looks like terrible preseason predictions. You can read my preseason prediction article here: Big 3 Preseason Predictions
You’ll notice my projected standings are almost completely opposite of what the standings actually look like two weeks in.
I, like many others, overlooked the fact that the players with the biggest impacts on the games would be the ones with younger, fresher, less NBA-beaten legs.
But it’s not totally our fault we were fooled, because that’s how the Big3 marketed itself to the world, as being a second home for former NBA stars.
What to Expect Going Forward
To their credit, in week 2, the Big3 took steps to alleviate the problem of the duller-than-expected games.
They began playing games to 50, instead of 60, which helped them fit into their three hour T.V. time slot, and seemed to provide a little more zip to the games.
Plus, several players, like Bibby and Mobley rounded into form, and Chauncey Billups played for the first time, after missing week one.
As I mentioned before, it takes a little time to take things right.
While I’ve never done it, I think it’s safe to assume that putting together a professional level basketball league from scratch is no walk in the park.
Therefore, I am encouraged by the progress in overall entertainment value that I saw from week one to week two. My expectation is for the league to continue to find itself as the weeks progress, or at least that is my hope.
For now, I’m still in, and anyone who had interest in the Big3 before it began should not be jumping off the bandwagon just yet. However, there are a few flaws that Ice Cube, Jeff Kwatinetz, and other league officials need to look at.
For example, you can’t market Dermarr Johnson and Reggie Evans, but if you don’t, it feels a little bit like lying to the fans.
But I’ll leave that to the business moguls over at the Big3 to figure out.
At this point, the first season of Big3 basketball has enough of my interest that I’ll watch some of it as it airs, and make up the rest when it’s convenient for me. Despite it’s obvious defects, if they can avoid more injuries, and stars continue to find themselves as the weeks go on, it’s possible they could write this ship after all.
Here are your matchups for week 3 games, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which will air Monday night, at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 1:
Power vs. 3-Headed Monsters – Game 1
Killer 3’s vs. Tri-State – Game 2
Ball Hogs vs. Ghost Ballers – Game 3
3’s Company vs. Trilogy – Game 4
Feel free to share your thoughts on the Big3 by commenting below. And don’t forget to like, subscribe, and follow us @factfictfant.