In 2017, a “Big Three” can win you an NBA title.
In 2020, having one could win you Olympic gold.
In a move that should have hoopheads, weekend warriors and retired NBA stars like Allen Iverson very excited, the International Olympic Committee just approved the addition of a men’s and women’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Held in addition to the traditional 5-on-5 Olympic tourney, games in the 3-on-3 tournament will be held in accordance with FIBA rules (half-court, 12-second shot clock, game ends at 21 points or 10 minutes, baskets made within the arc are worth one point and beyond the arc are two) and teams will comprise four players without a coach, according to Bleacher Report.
While it’s unclear if NBA or WNBA players will be on the teams, they’ll certainly have the opportunity to enlist — as will everyone else with a pulse. In order to select the team, USA Basketball will be holding a “qualification process involving tournaments and head-to-head competition” that will theoretically be open to everyone from Iverson to the folks at your local Y.
For a sneak preview of what to expect from the new event, you might want to check out BIG3 — an Iverson-endorsed 3-on-3 league of ex-NBAers that kicks off this month in Brooklyn. In theory, 3-on-3 puts a premium on one-on-one skills on both ends of the court as well as long-range shooting. Without the ability to run complex offensive schema to facilitate open looks, players need to be able to create (and defend) quality shots off the dribble. And when you count by ones and twos (rather than twos and threes), the upside of a long-range attempt offers an even greater statistical advantage.
Which brings us to what’s the best part of all of this — if you could pick anyone who you got?
Given the parameters of the tournament (assuming they chose to compete), we wouldn’t be shocked to see Golden State’s Fab Four — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green — nab Olympic gold in 2020, after they (presumably) take home the NBA title in 2017.