Grizzlies Best 3-On-3 Team: Defense Wins Championships

Feb 21, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) and guard Tony Allen (9) during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated Philadelphia 89-76. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

As part of the SB Nation community, we were asked to post -- along with our colleagues who represent the other 29 NBA teams, plus an International team and a un-signed free agent team to create a 32-team tournament -- our best 3-on-3 team, consisting of players currently on the Grizzlies roster.

From here, we're going to "compete" against the other teams in our network to crown an ultimate winner. So, with that, let's see if we can put together a winning Grizzlies team!

First, let's get the rules out of the way:

Baskets inside the arc are worth two (2) points, baskets outside of the arc are worth three (3) points.

Games are one 10-minute period -- team ahead at the end of 10 minutes wins;

UNLESS a team reaches 31, in which case that team wins (FIBA rules state 21, but that with 1 and 2 pointers);

7 fouls results in the bonus situation;

You can't foul out (since we didn't allow subs);

12 second shot clock;

Game is played half-court.
I think that'll do it. So, now that we know the rules, let's build the team. Remember, we can only pick three, and I think it's important to build to a strength, which in our case is defense.

Here's who I would select on this team:

Rudy Gay - OK, so let's start here with our most "dynamic" player. Gay provides strength in scoring in a half-court, 3-on-3 setting. I'm comfortable letting him ISO in this case where "help defense" in turn can lead to wide open jumpers -- remember, this is 3-on-3. Give him the ball at the top of the key, clear out the middle and let him take the ball to the hole against Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Caron Butler, etc. His jumper, well, as we know he's not quite, I guess you can say, efficient, but he still can step out stroke it from time to time.

On defense, I'm absolutely comfortable with Gay's length and ability to stay in front of his opponent. He's a bit underrated, actually, as a defender. So, naturally, I think his overall game provides a plus. I trust him as a defender, have some reservations, of course, of his outside shooting, but I do think he's dynamic enough to use the space created for him as a plus-positive.

Tony Allen - Yes, I know, he's essentially a non-factor on offense. But, what he does provide is a lock-down, defensive mentality. Putting him on the likes of Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, etc., gives us a chance, defensively. I mean, look at those names and tell me who else on our team you would trust to stay in front of said players? No one, really. We need Allen for his defense to even have a shot.

Marc Gasol - This was the toughest one. It's obviously tough to keep Zach Randolph off this team, but I do think that adding Marc to this team gives us better chance of advancing. First, his defense is a huge plus. He can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard and, who, Blake Griffin? I mean, Howard and Bynum would eat up Randolph. So too, I think, would guys like Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins. Marc at least, defensively, levels the playing field.

On offense, he also happens to be one of the absolute best high-post passing bigs in the game. Finding cutters or taking a few dribbles, collapsing the defense, and passing along the baseline are probably two of the best ways this team can create offense. Plus, his inside game is just getting better and better as he enters his prime.

Look, I know that Randolph is the better one-on-one player, but we already have "one of those guys" on this team in Gay. Gasol provides us with a different look, as opposed to having two ISO bros and Tony Allen.

STRENGTH: Well, duh, defense. Maybe aside from Boston, possibly San Antonio (?), we're the best defensive threesome out there.

Think about the ultimate matchup, against the Miami Heat. Rudy Gay on LeBron James, Tony Allen on Dwyane Wade and Marc Gasol on Chris Bosh. Defensively, I'm comfortable with those matchups.

WEAKNESS: Again, duh, it's outside shooting. Rudy Gay is our "best" shooter, having made just 34% of his attempts between 16-23 feet and just 31% of his threes last season. I guess I could have considered Mike Conley, but even then he's not that good of a 3-point shooter and his on-the-ball defense is not strong at all. Josh Selby is probably our best 3-point shooter, but really would you want him to be on your ultimate 3-on-3 team based on his play in a few summer league games? No, of course not.

BOTTOM LINE: I still think we're among one of the better teams out there. Again, we don't have the same offensive firepower as the Thunder or Heat, but we have the defensive chops to at least slow them down, and hopefully score enough to make things interesting.

So, what do you guys think? Is this our best team? AND, do you think we can win it all?
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