On Wednesday Deadspin wrote and quickly retracted a piece about the 2016 Olympics adding 3-on-3 basketball as a sport. Deadspin was fooled by one of the ever-proliferating “parody” sites whose articles aren’t funny enough for normal people to recognize them as satire. But the real takeaway is that 3-on-3 half-court basketball at the Olympics would be great. Here is a rough seeding for a hypothetical ‘16 competition. Remember, 3-on-3 basketball emphasizes brawn over open-court finesse! (We’re also assuming scoring would go by 2s and 3s.)
1. USA LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis.
2. USA/B DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Steph Curry. (This hypothetical competition is one of the events in which countries can send more than one team. BTW, James Harden didn’t make the cut because he’d call too many touch fouls, embarrassing the nation.)
3. USA/C Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Andre Miller. (3-on-3 is an old man’s game. It’s about bulling to the basket while people foul you, but you don’t call a foul—because you’re too tough.)
4. SPAIN Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon.
5. FRANCE Tony Parker, Nic Batum, Boris Diaw.
6. AUSTRALIA Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Dante Exum.
7. CANADA Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Kelly Olynyk. (Steve Nash = coach who suits up to win a crucial game when Wiggins sprains his ankle.)
8. BRAZIL Tiago Splitter, Nene, Leandro Barbosa.
9. LITHUANIA Jonas Valanciunas, Donatas Motiejunas, Renaldas Seibutis.
10. TURKEY Omer Asık, Enes Kanter, Emir Preldzic.
11. ARGENTINA Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Pablo Prigioni, and the Grim Reaper. (These guys are very old.)
12. ENGLAND Luol Deng, Joel Freeland, Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
13. SERBIA Bogdan Bogdanovic*, Dario Saric, Ante Tomic.
14. CROATIA Nenad Krstic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Milos Teodosic.
Would such a theoretical Olympics also include classic 5-on-5 basketball? Yes! The people demand more basketball.
Update, Jan. 14, 4:00 p.m.: Reader/sportswriter Travis Waldron points out that we failed to include a potential Dominican Republic team of Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Francisco Garcia. We regret the oversight and would seed that team eighth in the rankings above. Waldron suggests rounding out the bracket with a Greek squad of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kosta Koufos, and Nick Calathes. Let’s slot them in the tenth seed.
Correction, Jan. 14, 2015: This post originally confused Bogdan and Bojan Bogdanovic. We were trying not to do it, and we still did it.