NBA / Sep 1, 2009 / 10:00 am

Who Would Win If The NBA’s Coaches Played A 3-on-3 Tournament?

Kurt Rambis

When I heard this weekend that new Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis was mostly likely going to add Bill Laimbeer and Reggie Theus to his staff, this got me thinking: If there was a 3-on-3 tournament amongst the NBA’s current coaching staff, who would win?

Below are each team’s 3-on-3 squad and their credentials…

Hawks: Mike Woodson (11-year NBA veteran), Larry Drew (11-year pro) and Tyrone Hill (NBA All-Star and 14-year veteran)

Celtics: Doc Rivers (NBA All-Star and 13 seasons in the League), Armond Hill (eight seasons in the NBA) and Clifford Ray (10-year NBA career)

Bobcats: Larry Brown (three-time ABA All-Star), Phil Ford (First Team All-American in 1976, 1977 and 1978, winner of the John Wooden Award in 1978, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1979) and LaSalle Thompson (15-year NBA career)

Bulls: Vinny Del Negro (12 years in the NBA), Bernie Bickerstaff (four years of college ball) and Pete Myers (eight-year NBA career)

Cavs: Mike Brown (two years at University of San Diego), Melvin Hunt (four-year letterman and a three-year starter for Baylor from 1987-91) and Chris Jent (10 seasons playing professionally, including two years in the NBA)

Mavs: Rick Carlisle (co-captain of the University of Virginia 1984 Final Four team), Terry Stotts (four-year starter at the University of Oklahoma) and Dwane Casey (helped Kentucky register a 30-2 record and capture the 1978 NCAA Championship)

Nuggets: George Karl (five seasons between the ABA and NBA), Adrian Dantley (one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history) and John Welch (four years of college ball)

Pistons: John Kuester (played four seasons at North Carolina), Darrell Walker (10-year NBA playing career) and Dave Cowens (won NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in 1972-73)

Warriors: Don Nelson (14 seasons as an NBA player and member of five NBA Championship teams), Keith Smart (Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in 1987) and Russell Turner (two-time All-American at Hampden-Sydney)

Rockets: Rick Adelman (seven seasons in the NBA), Jack Sikma (seven-time NBA All-Star in 14 seasons) and T.R. Dunn (14-year NBA playing career)

Pacers: Jim O’Brien (three-year starter at Saint Joseph’s University), Lester Conner (played 13 seasons in the NBA) and Jay DeFruscio (four-year letter winner at Ursinus College)

Clippers: Mike Dunleavy (played 11 seasons in the NBA), Tony Brown (seven seasons as an NBA player) and Kim Hughes (veteran of six seasons in the ABA and the NBA)

Lakers: Phil Jackson (13-year NBA playing career), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6-time NBA MVP and 19-time NBA All-Star) and Brian Shaw (3-time NBA Champion)

Grizzlies: Lionel Hollins (1978 All-Star Game and in 10 seasons, played in the NBA Finals three times), Johnny Davis (spent 10 years in the League) and Henry Bibby (led the UCLA Bruins to three NCAA Championships)

Heat: Erik Spoelstra (starting point guard for four years at the University of Portland), Bob McAdoo (14-year playing career in the NBA, appearing in five consecutive All-Star games, and being named the NBA MVP in 1975) and Keith Askins (nine-year NBA career)

Bucks: Scott Skiles (played 10 NBA seasons), Jim Boylan (lead Marquette to the 1977 NCAA Championship) and Joe Wolf (11-year professional career)

Nets: Lawrence Frank (spent four seasons as a manager at Indiana University under Bob Knight), Doug Overton (11-year NBA veteran) and Roy Rogers (three years in the NBA and four seasons internationally)

Hornets: Byron Scott (14 years in the NBA), Paul Pressey (11-year NBA career) and Robert Pack (13-year NBA career)

Knicks: Mike D’Antoni (four NBA seasons and 13 seasons for Milan of the Italian League), Herb Williams (playing career spanned 18 seasons) and Phil Weber (played collegiately at North Carolina State)

Thunder: Scott Brooks (11-year playing career), Maurice Cheeks (four-time All-Star in 15 seasons) and Mark Bryant (15 seasons in the NBA)

Magic: Stan Van Gundy (college basketball for his father at SUNY Brockport), Patrick Ewing (17 seasons, 11 NBA All-Star Games and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history) and Steve Clifford (four years with the University of Maine at Farmington)

Sixers: Eddie Jordan (seven-year NBA career), Mike O’Koren (seven NBA seasons and a three-time All-American and a four-year starter at North Carolina) and Aaron McKie (13 NBA seasons)

Suns: Alvin Gentry (point guard at Appalachian State), Bill Cartwright (NBA All-Star, 15 seasons in the League) and Dan Majerle (three-time All-Star and 14-year NBA veteran)

Blazers: Nate McMillan (12-year playing career), Monty Williams (nine NBA seasons) and Maurice Lucas (5-time All-Star in his 14 year career between the ABA and NBA)

Kings: Paul Westphal (five-time All-Star in 12 NBA seasons), Mario Elie (11-year NBA veteran) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (12-year NBA career)

Spurs: Gregg Popovich (played four seasons at the Air Force Academy), Brett Brown (played four seasons at Boston University) and Chip Engelland (spent nine years playing professionally in the Philippines, Canada and the CBA)

Raptors: Jay Triano (played for the Canadian national team for 11 years), Alex English (Hall of Famee and eight-time NBA All-Star in 15 seasons) and Marc Iavaroni (seven seasons as a player in the NBA and five seasons in Italy and Spain)

Jazz: Jerry Sloan (two-time NBA All-Star that played over 11 NBA seasons), Phil Johnson (played at Utah State) and Tyrone Corbin (15-year NBA career)

Wizards: Flip Saunders (1973 Ohio Class A High School Basketball Player of the Year), Randy Wittman (six years in the NBA) and Sam Cassell (NBA All-Star and 15-year veteran)

If each one of these guys played in their prime, who do you think would win?

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  • DYi

    In a 3 on 3 game, gotta go with the Lakers. Just drop the ball to the Captain and let him sky hook all day long. Imagine a 3 on 3 Triangle offense…

  • Luigi

    either Lakers or Magic…they got 2 of the Greatest Big Men to ever play the game.

    i say Lakers because Phil’s not your typical sized coach n Brian Shaw was a huge role player during those days of the late 90’s early 2000’s… n Kareem….is Kareem

    The Magic would give em a shot because they got Patrick Ewing but Shaw would kill Stan Van n Phil would get the other asst. coach

  • Taj

    Laker’s would take tourney, Kings squad looks nice as well…

  • jay

    i like the hornets team but lets look at the lakers staff..bshaw, the captain, and phil wont play but magic would…lakers hands down!!! so we got bshaw, magic and the cap…who is beating that team…none!

  • Derik

    Wizards, Sam Cassell could kill ocer half of the team out there by himself, he can still play in the NBA if he wants to.

  • Derrty

    The Lakers for sure, if only because of Kareem. He’ll man the post and BShaw will sopt up for threes all day long. Phil will do the dirty work.

    The Magic have Ewing, who in his prime could put in some wirk on Kareem. SVG used to be great spot up and three-point shooter in his college days. And, I’m sure Clifford would put in the Tyrone Hill-type of dirty work he used to put up in college.

    But, don’t sleep on the Hornets, though. Byron doing his thing with an in-his-prime-with-mad-handle Robert Pack would blow by most of the other guys. And Pressey would put in his work, as well.

    I would also look at the Kings. Westphal in his prime with a 95′ championship-level Elie and SAR putting in work before all his injuries? Yeah, I would bet on that.

    I would have to go with either the Kings or the Lakers. I would go with my beloved Magic, but I don’t see SVG as a difference maker.

  • RonNation

    pretty sure jerry sloan would wreck idiots

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    DEFINITELY not Lakers considering Phil can barely walk.
    Maybe if this was 25 years ago they’d win…
    I’m going w the Minny crew.

  • dukesman2000

    Random question for Dime:

    If you could beat the pulp out of one your co-workers without getting into trouble for it, who would it be?

    My guess is Austin…

  • @

    Players in their prime… Lakers take it simply because Kareem is a contender for GOAT, and is definitely the best of all the coaches. Beyond him it only matters that his teammates are at least decent… as in no SVG’s that played for their fathers at a crappy college.

    If you go with right now, in their current condition, I think the Kings beat the Wolves in the finals. Sam Cassell, Byron Scott, and Reggie Theus would probably give people fits though.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    How is nobody going with the Kings?! Paul Westphal was a G back in the day while Mario Elie and Shareef Abdur-Rahim are probably two of the best players still if they were to play today.


  • haslem


    I was about to say, you might want to put there ages or something next to each name. I’d go with the Kings or the Wizards because Cassel just retired also.

    2 guys I’d like to see play are Karl and Gundy

  • Matthew

    Why is everyone dogging the raptors team…..Alex English can light these old timers up. And with Triano running the point I think we are looking pretty good.


  • sh!tfaced

    Hornets, Kings and Blazers are the best teams. Just make Shareef work in the post and kick it out to Mario and Westphal, who are too very good shooters.

    Cavs, Pacers and Spurs are prolly the worst teams. Although San Antonio’s Chip Engelland will give them a chance since he’s a hell of a shooter.

  • Blue

    is this in their prime or right now?

  • Dagomar

    I say Kings or Wolves, tossup. Ages matter more than credentials, otherwise Bill Russell might as well apply for the draft.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    is this a game played today? or is it back when these guys were at their peaks? because . . . eitherway the denver team is being disrespected.


    who the hell is going to stop adrian dantley? Career 54 fg%, 82 ft%, 24 ppg . . . he played inside and he was shorter than barkley.

    obviously kareem and his lackies should win if this is ‘peak’ performance, but a broken down kareem (right now) would have trouble that a smaller man who made his way on jumpers would not.

  • Phileus

    Kareem is sick, but I would take the Wolves team.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    If each one of these guys played in their prime, who do you think would win?

    I think the Thunder and Blazers would do work too!


  • MoxWestCoastRep

    In prime- Lakers easy. Phil and Shaw were solid and Lewis was unstoppable.

  • kowtz


    Low post threat, outside threat, scrappy role player, Genius coach… ;) Makings of a grand slam team… ;)

  • Celts Fan

    1. Lakers
    2. Suns
    3. Kings
    4. Pistons
    5. Wolves

  • David_Brandon

    man, my kings clean shop. the post and the perimeter is nice. the only real comp are the lakers. it’d be the geriatic rivalry w/ the kings/lakers.

  • David_Brandon

    good looking out, ap! and man, whats up w/ the ballers network updates for the next go around?

  • sam

    take out phil jackson add in craig hodges (their assistant coach).

  • Claw

    I’d take the Suns, Lakers, and Kings as the top 3.

    Though the Magic would be hilarious if Stan “porno” Van Gundy had to bust out the 80s short shorts with his gut hanging out.

    Is that a picture of Rambis or one of those twin brothers from “Slapstick” the hockey movie?

  • Chi-Tizzle

    As usually, the best two teams in league history, LA(Kareem would kill) vs. Boston(yall sleep on Doc Rivers). LA would get the trophy and hold up one of those oversized bank checks.

  • mtindore520

    in the prime this is easily Lakers… the most unstoppable post player Kareem, a solid PF in Jackson, and the oversized unorthodox PG Brian Shaw…no arguement LA would take it…

  • doc

    The Lakers in their prime all day.Now it would be Hawks vs Hornets,since any other contender would be washed up.

  • Ross
  • Eric Nichols

    Sometimes even when it’s a slow day in the workplace, this wasn’t a bad question.

    I’m taking the Cap in college (UCLA), in the pros (Bucks and Lakers) and Im definitely taking him in his twilight years.

    #33 All day long. Skyhook on yo momma!

  • cesar

    lakers 4 sure!

  • mike

    alex english would give people buckets

    triano was ice water
    and iavaroni can probably do somehting

  • jc

    Don’t sleep on that Suns team.

    Cartwright still owns Ewing for free lol. Majerle regularly plays with/against the Suns regular squad, and he’s been practicing his 35 footers.

    Gentry…I dunno. I have no idea how a guy that large played point guard anywhere.


    LAKERS. they even have a bench with craig hodges on their roster/staff.

  • MJAX

    The Kings, Shareef was solid!

  • heartbreaker85

    3 on 3?


    Shaw to distribute, Jackson to provide the hustle (for those old enough to remember, cat was junkyard) and Kareem to score.