By Whittney McPherson
In anticipation of the first-ever Kings 3-on-3 Tournament at Power Balance Pavilion on Nov. 5, Kings.com caught up with Kings Scout and Player Development Coach Bobby Jackson to get his take on playing 3-on-3, his strategy if he were to coach a Kings legends 3-on-3 team and much more.
It was recently announced that 3-on-3 basketball may soon become a Summer Olympic Sport. How do you think it would add to the Summer Games?
“I think it would be great. You can’t play full court, but there’s more skill that comes into playing 3-on-3. You have to know how to play 3-on-3 so it’s still very competitive. Once you have three good guys on the basketball court, it’s always going to be fun, entertaining and exciting.”
How would you characterize your memories growing up playing 3-on-3?
“I won every time I stepped on the court to play 3-on-3. That’s how I would characterize my 3-on-3 experiences. 3-on-3 is fun. I still do it to this day – I still play pick-up basketball. Playing 3-on-3 really helps you develop and teaches you how to play. It’s all about playing with teammates – setting picks, setting screens, making the right pass – playing together as a team.”
How can 3-on-3 help players develop their game?
“No. 1 – the floor is not crowded. No. 2 – you have a lot of space. You have to be a team because you don’t have a lot of help – rely on the two other guys instead of relying on the four other guys. With five, you have a lot of other people to rely on. With three, you don’t. You have two other guys to rely on. So you definitely have to trust your teammates. You have to talk more and pass the ball more – you have to be one unit. You can’t figure it’s all going to work in your favor. Trust is a big factor when it comes to 3-on-3.”
Do you play 3-on-3 with your kids or friends now that you’ve retired from the NBA?
“Yes, I still play. People hate when they play me because they never win. So at the end of the day, it’s a teaching method. I think 3-on-3 really teaches you how to set screens, how to pass the ball, how to move without the ball, space the floor a little bit more. There’s not a lot of help defensively, so you definitely have to play better defense when it’s 3-on-3, because there’s way too much space. So playing 3-on-3 helps me. You can’t play it full court, because there’s no way three people can play full court – you would probably run up and down the court five or six times and get tired.”
Kings fans were asked on the team’s Facebook Page who would make up the ultimate Kings legends 3-on-3 team and they determined the squad would be Jason Williams, Mitch Richmond and Chris Webber, and they tabbed you as the team’s coach. What would be your coaching strategy with that group?
“I would probably do some pick-n-rolls with Jason and C-Webb. I’d do some pindowns for Mitch Richmond just because it’s half court. Jason is an open court player but he’s a great passer, so I would definitely use him in those pick-n-rolls. But you have three different guys who can score in three different dimensions. You want to run Mitch Richmond with pindowns and screens to get him the ball where he can get open shots. You want to post C-Webb up. Then, J-Will can knock down the jump shots or get to the basket.”
What’s the most significant difference between 5-on-5 and 3-on-3?
“The spacing. With three guys, there’s a lot of spacing. With five guys, there’s not enough spacing and you have more teammates to help you out defensively. Defensively – in 3-on-3 – you really have to buckle down and play defense because you don’t have the help like you do in 5-on-5. Offensively, there’s a lot of space. If you’re a great ball handler, if you can create your shot, it’s where your offensive skills come into play. So it kind of varies. If you’re a great defender, 3-on-3 plays in your favor. If you’re a bad defender, it’s going to be a long day for you. If you can score and create your own shot offensively, you probably can do any and everything on the court.”
The team is hosting its first-ever Kings 3-on-3 tournament. What advice would you give to potential participants?
“Bring your best players.”
Fans will have the chance to play on the Kings court. Do you have any specific tips for participants who will be playing on it for the first time?
“Don’t let the bright lights scare you. Don’t let the big court scare you. You better come ready to perform. Most people see it and say, “Man, that’s an NBA court.” They act too an awe – just go out there and play like it’s a regular pick-up game. Don’t worry about the bright lights and the court and everybody else around you and who played on the court – worry about getting that win.”
What name would you choose for your 3-on-3 squad featuring Webber, Richmond and Williams?
“Get Buckets. That’s what they do – they get buckets. They might not be good defensively. That’s not a great defensive group, but offensively, man, we’re getting buckets.”