There may not be much intrigue concerning the outcome of this series, but there's plenty of controversy surrounding the three players selected to represent the Thunder. J.A. Sherman of Welcome to Loud City chose to play this tournament with Kevin Durant (duh), Russell Westbrook (natch) and Nick Collison (wait, what?). No Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, no runner-up to the Defensive Player of the Year Serge Ibaka. I actually get it, and have mad respect for Sherman's decision to go with the solid but unspectacular Collison -- there's plenty of spectacular on that team already, they could use some solid. But it's a huge risk. After all, no IT Manager ever lost their job imaginary job for picking fictional IBM.
The Kings threesome is comprised of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and guess what, that's not bad. Both Evans and Cousins have struggled at times to be efficient and effective NBA players, but they could be monsters at 3 on 3, and Thomas will be a blur out there. Unfortunately they're up against a team that's absolutely loaded -- even with Collison.
Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.
- Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Oklahoma City wins 12 of 20
- Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Oklahoma City wins 16 of 20
- J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Oklahoma City wins 19 of 20
- Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Oklahoma City wins 16 of 20
- Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Oklahoma City wins 17 of 20
- Overall probabilities -- Oklahoma City 80 percent; Sacramento 20 percent
Really wanted to pick Sacramento here, for two reasons. First, because the Kings trio is WAY TOO AWESOME. The Other Isaiah, 'Reke Havoc, and DMC... That's a bandwagon I want to be on, even if it's eventually destined to end in a fiery death for everyone. Second, because seriously OKC deserves to lose just for picking Collison over Ibaka or Harden. Alas, in the spirit of taking this imaginary tournament seriously, there's no way OKC would actually get upset here. It'd be closer than you think, though. -- Sharp
We're finding out in London and elsewhere that Durant is on an entirely different level. OKC could put any two other roster players with him, and they'd still have a chance to win this thing. How exactly do you stop him in this format? -- Perrin
When I think of this Thunder team's first round matchup with the Kings, the image of a cat playing with a mouse comes to mind -- and I'm still not sure that truly captures the dominance involved. Just imagine what these games would've been like if, instead of twos and threes, we were following the actual FIBA 3 on 3 rules of one point for shots inside the arc and two for outside! -- Wilco
A talented entry from the Kings but one that faces an even more talented entry from the Thunder. Cousins helps Sacto bull their way to a few wins, but Collison's D negates a lot of what he does, and Durant and Westbrook are nearly unstoppable in this format. -- Francis
The Bottom Line
Despite some consternation with the selection of Collison and some real respect for the talent of this Kings' threesome, the Thunder are still four-to-one favorites to win any single game in this series. Overall, they have close to a 90 percent chance of advancing. Collison will have his hands full with Cousins, and the fact that Evans doesn't have a clear position in the NBA won't matter here, but no one is stopping Durant, so this should be OKC's series.
Now it's up to the dice. The Kings will be looking for rolls of 81 or higher.
Let us know what you think about this matchup.
The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.
For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.