The bracket for the Conference Finals in SB Nation's hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is half full, and the East Final will be set after Wednesday, when the Miami Heat play the Detroit Pistons. Gee, I wonder who will win this one?
Do you know how you can tell that this tournament really is random and not rigged in any way? Because if I was rigging it, I sure as heck wouldn't have the Heat playing the Pistons in the conference semi-finals. And I certainly wouldn't have had the Clippers getting eliminated in the second round. The dice were intended to add a random element to the competition, which is exactly what happened. But the upsets that have happened just were never the ones that I wanted. And that's how you know this is not rigged.
The Heat's team needs no introduction. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach just so that they could play in this fictional tournament. The amazing thing about this threesome in a 3 on 3 setting is the versatility. James is the reigning MVP in large part because he has the size of a power forward but the skills of a point guard. There are no bad matchups for the Heat, because LeBron is the ultimate bad matchup. It doesn't matter whether they face a big team or a quick team -- Miami is likely to be bigger and quicker. The Heat have beaten the Wizards and the Knicks to arrive to this point -- where they are facing the 11 seed.
And how did Detroit get here? They needed a bit of luck. This is actually not a bad 3 on 3 team -- Rodney Stuckey is a scoring point with size, a good profile for 3 on 3. Jonas Jerebko is a versatile combo-forward, and that versatility helps in this setting. And Greg Monroe is a solid young player with very advanced skills for a big man. Like I said, a nice enough team. But they got lucky in the first round to draw an Orlando team that was truly awful in the wake of the Dwightmare, and then they got some random luck in the second round when big dice rolls helped them defeat the Pacers. Can their luck hold out against this Miami juggernaut?
Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.
- Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Miami wins 20 of 20
- Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Miami wins 19 of 20
- Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Miami wins 19 of 20
- J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Miami wins 18 of 20
- CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Miami wins 20 of 20
- Probability to win any given game -- Miami 96 percent; Detroit 4 percent
- Probability to win series - Miami 99.53 percent; Detroit 0.47 percent
Detroit got this far because the dice are quite obviously loaded. -- Ziller
Greg Monroe on LeBron? Jerebko on Bosh? Stuckey on Wade? This seems like a cruel joke. But as we said last round, there's no shame in getting obliterated by the champs. They were quite literally built for this shit. -- Sharp
I see here that the odds have been set at about 200-to-1 against the Pistons advancing; and, um, yeah, that seems about right. -- Perrin
It is tough to see how Detroit can pull this one out. If any one Piston player gets hot, we could easily see Miami just shift LeBron over to him until he cools off. Meanwhile, you might be surprised to hear this, but nobody for Detroit can match up against LeBron, and he should be able to get into the paint often enough to rip apart any defensive strategy the Pistons might attempt. -- Sherman
The Pistons only made it this far on account of being in easily the weakest bracket in this entire fake tournament. They don't deserve even a puncher's chance. -- Clark
The Bottom Line
It does not get much more decisive than this where our panel is concerned. This is the most lopsided rating since Miami faced the Wizards in the first round -- and frankly that Wizards team was a little better than this Pistons team.
Do the Pistons still have a chance? Sure, but the odds are very long against them. There are four winning rolls out of 100 for Detroit -- they need to see a 97, a 98, a 99 or a 100 (really a 00 if you want to nitpick). And they need to see that roll twice out of three rolls to advance. There's less than half a percent chance of that happening.
Dare I even ask who you think would win this one?
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.