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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Denver Nuggets Vs. Phoenix Suns

In the Western Conference, the 6-11 matchup features the Denver Nuggets against the Phoenix Suns. Denver would seem to have more talent, but there are some nasty mismatches on the floor as well.

The Nuggets are one of the teams that chose to go with three similar players in this tournament, with Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, all essentially small forwards, making up their threesome. The strategy is bold -- for instance the Nuggets would usually have a size advantage in some positions, a disadvantage in others. But is Iguodala sure handed enough to be their primary ball-handler? And for a team with three wings, they don't have a lot of perimeter scoring.

The Suns, on the other hand, have a much more traditional lineup, with point guard Goran Dragic, wing Jared Dudley and center Marcin Gortat. This Suns team would play pick and roll all day long, where Dragic and Gortat are both very capable, with Dudley spotting up if his man rotates to help. Phoenix would be able to score in 3 on 3, but could it stop the Nuggets?

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Denver wins 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Denver wins 16 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Denver wins 11 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Phoenix wins 12 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Denver wins 16 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Denver 66 percent; Phoenix 34 percent

Expert Comments:

How did Denver not choose Faried???? Kenneth Faried would be so much fun to watch in 3 on 3. This is a crime against (imaginary) basketball. In any case, the Nuggets trio is still deadly here and this Suns group is pretty impotent, so Denver rolls. and honestly, with Faried, Ty Lawson, and Rudy all on the sidelines, Denver probably has two separate teams who could make the second round in this tournament. -- Sharp

Denver's overall talent probably gets them through, but Gortat is REALLY big and REALLY good rolling to the basket. Phoenix has one play that I'm not sure Denver can ever stop. -- Perrin

Nuggets have more talent, but they have no answer for a Gortat on the roll. -- Clark

Let's start with the fact that Bright Side of the Sun postulates that Goran Dragic is the team's best player ... if Dragic is the Suns' best player, the Suns aren't going to be winning many 3 on 3 games, let alone regular season games. Denver's swing players Iguodala and Chandler should be able to blanket any perimeter threat, and Danilo Gallinari is a nightmare match-up on offense. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Some of these theoretical matchups are pretty straightforward. Two similar teams, where one has a massive talent edge, and we pretty much can imagine what would happen. But this series? Who knows? Gallo defending Gortat? Dragic defending Iggy? If I could pick one first round matchup that I magically get to make happen, this might be it, because I just want to know how it would play out. Which team gets to impose its will?

Our panel of experts thinks that team would be Denver, giving it a 66 percent chance to win any single game against this opponent. But one judge called it the other way, indicating the unpredictability of these mismatch laden lineups.

In our case the dice will determine the outcome. Suns fans pulling for an upset want to see rolls of 67 or higher.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.