After two long weeks, 3v3 group play has wrapped up and we’re heading to Indy to crown our first SLAM Open champion next week. We’ll keep the recap short since we’re going to do a LONG preview for bracket play next week, but since I’m cheesy and I like my 3v3 segments, let’s do a couple notes from the past 2 weeks.
1. Winning In This League Is Very Hard
OTTR, iBallGreens, Fanta, Sav, Doc, Antoine, Mama Im Dat Man, KennyZeus, Splash. That’s the list of Point Guards who WON’T be in Indy next week. All extremely talented, but if these past 2 weeks proved anything, it’s that winning in this league is so hard. Doesn’t matter how many dudes are on the court or even if your background is in 3v3, nothing escapes the endless parity this league has. With that being said, shoutout to the community team Handlez! 6-0 on the week despite a pretty tough group. When you open up a tournament like this to the public, you hope there will be a couple good teams! We had some, but none came close to our #1 crew. Very excited to see if they can carry it over to the stage.
2. 3v3 Remote Is Good Enough, But In-Person Will Make The Difference
I like the 3v3 gameplay. I think it’s fun! When we get to the end of some of these games/series, there is a real intensity that comes along with it. The race to 21 is a really fun change from the typical 4 quarter concept and definitely shakes things up as a viewer. I think my biggest fix would be the pure amount of games that we played. It’s a lot. Honestly, made things a bit hard to follow, even for me! Almost 300 individual 3v3 games played over 192 series in just 2 weeks is A LOT of games. This is obviously year 1 for 3v3 in the league, so a lot of this is just figuring out what works. There was a lot that worked, but for me, I think one week of group play would’ve sufficed. Would add even more intensity and drama to every series and gets us back on stage quicker, which is the ultimate goal. One thing I did like was the broadcast. I am HEAVILY biased considering I’m…you know…on the broadcast. But, as a viewer, I think the whole team did a great job bringing energy and life to a new product. The WWE, over the top, hype fest feels very classic esports.
3. Can You Tell I’m Excited To Get Back To Indy?
Look, remote play is remote play. It’s fine and completely necessary. Playing every single game on stage is extremely hard to pull off, it’s so much easier to do it this way. HOWEVER, 3v3 on stage is going to be incredible. Dare I say it may even challenge the 5v5 product? The end of 3v3 games are unbelievably intense and since the games are so much shorter, we get to those dramatic moments much quicker and much more often. That kind of intensity is hard to come by! Imagine us having two games on stage, both coming down the stretch at the same time and getting simultaneous game-winning shots. Pandemonium! The potential is extremely high for chaos and as someone who solely roots for the most chaotic outcome in all sports, this is setting up to be a great week.
Overall, I think the first 3v3 group stage was a decent success. It was so new for everyone which made for a very unique viewing experience. Gameplay was good,the finishes are intense, and the players seem into it! I think there are some fair adjustments that can be made to maximize the product even more, but let’s get through bracket stage before making anything too declarative. For now, we’re onto Indy!