2019 BIG3 Draft’s A Glimpse Into Pro Ball’s Future

The 2019 BIG3 Draft was a drastic change from last year when it comes to team construction.

The first round of the BIG3 draft was all about length, size, and versatility, starting with No. 1 overall pick Royce White. The 6-foot-8 baller, who is an advocate for mental health and whose NBA career was impacted by his fear of flying, was a standout at the BIG3 Player Combine, flexing a multiplicity of skills and conjuring images of his Iowa State dominance.  

In contrast, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 Draft was 6-foot-4 Andre Owens, who had a cup of coffee with the Utah Jazz and Pacers. The No. 2 pick was 6-foot-5 Andre Emmett and the No. 3 pick was 6-foot-6 Alan Anderson. 6-foot-10 Birdman Andersen, selected by Power with the No.4 pick, was the first frontcourt player taken. 

The league held its Player Combine and Lottery Event earlier this week, with events culminating in the 2019 Draft presented by MGM Resorts International which aired live on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday with 132 professional players vying for 31 open roster spots.

The Top 10 picks of the 2019 BIG3 Draft were basically all variations of frontcourt men –stretch fours, power forwards and centers — who will be the glue guys for teams that are already stacked with talented backcourt scorers.

White was selected by the Enemies and will join up with Lamar Odom, Gilbert “Hibachi” Arenas, Perry Jones III, Craig Smith, and Frank Robinson to form the early favorites to challenge 2018 BIG3 champs Power.  

Even the two guards selected are big. Lisa Leslie’s L.A. Triplets selected 6-foot-6 Chris Johnson with the No. 2 pick. The guard is one of just two players shorter than 6-foot-8 that was drafted in the first round.

6-foot-7 French baller Yakhouba Diawara selected No. 6 overall by Tri-State,  is the other. Diawara joins Jermaine O’Neal, Amar’e Stoudemire, Nate Robinson, Jason Richardson, Bonzi Wells, and coach Dr. J.

The 3-Headed Monsters took former NBA big man 6-foot-11 Larry Sanders with the No. 3 pick. After a few seasons in the NBA, Sanders decided to walk away from the game due to anxiety and mood disorders. Sanders was a standout at the Player Combine and will join up with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Rashard Lewis, Reggie Evans, Mario Chalmers, and Tre Simmons.

The Killer 3’s took 6-foot-9 Josh Powell at No. 4. The Ball Hogs selected 6-foot-11 Will McDonald with the No. 5 pick.

After Diawara was taken, the run on physical big men continued with the Aliens selecting former No. 1 overall pick and 7-footer Greg Oden with the No.7 pick. Oden joins captains Kendrick Perkins, Shannon Brown, Andre Owens, and coach Nate “Tiny” Archibald.

Then, Trilogy drafted 7-foot former NBA center Patrick O’Bryant at No.8, Bivouac snatched 6-foot-9 stretch-four supreme Shawne Williams at No.9 and Ghost Ballers ended the round with 6-foot-8 forward Jamario Moon.

Stay locked into our BIG3 coverage for preseason predictions and more in-depth analysis of each of the league’s 12 teams.  

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.