Thursday, September 20, 2007

Confused about SBL team changes?


Are you confused about all those changes with the SBL teams during the summer? In fact, you're not alone. I am also a little bit confused with all those ownerships, coaches and players changes. So, here we are. I'm going to try to make a list so we can get a clearer picture.

I'm not sure about all the player changes so I'm going to list only the major ones. In short, three teams changed ownerships and, thus, team names. Four teams made coaching changes. And a lot of big-name players will wear new uniforms next season.

-- Yulon Dinos
Yulon is still the team with stability. The team has been there for more than 30 years. And although head coach Lee Yung-kwang did not have a good year last season (Yulon failed to make the finals for the first time), his status remained unthreatened.

All players in Taiwan want to play for Yulon, since it offers the best environment and salary. That was why Yang Che-yi and Lee Chi-yi, both NT members, decided to leave Videoland and sign with the Dinos. In return (Yes, I know it sounded weird...), Yulon sent Hsu Wei-shen and Liu Shen-yao to VL, which is now known as Taiwan Mobile.

When all is said and done, Yulon boasts one of the best -- if not the best -- starting lineup in the league, featuring Chen Hsin-an, Tsun Wen-din, Lee Chi-yi, Chen Chih-chung and Yang Che-yi with Chou Shih-yuan the first player off the bench.

-- Taiwan Beer
The reigning SBL champ was upgraded after adding Wu Dai-hao (from ETSN) and Yang Chin-min (from Bank of Taiwan). Both Wu and Yang are NT players. That tells you TB gets stronger and stronger. In fact, I think they will have a serious rotation problem because they simply have too many good players who can contribute.

-- Dacin Tigers
Liu Jia-fa
, who has been coaching this young team since 2000 and took the team to A-League finals and SBL finals, was replaced by former ETSN head coach Chiu Da-tsun. The arrival of Chiu means that Dacin will no longer a three-point shooting team because that's never Chiu's style of play. He will stress a lot more on the inside play.

Dacin added two key players, Yang Yu-min (from ETSN) and Yua Ying-li (from BOT). Yang will boost Dacin's already-strong perimeter shooting and Yua is expected to provide some inside help and defense.

-- Bank of Taiwan
This team always struggled with its small budget and kept losing players to other teams. This year it lost Yua Ying-li to Dacin and Yang Chin-min to Taiwan Beer. Losing the top two scorers was no fun, but think about this -- it lost its head coach Wei Chen-ming as well.

Wei was axed for internal reasons that no one could really figure out from the outside. And the team hasn't officially announced the new head coach. Currently assistant Lai Liang-chung is acting as the interim head coach. Anyway, BOT is looking at another miserable season.

-- Taiwan Mobile
This team was known as Videoland Hunters but is now called Taiwan Mobile Clouded Leopards after the ownership change. Head coach Liu Chih-wei was replaced by former Taiwan NT star Cheng Chih-lung. The departure of Yang Che-yi and Lee Chi-yi will definitely hurt them. Check previous articles for details.

-- Pure Youth
Daniel Jiang, the owner of Azio Eagles, abalienated the team to Pure Youth Construction Teams, one of the most successful construction companies in Taiwan in recent years. Apart from the ownership, nothing really changed.

Although Pure Youth is expected to be outmatched n most games like last year, it insists on not hiring import players in order to, what else, save money. It will be difficult for them to register seven wins -- its win total last season.

-- dmedia
ETSN ended its three-year ownership of its basketball team in July and sold it to Segway Technology for NT$ 10 million. Dmedia System Co. is an affiliation company of Segway Technology.

ETSN never made the playoffs in the past four years. And the outlook for this season is not optimistic as well. It lost Yang Yu-min and Wu Dai-hao, the best inside-outside combo on the team. Head coach Chiu Da-tsun was not retained either.

It has been confirmed that dmedia will hire veteran Wu Jian-kuo as its head coach. Wu has not been in coaching for almost a decade. Will he be able to make this team competetive? No one knows for sure. Observers worried that Wu was probably out of touch with the "modern style of play" and would be having trouble to relate to younger players.

Dmedia did add Lin Kwan-lun, who left Taiwan Beer. Cheng Jen-wei and O-Yang Jin-hen are expected to be responsible for the bulk of scoring. Word is that dmedia has hired Jonathan Sanders, who played for Videoland last season, for USD$6,000 per month.