Saturday, December 08, 2007

07-08 SBL Preview: Bank of Taiwan

Center Cheng An-jay (Source: ESPN Taiwan)

-- Last season: 4-26, 7th in regular season.

-- Key additions: Hu Yu-wei (Taiwan Mobile), Lin Tsun-ching (Taiwan Mobile), Wu Fong-cheng (rookie)

-- Key subtractions: Yang Chin-min (TB), Yue Ying-li (Dacin), Ju Yong-hong (retired)

-- Key changes: Long-time assistant Lai Liang-chung finally replaced Wei Chen-min as head coach. Veteran Ju Yong-hong decided to retire and start his second career as an assitant coach on the team.

-- Analysis:

The poor gets poorer. It has always been like this for Bank of Taiwan, which once again lost its top two players Yang Chin-min and Yue Ying-li as both left and looked for greener pasture and higher salaries.

Sometimes it's funny when you think about this: this bank-backed team was always one of the small-budget teams and kept losing players.

Anyway, Wei Chen-min obviously wore out his welcome from the top last season, when BOT could went into a slump during a slump. It won only four games after a brilliant finish of the 2005-06 season, when it gave defending champ Yulon a scare in an epic four-game first round playoff series.

Chen Shun-hsiang and Lin Chun-feng are expected to be the primary scoring options after the departure of Yang and Yue. Chen Shun-hsiang showed steady improvement last season and earned more playing time for his consistency. Lin Chun-feng, in my opinion, can be twice as good as he is right now if he plays hard all the time.

BOT selected the top pick Wu Fong-cheng, another smooth scoring forward, in the inaugural SBL Draft over the summer. It should take Wu one or two years before making substantial contributions.

BOT's offense was often unorganized, but the real problem will be its defense. Sometimes it could be described as non-exist because the team simply lacked of that defensive mentality.

The addition of Hu Yu-wei and Lin Tsun-ching could be a two-edge sword. Both are shooters, but BOT already had enough shooters on the wing in Chen and Lin.

The team will be thin in the middle after losing the tough guy Ju Yong-hong to retirement. Chou Ben-tang and Cheng An-jay have the height (both are 200cm tall) but too often looked like lost souls on the court. Which explains why sometimes the head coach opted for a smaller lineup.

The backcourt is interesting as Chien Ming-fu (163cm) and Lin Chih-long (listed at 172cm but closer to 170 in my opnion...) are probably the shortest backcourt tandem in the league. Both are lightning quick and can break down opposing defense. However, both can be out of control at times.

It's going to be another long and winding season for BOT. And if the team still operates with limited budget and fails to improve its defense dramatically, the future is not optmistic.

-- Roster:
2 Wu Fong-cheng F 1986.11.27 195
6 Chen Shun-hsiang F 1985.5.2 190
7 Chang Jun-hsuan F 1987.12.18 194
8 Lin Tsun-ching F 1986.4.22 188
9 Chuan Hsiao-wen F 1983.10.28 190
24 Lin Chun-feng F 1979.5.4 187
28 Hsu Chi-chan F 1982.10.30 194
72 Hu Yu-wei F 1983.3.13 190
15 Chou Ben-tang C 1978.9.16 200
88 Cheng An-jay C 1979.3.19 200
1 Chien Ming-fu G 1979.6.22 163
3 Lin Chih-long G 1983.12.2 172
20 Yuan Cheng-chan G 1985.3.28 180
33 Chen Shen-ya G 1983.4.20 185
68 Chang Bo-sheng G 1987.2.2 185