Wednesday, December 05, 2007

07-08 SBL Preview: Dacin Tigers

Yang Yu-min (Source: ESPN Taiwan)

-- Last season: 17-13, 4th in regular season; lost to Taiwan Beer 4-2 in Finals

-- Key additions: Yue Ying-li (BOT), Yang Yu-min (dmedia)

-- Key subtractions: Cheng Chan-jun, Yo Yu-lun

-- Key changes: Liu Jia-fa, who has coached Dacin for 7 years and the major builder of the team's run-and-gun, three-pointer-shooting style, was relieved of his duty and replaced by former ETSN head coach Chiu Da-tsun.

-- Analysis:

The story for Dacin this year started on the sidelines. Former head coach Liu Jia-fa led the Tigers to the SBL Finals twice in four years and lost both times. The results obviously was not enough for the management, who happened to be no one else but the CTBA President Wang Jen-da.

Discussion of whether the president of a national basketball federation should own a basketball club has been going on for years. The answer is negative, of course. But Wang wasn't listening anyway, so that's another story.

Chiu is expected to transform Dacin into more of a balanced, inside-outside team rather than putting up a bunch of threes. In other words, Tien Lei will be asked to play more in the paint to complement his polished perimeter game.

Dacin did add two NT players in Yue Ying-li and Yang Yu-min. Yue and Yang are both scorers who should be able to share some of Tien's responsibility of carrying the team on his own. Yue's defensive ability and intensity is also a plus.

However, I still think Dacin has a problem with its rotation. As long as it plays Tien at forward, someone has to fill the conter spot. That player was Lee Fong-yong last season, who was almost always undersized versus opposing center.

Dacin failed to develop 202cm Lin Hwan-chao, who bolted for Azio then joined Yulon this season, in the past. 208cm center Kang Chao-hsiang also saw limited playing time and improvement. Expect Lee and young Tsai Jun-min to play the undersized center once again this year.

The small forward is set though. Lin Yi-huei has shown steady improvement at th three during the past three seasons. Chen Tse-wei, another three-point shooter who had a brilliant outing during last year's playoffs, will be the backup forward at 3/4 spot.

In the backcourt, Dacin will be able to put two combo guards Su Yi-chieh and Wang Chih-chun on the court. But Su suffered two consecutive left wrist injuries in the past year and is still under rehab. Wang, who also had recurring concussion problem due to a freaking injury last year, is also injury-prone.

Therefore, Dacin might choose to pair either Su or Wang and veteran shooter Yang together. However, that leaves another potent scorer Chang Chi-feng out of the mix. Dacin is simply overloaded in the backcourt. If everyone is healthy, Chen Ching-wen, Lo Yu-chun and Shi Chi-chen will have a hard time finding playing time.

Based on current roster, it will not be easy for Chiu Da-tsun to incorporate his style to this team as Dacin still lack of inside presence and defense. It will also take some time for the players to adjust to his style of play.

You can still count on Tien Lei to bring his 20-10 game every night, but Dacin will be the most inconsistent and unpredictable team out of this season's "Big Three" -- which means Taiwan Beer, Yulon and Dacin.

-- Roster:
(#, Name, Po., DOB, Ht.)
11 Chang Chi-feng F/G 1981.4.22 183
12 Lin Yi-huei F 1986.3.24 191
14 Yen Jia-wei F 1980.4.5 188
18 Chen Tse-wei F 1985.1.30 200
21 Cheng Shi-han F 1984.8.2 191
38 Yao Jun-jay F 1982.3.8 192
46 Yue Ying-li F 1984.8.9 195
1 Tien Lei F/C 1983.6.1 202
23 Tsai Jun-ming C 1988.2.10 198
25 Kang Chao-hsiang C 1987.4.19 208
81 Lee Fong-yong C/F 1980.12.15 197
4 Su Yi-chieh G 1987.1.28 181
5 Wang Chih-chun G 1982.4.23 182
6 Chen Ching-wen G 1987.11.4 185
8 Lo Yu-chun G 1988.5.7 185
13 Shi Chi-cheng G 1983.1.8 181
17 Yang Yu-min G 1979.10.22 180