Monday, December 03, 2007

07-08 SBL Preview: Taiwan Beer

Wu Dai-hao (Source: Yahoo Taiwan Sports)

-- Last season: 19-11, 3rd in the regular season. Beat Videoland 3-1 in the first round; beat Dacin 4-2 for first title in team history in the Finals.

-- Key additions: Wu Dai-hao (dmedia), Yang Chin-min (BOT)

-- Key subtractions: Lin Kwan-lun (dmedia), Wu Jui-ying (dmedia)

-- Key changes: None.

-- Analysis:

On paper, the defending champion improved itself by adding Wu Dai-hao, one of the best inside players in the league, and the streaky shooter Yang Chin-min. Wu and Yang make up for what Taiwan Beer desperately needed last season -- an inside force and an additional perimeter shooter.

At this moment, Taiwan Beer boasts a very complete roster with each position going two or three deep. That's something even Yulon doesn't have. But at the same time, it may cause the issues of playing time distribution and team chemistry, as evidenced in the blowout loss to Yulon in the last exhibition.

The expected starting lineup would be Wu Dai-hao starting at center with reigning SBL MVP Lin Chi-jay and Ho-Sho-jen filling two forward spots, Chen Shih-nian at point guard and Yang Chin-min as shooting guard. Imagine this: that could also be the starting lineup for Taiwan NT.

Coming off the bench will be veteran Lo Shin-liang, who can shoot the lights out when necessary. Hsu Hao-cheng will be the primary backup point guard who plays a lot of minutes if Chen Shih-nian gets a little hot-headed and selfish at times.

Wu Chih-yuan can either backup Wu or start at the four, depending on what the head coach Yen Jia-hwa thinks. Ha Hsiao-yuan can also be paired up with Wu as the "twin tower" to boost inside defense. Hsu Cheng-wen, who has perennial weight issue, always has five fouls to spend.

The energy guy will be Wang Jian-wei, who always plays like there's no tomorrow, and veteran Shan Wei-fan.

The overloaded frontline means Taiwan Beer does not care playing it rough anymore. TB was always had trouble last year when its inside players started piling up fouls.

Lin Chih-jay, Ho Sho-jen and Wu Dai-hao will be the nucleus for TB, who not only has to develop a system that works best for the threesome but also need to find shots for others. It's not going to be easy. But once again, it's better than playing short-handedly.

If the "Big Three" plays up to its potential and all players keep their concentration at all times, TB should be able to challenge a regular season title and at least make it to the Finals for the third straight year.

One thing to note. TB kept Yen Hsin-shu and Wang Shin-kai, both playing for China's Yunnan Running Bulls currently, on its roster. Yen and Wang could play for TB when they finish the CBA season in China. And Chou Jun-san, who will be primarily wearing suits this season on the sideline as an assistant coach, is also on the roster as a point guard.

-- Roster:
(#, Name, Po. DOB, Ht.)
6 Yang Chin-min F/G 1984.1.22 188
10 Wang Jian-wei F 1985.1.7 190
12 Lin Chih-jay F 1982.6.11 192
14 Lin Che-wei F 1980.1.27 195
16 Ho Sho-jen F 1983.2.15 196
33 Shan Wei-fan F 1978.3.9 195
95 Lin Che-li F 1981.1.5 186
11 Wu Chih-yuan F/C 1983.10.24 200
15 Hsu Cheng-wen C 1983.4.6 197
23 Wu Dai-hao C 1985.2.7 204
77 Ha Hsiao-yuan C 1981.5.15 200
3 Wang Shin-kai G 1983.10.1 176
4 Chou Jun-san G 1969.1.28 175
5 Pan Jen-der G 1979.9.18 175
7 Yen Hsin-shu G 1976.9.8 183
9 Chen Shih-nian G 1984.4.8 180
13 Lo Shin-liang G 1971.3.18 182
55 Hsu Hao-cheng G 1982.9.14 176