“I spent over 3 billion won on my body”…When will professional basketball second-tier KCC and SK rebound

Two of the strong favorites to win the 2023-2024 season of professional basketball, Busan KCC and Seoul SK, are struggling with their early season performances.

Through 13 games, KCC has lost three straight and is in eighth place out of 10 teams with a 2-4 record. SK has four wins and four losses, hovering around the five-win mark. They are tied for fifth in the standings.

Both teams have made significant additions to their rosters ahead of the season. KCC acquired league-leading forward Choi Jun-yong and guard Lee Ho-hyun in free agency.

The addition of Choi Joon-yong to the existing lineup of Lee, Ragan-ah, and Heo Woong, and the addition of Song Kyo-chang, who will be joining the team after his military discharge this month, have been dubbed a “super team”.레모나토토

SK lost Choi Jun-yong and Choi Sung-won in the free agency market, but acquired center Oh Se-geun, who was a symbol of Anyang’s Chung Kwan-jang, to form a formidable veteran duo of Kim Sun-hyung-Oh Se-geun. Oh was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of last season’s championship game.

According to the KBL, the two teams have invested a total of more than 3 billion won this season to build their domestic roster. This includes trades made after the first players were registered.

[Goyang=News] Kim Geum-bo (R) looks on during the first quarter of the 2023-2024 East Asian Super League (EASL) Group B qualifying match between the Seoul SK Knights and the Ryukyu Golden Kings (JPN) at the Goyang Sono Arena in Goyang, South Korea, on Nov. 1. Nov. 1, 2023. kgb@newsis.com
Of the 10 teams, only KCC and SK are above the salary cap (2.8 billion won).

KCC spent about 3.074 billion won and SK spent about 3.03 billion won. Ransoms for foreign and Asian quota players were not included. In KCC’s case, it also excludes the salary of naturalized player Ragan-ah.

This means that both teams have a lot of highly paid domestic players. It’s no wonder that many managers picked KCC and SK as the two favorites.

However, when the lid was lifted, it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

KCC was expected to win the cup tournament before the start of the regular season, but the team was unable to operate at full strength due to the loss of its center, Choi Jun-yong, to an adductor muscle injury.

Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong, who wore KCC jerseys side by side in free agency last year, fell into slumps side by side. Ragan has only played 13 minutes and 12 seconds per game, and Alize Johnson is still adjusting.

KCC has averaged 91.8 points in six games, second only to Sono (92.2). They allowed 11.7 3-pointers per game. This was the most among the 10 clubs.

The good news is that Choi Jun-yong made his debut against SONO on the 12th, scoring 22 points in his first start.

Despite the loss, KCC head coach Jeon Chang-jin holds the cards to utilize more options and tactics in the future.

Add to that the fact that former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Song Kyo-chang is set to return from the military, and you can expect a rebound. Core Choi Jun-yong and Song Gyo-chang have a lot on their shoulders.

SK traveled to Japan and Taiwan to compete in the East Asian Super League (EASL) early in the season. In addition, the team is playing a regular league schedule, which puts a lot of pressure on their physical strength.

The highly anticipated Oh has been a slow starter.

He’s averaging just 5.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and two assists in the opening eight games, and the offense derived from guard Kim Sun-hyung isn’t as threatening as it once was.

The team needs to diversify the offense away from Jamil Warney. Their offense has become monotonous, and they end up looking only for Warney. SK’s two-point shooting percentage is 47.6%, the lowest among the 10 clubs.

The team is also expected to be stronger in the future as Ahn Young-joon will join the team after completing his military service.

Lee Kyu-seop, a commentator for Sportvision, said, “In SK’s case, they went 4-2 in the games that Warney played, so it’s hard to say that they were too bad considering their tight schedule. He is the type of player who builds his body for the end of the regular season and the playoffs as the season goes on, so we need to keep an eye on him.”

“It’s true that the field goal percentage is too low, and when Kim Sun-hyung is out, the upfront productivity drops significantly. After all, in recent games, everyone has been looking for Wony. If Ahn Young-jun returns, we will be able to play the basketball we envisioned with different combinations and tactics.”

As for KCC, “Because Choi Jun-yong was injured, we played (six games) with a strength that was not much different from last season. We lost to SONO, but when Choi Jun-yong came, we showed a different look in the offense.” “If Choi Jun-yong regains his form and Song Kyo-chang joins us, coach Jeon Chang-jin will have more cards to play. It’s urgent for Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong to find their pace, and it’s only a matter of time before SK and KCC are fully fit and ready to compete for the top spot.”

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