Jeonju KCC is one of the most curious teams to watch next season. With clear strengths and weaknesses, both a powerhouse and a paper tiger are being painted, depending on which side is weighed more heavily. The good ingredients are in place. Now it’s time for main chef Jeon Chang-jin to show off his culinary skills. Lee Sang-min, an experienced chef, joins him as a coach.
There are some missing spices and ingredients, but they can be replaced in different ways. If the food is prepared gradually during the regular season and can be presented as a real feast in the playoffs, Jeonju Castle will be filled with shouts of celebration and wind chimes. It’s a best-case scenario that many KCC fans would love to see.
KCC is one of the favorites to challenge for the title, along with Seoul SK, Suwon KT, and Changwon LG. However, many argue that they are not as stable as these teams. There are a lot of issues to solve, such as position imbalance and the combination of new and old members, so there is a risk of underperformance if things go wrong. That’s why words like combination and composition keep coming up.
Nevertheless, KCC is the team that the favorites are most wary of. With such a high ceiling, they have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with if they get their act together and hit their stride. If new foreign player Alize Johnson (27-201cm) can make a smooth landing in the KBL and Lagunia (34‧200.5cm) can regain his form with physical care, that would be a plus.
Despite these weaknesses, KCC’s rise to prominence is largely due to the presence of a talented forward line. In recent seasons, KCC’s frontline has been criticized on both sides of the ball. Aside from a stable leading guard with excellent ball-handling and vision, the team has struggled with mediocre ball-handling and average defense against the opposing frontline.
It would be one thing if there were fewer guards, but the fact that the situation was repeated despite the fact that about half of the roster was filled with guards was a big reason for the fans’ frustration. “I don’t want anything else, so I want a guard with above-average defense,” the fans said. Even fans of other teams have expressed their frustration with the number of short guards who are not competitive in terms of speed and activity even though they have the technical skills.
Next season, this will be offset to a large extent. It’s not like there’s a guard on the horizon that will solve that problem. The best case scenario is that one of free agent Lee Ho-hyun (31‧182cm), second-year youngster Song Dong-hoon (23‧174.4cm), or Asian quarterback Jeffrey Efstola (27‧180cm) will make the leap to the No. 1 spot or rotate in and out of the lineup, but it’s hard to take that as a constant.
On the other hand, there are many positive views on how to share roles in other positions while minimizing the role of the front line. This is because they have a versatile and different forward line consisting of Song Kyo-chang (27‧201.3cm), Choi Jun-yong (29‧200.2cm), and Lee Seung-hyun (31‧197cm). The three have one thing in common: they are good defenders with good physicality and a wide defensive range.
Song Kyo-chang is a long, fast, and athletic running forward. He uses his speed to break through and get involved in the offense, which is among the best in the league. For a player who started his career at a young age, he has shown improvement every season, especially in his defense since joining the club. In the past, he used to use his speed to block smaller and faster players, but his sidesteps have improved and now come naturally.
Her perimeter defense and help defense have also improved. National team coach Chu Il-seung has recognized this and has even entrusted her with guarding the frontcourt. When a big wing like Song Kyo-chang applies defensive pressure from the front, opposing guards immediately have a hard time getting the ball out. It is even said that Song Gyo-chang is the successor to Yang Hee-jong, who is limited to the national team, not Moon Sung-gon.
Choi Joon-yong, the head of the offense, is also an expert in defense. While Song is particularly effective in horizontal defense with his blazing speed and brilliant side-step, Choi uses his athleticism and quickness to defend vertically. Since his debut, he has ranked second in blocked shots per game in Korea for four consecutive seasons, including topping the list in 2021-22, when he won the regular season MVP award.
He has a good BQ, which allows him to position himself and time his jumps well, which allows him to be a decent rebounder. He is also an excellent perimeter defender. While playing for SK, he was one of the top players in the 3-2 drop zone defense, which requires quickness. Even if the opposing team manages to break through Song’s pressure, they will have to withstand another clever defense from Choi Jun-yong afterwards.
Lee Seung-hyun is a player who needs no further explanation defensively. His dirty work and defense-oriented style has made him a key player for the national team. He’s small for a power forward, but the power he generates from his solid weight is one of the best among Korean players. In the past, he has been able to withstand post-ups from much bigger players like Ha Seung-jin with his body.
He can also defend foreign players, although it won’t be easy throughout the game. This ability will be even more important given the fact that Johnson, the new foreign player, is a forward. He’s not as good as Song Kyo-chang and Choi Jun-yong in terms of defense under the basket, but he’s very diligent and has a good defensive mindset, so he doesn’t neglect to check the outside.
Song Gyo-chang, Choi Jun-yong, and Lee Seung-hyun’s out-of-position activities and wide defensive range are expected to offset much of the weakness of the guards and keep the overall team defense solid. What is also expected is his ball-handling, reading, and passing tactics. Normally, these roles are played by guards. However, it is true that KCC’s guards are weaker than their competitors. That’s why coach Jeon Chang-jin was constantly trying to strengthen the guards.
Fortunately, KCC has Song Gyo-chang, Lee Seung-hyun, and Choi Jun-yong. Song Kyo-chang has good ball handling, as he often played guard before joining the team. When the opponent’s pressure was intense, he would carry the ball instead of the guard. Lee Seung-hyun is also not a control tower type, but his basic sense and ability to read the flow of the game are so good that he can play as the center for a while.
The final player is Choi Jun-yong. Junyong Choi is known for his out-of-position ability, which is not only good for a forward, but also a guard. He is a true ‘point forward’, which is very rare in the history of Korean basketball. He is the best player as a linker with a secondary leading role and can even play the 1 in some situations. In addition, Johnson, a foreign forward, is also evaluated as a player with good movement without the ball and excellent passing sense, so good cooperation is expected.스포츠토토
If Song Kyo-chang, Choi Jun-yong, and Lee Seung-hyun can stay healthy and on the court for long periods of time, the guards will be able to take the pressure off the offense and play minimal roles. We can expect to see a lot of unpredictable combinations and tactics from our opponents. With such a talented frontline, it will be interesting to see if KCC can dispel the doubters and prove themselves as a true contender.