Best 1, 2…, changing franchise history

Anyang KGC and Seoul SK are two of the league’s most prestigious franchises, having battled it out in the championship final this season. There was a time when they were relegated to supporting roles by the likes of Ulsan Hyundai Mobis, Jeonju KCC and Wonju DB, but they have since steadily built up their image as powerhouses.

Defending champions KGC have won four championship finals (2011-12, 2016-17, 2020-21, 2022-23), two regular season titles (2016-17, 2022-23), and one East Asian Super League title (2023). This season, they swept the regular season, the East Asian Super League, and the championship game.

SK is no slouch either. They have won three championships (1999-2000, 2017-18, 2021-22), two regular season titles (2012-13, 2021-22), and one cup (2021), most notably last season when they swept the regular season, championship, and cup competitions to complete the first treble in league history. Until recently, they were the two most dominant teams in the league alongside KGC.

While there are many reasons for their rise to prominence, the 2011 draft is considered a turning point. This is because it changed the course of both franchises’ history. While there are no ifs and buts in sports, it’s hard to know if KGC and SK would be where they are today if it weren’t for that draft, so it’s safe to say that the luck and choices they made at that time shaped their futures.먹튀검증

The 2011 draft was highly anticipated even before it took place. In addition to the ‘Big 3’ Oh Se-geun (36‧199.8cm), Kim Sun-hyung (35‧187cm) and Ham Jun-hoo (34‧195cm), who led Chung-Ang University in its heyday, there was also a top prospect from the University of Maryland, Choi Jin-soo (34‧201.8cm), who was looking to enter the NBA from the United States. While Oh was being called the biggest name in the game, there was a lot of expectation that Choi Jin-soo could become a player on par with him, including the potential for growth. Kim Sun-hyung and Ham Jun-hoo were also immediately recognised for their power.

Oh Se-geun, who had been a national team big man since his university days, was a trump card that was hard for any team to pass up. Even now, the best condition for winning in the KBL is the combination of a starter-level native big man and a foreign big man. The effect of the ‘Twin Towers’ is self-explanatory, with their height and the synergy that comes with it.

Kim Joo-seong’s DB and Ha Seung-jin’s KCC are examples of this. No matter how many variables there are in the rookie draft, it is clear that a national-level big man is the most reliable guarantee. KGC took a chance and drafted Oh Se-geun, and the ‘Ginseng’s heyday’ unfolded. Although he was unfortunate to move teams in this year’s free agency, Oh has been a signature star for over a decade and has left such a thick and deep mark that he is the first name that comes to mind when you think of KGC.

After debating between Choi Jin-su and Kim Sun-hyung, SK ultimately chose Kim Sun-hyung, which turned out to be a godsend. While Choi Jin-soo has been a consistent performer to this day, Kim has established himself as a superstar who has changed the franchise’s history in the same way that Oh has. He was awarded the regular season MVP last season, and he is well-respected by fans of other teams for his integrity and exemplary behaviour on and off the court.

With his size and athleticism, Choi Jin-soo was once touted as a big-time prospect who could change the future of Korean basketball, and he proved he had the grit to do so in his first season when he and Oh Se-geun often had showdowns. However, he hasn’t progressed as much as expected since then. He’s been doing his part, but the gap between him and Oh Se-geun and Kim Sun-hyung has grown too wide.

Ham Jun-hoo (renamed Ham Nuri) is not as good as the above three, but he was also well-received as a solid forward with a good work ethic. Although he was not an ace, he was expected to perform well as a piece of the team. However, even as a starter, he was disappointing and was reduced to a bench junior who bounced between teams.

The impact of the No. 1 and No. 2 players was too great. There were many other players who performed well after the rotation. Kim Hyun-ho, Yoo Sung-ho, Kim Hyun-min, and Chung Chang-young are examples of players who were not stars, but succeeded in the long run through their consistent performances. In the case of Lee Kwan-hee, who was selected in the second round, he overcame his initial low rating to become a mainstay.

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