Moving on to our next team, we will take a look at the team that has given trouble to the aforementioned top two teams. Enter the Singapore Slingers.
Before we start off the ABL Playoffs 2014, I’d like to use this space here to look back at the regular season numbers and see what we can crunch from that to evaluate out expectations for this year’s playoffs from each team.
Having gone through two teams that are the best in offense, and the best in defense, we move on to the Singapore Slingers. The Slingers are one of the more unique teams in the ABL Playoffs, where they prefer to play at a really slow tempo. For how fast the Westport Malaysia Dragons run, the Singapore Slingers drag along even slower.
That short column on the left there is the Singapore Slingers pace. That is 2.84 less than the second lowest pace in the ABL, the Indonesia Warriors. It’s remarkable how they keep their pace down with their slow set up offense and their stingy defense. Opponents take a lot of time to finally get a shot off against the Slingers. Opponents do shot a good amount of their shots against the Slingers (38.9%, second highest in the ABL) but they are limited to only 67.95 attempts per game, while hitting 26.4 shots per game, both ABL lows.
They shoot at a passable rate, clinging to the league average in FG%, 3P%, and FT%.
But what keeps them afloat is how they manage their possessions. The Slingers are the have the league’s least amount of turnovers per game (11.8 per game) and are second in Turnover Percentage (12.7%) , which is the rate of turning the ball over.
Apart from that, they also end their opponents possession effectively, grabbing a league leading 72.2% of total defensive rebounds available. This means that more times than not, the opponent will only have one try at the basket per possession. Within a game plan of limited possessions, grabbing defensive rebounds are crucial, and the Slingers do well to box out and not allow offensive rebounds.
One more thing that the Slingers have going for them is their point distribution.
The Slingers have one of the most beautiful point distribution graphs in the league. Apart from the huge chunk that is Dior Lowhorn, no one else is responsible for a huge part of their scoring.
It is an impressive model that the Slingers are implementing, utilizing a major part of their local players into their offense. The Slinger’ Locals have the biggest share of their team’s scoring than any other team in the ABL.
The Slingers aren’t an offensive power house to begin with, but they can get by with Dior Lowhorn and his league leading points per game, Justin Howard’s size eating inside presence, and the Wong Wei Long occasional explosion. However, in their losses the statistics show that they didn’t do anything significantly different, except for 1 thing: Hitting their shots.
The Slingers shot an ugly 32.9% of their field goals in their losses, which is second least to only the shot happy Indonesia Warriors (32.5%). Pressure the Slingers into a bad shooting day and contest their shots and chances are they will shoot their way out of the game.
Keys to Winning
We’ve covered their weakness, so it’s without difficulty to say that the key for the Slingers is to make their shots.
Easier said than done though, the Slingers have got to get their offense going and keep it up. Wong Wei Long and Larry Lieu have to make their shots and they have to keep feeding the ball to Lowhorn in his sweet spots.
NBA Championship Comparison
Utah Jazz 1996-1997
I kind of cheated here again and compared this team to a team that didn’t win a championship, but anyone who watched the NBA during those days knew well that this team would have gotten a ring in almost any other era that Jordan didn’t dominate. John Stockton and Al Vergara are both veteran, old school, pass first point guards. Plus they are/were really old. Karl Malone is a bang it down low forward who had a respectable midrange game later in his career. Dior Lowhorn is a bang it down low forward who already has a respectable midrange AND long range game. Justin Howard and Gregg Ostertag are both Huge space eating centers who are a bit slow but can operate well inside.
I once again might have been reaching a bit here, as I can’t really find a nice fit for Wong Wei Long and the other locals on this Slingers team, but I think that’s because the Slingers are such a unique team.
The Singapore Slingers will play Hi-Tech Bangkok City at Thai-Japanese Stadium on the 29th of October, 7.00PM +7GMT for Game 1.
They will play again on Halloween, 31st of October, 8.00PM +8GMT for Game 2 at OCBC Stadium.
If necessary, they will finish off the series at Thai Japanese Stadium on the 2nd of November.