TBL 2015 Preview: Part II

Ok, so we went through the first 3 teams of the TBL and I projected them to finish 6th, 5th, and 4th respectively. You can actually read all about that here, in case you missed it. Now that we’re done with that half, let’s move to the second half of the TBL for the remaining teams.

สำหรับภาษาไทย อ่านต่อที่นี่

This is the second installment of our preview for TBL2015. For the first part, read here.

Because I am a lazy fat ass, I will copy+paste the basics of the TBL from Part I here:

The first games will be played on the 18th of July, and all teams will be strutting off their stuff.

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The format is a simple Double round robin, 4 teams advance to playoffs so that shouldn’t be hard to wrap your head around. The playoffs will be best of 3 in the semis and will crank it up to Best of 5 in the Finals.

6 Teams will be playing in this years edition, a major decrease from last years 10 team total. In a way it is discouraging that it looks like a step back for the basketball society, but I don’t mind it that much. With this 6 team set up, the talent will be less diluted and there will be less teams that will get completely blown out of the water.

Not only will the number of teams be decreasing, the number of imports per team will be down as well. Last year, two imports were allowed per team, with only one being allowed on the court at a certain time.

This year, only one will be allowed on each team.

So here we go with the preview for the first 3 teams in Thailand Basketball League 2015 Team Preview: Part 2!!!


Mono-Thewphaingarm monothew

Now this is interesting. In last year’s TBL, Thewphaingarm split up their forces into two teams, Thew-Chareonaksorn and CAS-Siam University. While that was a bold move to give their younger players a chance to shine, it also diluted the talent among both teams and they missed out on making the playoffs. Thew-Chareonaksorn finished with 8 Wins and CAS-Siam University finished with only 3.

They would have none of it this year as their is now only one team and it seems like they will have the financial backing of the Mono Group as suggested by the team name.

Among the familiar names of last year’s Thew-Chareonaksorn are veterans Christian Boddin, Panurat Chatsiriyingyong, Poomin Singhasem, Chitchai Ananti.

Boddin should continue to be the main defensive stopper inside for Mono-Thew after he showed that he can slow down imports in the BTSL.

Poomin Singhasem will be a good defensive veteran leader for the team after he was among TBL league leaders last season with 2.38 steals per game while doing a fair job of scoring at 8.75 points per game.

Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm
Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

Chitchai Ananti and Panurat Chasiriyingyong will also help pick up the scoring load, as both of them scored in double digit averages of 10.25 and 10.33 respectively, both shooting nearly 30% from the three point line.

Panurat’s staus on his injured knee since the BTSL is still up in the air and it might keep him out of action in this year’s TBL.

Supporting the veterans will be the young core of Thewphaingarm who have spent time between both Thew-Chareonaksorn and CAS-Siam U. Narathip Boonserm, Ditthaphong Aekkajit, Anekchai Jaiyawat, Udomsak Rattanapansri, Jaturaporn Bowornkoson (who played for Taksin Warriors last season), Teepathep Srireung and Teerawat Chantachon round out the youngsters of this team. These are bouncy and energetic young guys, who should be able to run you out of the gym if you can’t keep up.

Most notable of the bunch is certainly Teerawat Chatachon, the 20 year old inside player, who made a name for himself as the youngest player in Thailand’s SEA Games squad and impressed with his performance against the Philippines (…except for that one layup though). Chantachon has improved leaps and bounds since averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds in last year’s TBL and he should be primed for a breakout season this year.

Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm
Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

The Final part of this squad is none other than the loaned players from the Nakhon Pathom Madgoats. Again, we will not be covering the reason behind the Madgoats withdrawal yet, but we will be covering where their players are headed.

5 Madgoats moved over to this team including Chaiwat Kaedum, Tanakarn Sriboonreung, Darunphong Apiromwilaichai, Nopporn Saengthong, and Tawatchai Suktab.

Chaiwat has aged a lot, but he will still be a big presence inside for Mono-Thew alongside Boddin and Chantachon. Tanakarn Sriboonreung was in the same position as of PEA-Madgoat transfers Chalormdech and Watcharaphong as players who were buried under the Madgoats wing rotation, but this is a player that was an MVP in Thailand’s University Games not long ago.

The player that will have the most impact, in my opinion, will be Tawatchai Suktab. He scored 6.88 points in the TBL2014 off 65% TrueShooting (which is, in other word, very effective). He was a last cut from the SEA Games roster and if Thailand could have replaced the injured Wattana Suttisin after he got injured, I feel like Tawatchai would have been a popular first choice. Tawatchai can score in the post and can shoot from outside and even though he gives up quite a lot of size on defense, he works hard enough to make it more harder than it should to score against him.

Picture Credit: Jeng Suktab's Facebook
Picture Credit: Jeng Suktab’s Facebook

AND THAT’S EVEN BEFORE WE MENTION THEIR IMPORT.

Mono-Thew’s import for this tournament will be TJ Cummings. TJ is the son of 1983 NBA Rookie of year, Terry Cummings. Cummings Junior would follow his fathers footsteps in having a basketball career. He has been playing professionally in Japan for the last couple of years after a stint in the NBA D-League. He played collegiality at UCLA where he scored in double digits during his sophomore and junior seasons in 2002 to 2004.

Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm
Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

If you can remember, Thailand has seen another player who had played at UCLA as team mates with Cummings and that would be none other than last year’s TBL Final’s MVP, Mike Fey. Also on that UCLA squad was Saigon Heat’s replacement import, Dijon Thompson. Notable NBA Players on those squads were Trevor Ariza and Ryan Hollins.

Cummings will add another big body for this squad and judging from his highlights, he will be a nice combination of finesse and power down low.

Mono-Thew will be a very good team, just in terms of talent. Even though they are assembled from various teams, they have been playing and practicing together for years. Chemistry should not be a problem.

Bold Prediction: Similarly to PEA, Mono-Thew lacks a clear cut superstar. They have an immense level of talent, but they still lack a true identity…as of this moment. They might probably figure it out as the season goes and I certainly hope they do, because it would make them a very good team. I have them pegged to finish 3rd in this season.


Hi-Tech Assumption-Thonburi hta

While Thai General Equipment stockpile on youth, sister team Hi-Tech Assumption-Thonburi are stockpiled with experience.

Not to say that they are “Old” though. It is true that players like Attaporn Lertmalaiporn, Piyapong Piroon, Mana Jantuma, and Sophon Pinijpatcharalert (among others) are already on the wrong side of 30 but Hi-Tech will also be squading a troop of players who are playing at the highest level at their peaks as well.

Wuttipong Dasom didn’t have a breakout performance as I expected in SEA Games (but that Dunk on Jio Jalalon was nice), but he is still among the top Small Forwards in the Country based on athleticism alone. He has been polishing up the rest of his game in each and every tournament that I have followed him, but if there is a time for him to finally take over and dominate…it should be now. Dasom scored 11.76 points per game in last year’s TBL, also grabbing 3.76 rebounds. Not sure if he is totally 100% as injuries has been nagging him since SEA Games, but we’ll see if that holds him back.

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Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

Packing up the front court alongside Dasom will be long time buddy Sukdave Ghogar. Sukdave established himself as the focus point of the Thailand National Team’s frontcourt in the SEA Games and he did well to hold back Marcus Douthit as much as he could. He should look to build up on his averages of 7.88 points and 7.06 rebounds per game form last year.

From what I’ve heard, Sukdave might not completely be 100% as of this moment, so Hi-Tech went out and acquired a very fine insurance player in Danai Khongkum. Danai is a SEA Games national team player himself and he will be a nice addition to create more versatility to Hi-Tech’s inside-outside game alongside Steve Thomas.

Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm
Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

The Backcourt will be some combination of Kannawat Lertlaokul, Bandit Lakhan, Suppachai Sangthong, and Nakorn Jaisanook. The credentials of Kannawat as a veteran of the National Team are well known. Bandit Lakhan made quite an impression in the latter stages of the BTSL and should look to improve on that. Suppachai Sangthong got lost in the rotation last year, but he is still a true pass first point guard that Steve Thomas himself approves worthy of a roster spot. And of course, there is the development of sharpshooting Nakorn Jaisanook.

Nakorn has been primed to breakout for a while. He has the skillset, he has the physical tools, and all he needs know is the mentality to go out for the kill. Nakorn made 10.50 points per game last season of a blistering 34.7% from downtown. If he starts being able to penetrate and finish at the rim, watch out.

Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm
Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

Hi-Tech will be one of the two teams that will be entertaining a returning import. I don’t want to have to go through all the reasons why Steve Thomas is my favorite import because it will look like I am biased, but yeah, Steve Thomas is my favorite import. He’s a team-first, defensive minded, player who is willing to sacrifice stats to do whatever the team needs him to be.

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Picture Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm

Hi-Tech will be scary for any team that plays them because of their mix of high level talent and veteran leadership, but they will have to manage those minutes very carefully.

Bold Prediction: In any other given year, this version of Hi-Tech would be an easy choice to take home the Title…but this is not any other year and if you read on, you’ll find out why. I have Hi-Tech finishing in 2nd, but it’s a really really REALLY close race at the top.


Mono Vampires mono

Do you remember when LeBron James took his talents (and Chris Bosh) to join teams with Dwyane Wade in South Beach?

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Picture Credit: Mono Vampire’s Facebook Fanpage

Bruh. Mono Vampire already had a sturdy core of players with Sorot Sunthornsiri, Pairach Sekteera, Kannut Samerjai, and Jitraphon Towaeroj in the back court. But adding Darongphun Apiromwilaichai (who was a sensation in SEA Games), Ratdech Kruatiwa (who…was a different type of sensation), and Nattakarn Meungboon (who, in my honest opinion, is still my number one choice to build a team around) is just unfair.

Sorot himself was the TBL2014’s MVP, as he dazzled with 12.25 points and 4.69 assists per game. He could have been a bit more efficient (47% TrueShooting) but he should be able to improve on that as he gets stronger.

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Picture Credit: Mono Vampire’s Facebook Fanpage

That point guard position will be stacked with Kannut Samerjai and Nattakarn Meungboon also in line and it will be fun to see how offensive oriented coach, Prasert Siripojanakul, will handle this dilemma.

At the wings, you will have two of the deadliest three point shooters waiting to drop bombs. Jittaphon Towaeroj shot 37.0% from downtown to score 11.71 points per game and while Ratdech’s 27.2% three-point shooting pales in comparison, the difficulty of the shots he took were also on a different level.

Picture Credit: Mono Vampire's Facebook Fanpage
Picture Credit: Mono Vampire’s Facebook Fanpage

The slashers will be Pairach Sekteera and Darongphun Apiromwilaichai. Darongphun is simply the most efficient scorer in Thailand Basketball as of this moment. He had a crazy 62% TrueShooting rate from TBL2014 and that’s mostly because he penetrates to the basket which ends up with him getting a high percentage layup or a trip to the line. Can’t get anymore effective than that.

Picture Credit: Mono Vampire's Facebook Fanpage
Picture Credit: Mono Vampire’s Facebook Fanpage

The Vampires are loaded in the backcourt, but their front court still remains the same. They will be depending on Chanachon Klahan’s power and Anthony McClain’s size. Chanachon is a transfer after playing last year for Chonburi Hi-Tech, averaging 7.06 points and 4.63 rebounds per game. McClain is the only returning player who averaged a double-double of 13.93 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Picture Credit: Mono Vampire's Facebook Fanpage
Picture Credit: Mono Vampire’s Facebook Fanpage

Mono could approach the TBL2015 in many ways. They can run the traditional 3-out 2-in or they can even switch to playing small ball from time to time. What is scary is if they can place Ratdech and Jittaphon on the wings and play some variation of the Orlando Magic’s offense when they had Dwight Howard. The pieces they have on the board might make it a bit hard for Coach Seng to figure out, but it’s a dilemma that he should be more than okay with.

Bold Prediction: I have the Vampires finishing in 1st place, but as I mentioned, it won’t be a runaway lead. They will run into some trouble with that thin front line…but all of that offensive firepower in the backcourt is going to be hard to stop. In the end, it could be a simple “You score, I score” running game which isn’t beyond imagination that Coach Seng would implement to his squad. This could very well be a once in a long while phenomenon and we are seeing it develop right in front of our eyes. Don’t blink.


So there you have it! All six teams of the TBL2015! What do you think?
How will each team fare?
Who will be the breakout star this year?
Who will outperform their expectations?
WHO WILL TAKE THE CROWN OF THE CHAMPS OF THAILAND BASKETBALL?

Stay tuned, the League kicks off today at 1PM.

For more information, you can follow the TBL at the official website.
For information on Mono-Thew, you can follow their Facebook Fanpage.
For information on Hi-Tech Assumption Thonburi, you can follow the Hi-Tech Basketball Club Facebook Fanpage.
Fro information on Mono Vampires, you can follow their Facebook Fanpage as well.

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