Season’s Greetings: KL Dragons

A weird start it has been for the defending champions of the ABL, but it’s only been two games. Hard to judge a team after only two games.

“Season’s Greeting” is a six-part article where I took a brief look at each ABL team in the 2016 while also taking a shot at projecting their fate in 2017. I’ll try to keep it as lightheaded as I can.

The transition from losing their arguably 5 most important characters hasn’t been completely smooth. The Dragons looked all over the place in the season opening loss to the Singapore Slingers and weren’t completely convincing in their victory over the Saigon Heat.

The schedule has been hectic. The Dragons couldn’t play any games early in December due to a local tournament. Not only that, MABA Stadium is under renovation to prepare for SEA Games 2017 so the Dragons have postponed hosting any games as long as possible. All of that results in the Dragons playing only a league-low 2 games so far.

What we know from 2016: KL Dragons

  • Trigger Happy
    It’s only been two games, but the KL Dragons are once again ahead of the pack in terms of attempting three point shots (23.5).
    You might think that it would be Freddie Goldstein (who led the ABL in three-point attempts at 8.3 per game) who is letting loose of all the long range cannons for the Dragons. In reality, Goldstein has actually toned it down and is averaging only 6.0 per game so far.
    Surprisingly, the most frequent three-point shooter for the Dragons has actually been their World Import, Marcus Melvin, who is averaging 10.0 three point attempts per game!

    Photo Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm, ABL
    Photo Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm, ABL
  • Firing Blanks
    …they’re taking a lot of threes, but unfortunately not making as many. At 23.4% from downtown, this season’s KL Dragons would end up tied (with LASKAR DREYA of all teams) as the 5th worst three-point shooting team in a single season.
    Not exactly good news for your team when a bulk of your shots (32% of all KL Dragon shots are threes) have a low conversion rate.
  • Pass It Forward
    The Dragons are averaging the least amount of assists per game (8.5) so far. Again, it’s only been two games… but it’s not a good trend to start.
  • Depth…?
    Hey, we all figured that the Dragons would struggle. You can’t lose the best point guard in the league (Jason Brickman), the best shooter in the league (Matthew Wright), and the best offensive big man in the league (Reggie Johnson) and expect to continue on without a hitch.
    I just didn’t think that the Dragons would be struggling this way.
    I thought that Coach Thomas would be having trouble with Kuek Tian Yuan adjusting to an expanded scoring role or Wong Yi Hou not being sure how to create his own shots or stuff like that.
    It hasn’t looked like that so far. Tian Yuan has only seen 22 minutes of action in 2 games (an injury doesn’t help either). Yi Hou has looked completely lost.
    Maybe it’s been the local tournament that has stalled the chemistry. I don’t know for sure, but I feel like the Malaysian local players surely have more potential than they are showing (or allowed to show) right now.
  • Skylar Spencer Can Dunk
    Exhibit A more exhibits for the remainder of the season.
  • Best Jerseys EVER
    The Dragons have played only two away games so far, so they have only played in their away jerseys… but damn they look good.

    Photo Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm, ABL
    Photo Credit: Onvisa Thewphaingarm, ABL

What we can expect for in 2017: KL Dragons

  • More Threes!
    I’ve watched Freddie Goldstein play for roughly 30+ games already. When he feels it, he’s going to shoot. When he doesn’t feel it, he might shoot so that he feels it. That’s the way he plays. That’s the way he’s programmed to play.
    Marcus Melvin seems to love taking those long bombs as well.
    Tian Yuan is a long range shooter. Yi Hou is a long range shooter. Shee Fai is a long range shooter.
    When it comes to the Dragons, you can expect that they will be shooting a lot of threes.
  • Home Jerseys
    I’ve been so hyped about the Dragons home jerseys because of how beautiful their away jerseys were. However, I got a view of it when the players leaked their photo shoot on instagram… and I wasn’t completely blown away.
    img_6704Maybe it’s just the color combination.
  • MABA No More
    After hosting 66 ABL games, this January 6th will the first time the KL Dragons aren’t playing a home game at MABA Stadium. Don’t be surprised if they look a bit awkward after playing 66 home games at MABA (and winning 68.2% of all games there) and having to open a new season on another court after winning a championship there.

Wishlist: KL Dragons

  • Jason Brickman/Matthew Wright/Calvin Godfrey/Reggie Johnson
  • Power-Up that makes it impossible to miss three-point shots
  • A Black/Gold or Gold/Red or Red/Black alternate uniform for their game on the 25th of January to celebrate Chinese New Year’s. If the NBA does it, why can’t the ABL?

New Years Resolution: KL Dragons

  • Less random three-point shots from Marcus Melvin
  • More touches for Wong Yi Hou and Kuek Tian Yuan
  • More Ivan Yeo!

Conclusion: KL Dragons

I know I’ve spent a lot of sentences joking about how trigger happy the Dragons (or more specifically Marcus Melvin) has been. In the end, it’s only been two games and it’s unfair to judge them by such a small sample space.

The Goldstein/Spencer pick & roll has looked really promising as well as the emergence of Teo Kok Hou as a back up point guard.

There’s still quite a lot more that we will need to know about the KL Dragons in the remaining 18 games to properly assess the team.

Check out the articles for the other teams here:

Alab Pilipinas
Kaohsiung Truth
Singapore Slingers
KL Dragons
Saigon Heat
Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions

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