The campaign fighting back for a playoffs spot has eventually failed by a close margin. Love Pepe obtains a larger point differential but has got one win less than McFlurry. However, looking forward to the next season, Love Pepe would be a serious contender for the title since the team has operated some magnificent moves lately.
The Selling of Yan Yifu The veteran point guard was signed three seasons ago when he was only 23. He was expected to be a superstar player to lead the team getting through the reconstruction period. In the first 2 seasons upon arrival, Yan averaged 47.8 percent of shooting (including 38 percent from threes), 5.2 assists and 14.6 points per game. The figures started to decine after the third season and dopped to 35.3 percent shooting (22.6 percent from threes), 4.4 dimes and only 11.1 points per game, even in more playing minutes. Yan definitely shows no sign of improvement in scoring, which he should be working hard on. Although he can still maintain a high level of defensive outputs (1.3 steals per game), he could hardly battle for the starting point guard position especially in a team focusing on tatics like run and gun and Pricenton offense. Love Baby therefore decided to part with Yan to find a more aggressive player in scoring.
The Training of Young Talents
Every tanking team tends to draft or accquire a young player who can lead the team jump from the bottom to the top. When Love Pepe announced the reconstruction after being relegated to Division II, the reconstructon started with training the young talents including Poon Ming Hip, Tsui Chong Kuen, Kam Hin Wah, Wu Kok Wai and Poon Lai Him. After three seasons, three have left and only two remained in the team. Poon, Wu and Kam were sold at 97k, 212k and 280k respectively at different time this season, giving the team some cash for signings. Poon and Tsui continued to receive intensive training on putside scoring. Tsui shot a career high 47.2 percent in his fourth year in Love Pepe but his poor denfensive skillset has always been criticized and the reason for the coach not putting him on the starting lineup.
Arrival of Superstars
The release of Yan Yifu has freed up the team 82k salary cap space to sign the Gábor Berényi, the 28-year-old Hungarian all-star point guard. He is an elite defender, scorer and playmaker. However, Gábor has not shone yet and was still adapting to the team, only scoring 24 points in total in the two regular game appearance. The local superstar Ngan Kee Boem is an all-rounded player, particularly good at dribbling and moves, acquired from @魚腩隊 for 1.56m early this season. He is great at on-ball defending and provides consistent offensive output, averaging 27 points in the previous 9 games.
The Supporting Frontcourt Players
Joining the two superstar backcourt, the local center Yim Sung Sun, forward Ching Tsz Muk and the Philippine Aemos Maramba agreed to a 750k, 990k and 1.1m deal respectively. Yim is a traditional big man strong at rebounding and inside defense, while Maramba is a great rebounder and passer. The later has a rarely seen skillset which allows him to play both forwards and even center positions. In addition, Ching Tsz Muk is only 24 years old, who has the potential to develop as Cheng Wee Lee, another all-rounded player having stayed in the team for 6 seasons.
What we can conclude the above is that Love Pepe has sacrificed some of the less talented young players, some veterans and spend some cash to introduce some foreign all-star level players for a championship run next season. The average age of the top five starters dropped from last season's 28.4 to this season's 27.4. But this may be quite risky since it is unclear about the team chemistry after filling many new faces into the team, and at the meantime, paying an extra amount salary for the entire season. The landing of two guards is an exciting news that Love Pepe finally finds someone who can score, without putting much scoring responsiblity on Chan Ho Ruden in this season. In general, the team has been electrified, younger , more completed and strengthened both offensively and defensively. The issue of lacking a consitent second scroing options has now been resolved. The ambition of these moves is obvious that is to enhance the competitiveness at the East Coast.
Predicted Starting Lineup for the Next Season
PG - Gábor Berényi
SG - Ngan Kee Boem
SF - Chan Ho Ruden
PF - Aemos Maramba
C - Yim Sung Sun