KT rides a five-game winning streak into the fifth round.
Suwon KT defeated Anyang Jungkwanjang 90-77 in the regular season finale of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball League at the Anyang Indoor Gymnasium on Nov. 11.
With the win, KT improved to 27-13 on the season with its fifth straight victory. They extended their lead over second-place Seoul SK and Changwon LG to two games and 2.5 games, respectively. The five-game winning streak includes wins over leaders Wonju DB and third-place Seoul SK.
KT’s streak is encouraging because it has come with Heo Hoon (180 cm, G) out with a calf injury. While Heo’s absence as a ball-handler and primary scorer has been significant, sub-guards like Jung Sung-woo (178 cm, G) and Choi Sung-mo (187 cm, G) have stepped up with selfless play.
Add to that national team member Han Hee-won (195 cm, F), captain Moon Sung-gon (193 cm, F), and rookie Moon Jung-hyun (193 cm, F), and you have a team that has been solid on offense and defense.
Han Hee-won leads the KT frontcourt, averaging 8.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He has also saved the team in crunch time with his bold shot attempts in close games.
Moon Sung-gon struggled early in the season after missing time due to injury, but he regained his confidence in the offense in the fourth round and integrated himself into the team with a season-high 17 points and three rebounds against Wonju DB on Dec. 9. Moon’s strength is his steals, and he leads KT with 2.0 steals per game.
Moon Jung-hyun was initially overshadowed by fellow draftees Park Moo-bin and Yoo Yoo-sang, but he has lived up to coach Song Young-jin’s expectations by actively participating in the offense in the fourth round. He shook off his slump by scoring 18 points against the Jungkwan Jangjeon on March 27, his highest point total since his professional debut.
In addition, KT’s big man Ha Yoon-ki (203 cm, C) has evolved as the season has progressed, fulfilling the basic role of a big man with double-digit scoring in nine consecutive games and a 6.8 rebounding average that leads all Korean players.
The key to KT’s winning streak has been the role of Paris Bass (207 cm, F). With 41 points on the night, Bass is averaging more than a double-double during the five-game winning streak, averaging 31.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. While Bass’s play has been ambivalent, it’s impressive that he was able to open up the offense with his focus in the clutch in this game.
KT’s offense is well-deployed, and the team’s offense is complete. However, the sharp ups and downs in the third quarter and the reliance on Bass will need to be reduced for the rest of the season.
The timing of Heo Hoon’s return from injury is unclear, but it will be interesting to see if KT can capitalize on their winning streak to gain an edge in the race for the top spot.