Three-point accuracy not enough in the NBA
As with most of the highly-touted young guns in sports, Bang, 23, entered the spotlight at an early age. At 20, he was on the Asian Games national team, which took the gold. He skipped his final year at Yonsei University to play in the United States, where he averaged 12.5 points a game with the Roanoke Dazzle in the National Basketball Development League, a second-tier league operated by the National Basketball Association. He also led the league in three-point shots, sinking 38 of them.
All seemed bright in the United States, but in a bizarre turn of events, Bang has somehow ended up back in Korea.
Because Bang didn’t plan to finish his university education, he wasn’t eligible for the KBL draft. To become a pro in Korea, he would have had to file as a free agent and make himself available in open tryouts.
The league, though, inexplicably made Bang eligible for the player draft while he was playing in the NBDL ― perhaps hoping to cash in on his popularity by bringing him back here. KTF Magic Wings selected him for their first overall pick, and Bang returned to Korea to secure his possible future destination. According to league regulations, a player cannot play in the KBL for five years unless he signs with the team that chooses him in the draft by June 31.
Reluctant or not, Bang returned to his motherland after choosing not to extend this contract with the Dazzle, although he has repeatedly said his ultimate career goal is to play in the NBA.
He joined the SK Knights in November following a six-player trade with the Magic Wings, and the Knights promised Bang that they would not stand in the way of a move to the NBA, on the condition that he must play for at least three seasons.
Given the way he has played so far, though, Bang perhaps needs to use all three of those years before he can knock on the door of the world’s top professional basketball league.
At 195 centimeters (6-foot-5), Bang has the size of a forward, but in 11 KBL games so far, he has played mostly as a shooting guard because of a logjam in forward spots on the team. He played guard in the NBDL, and if he chooses to, he can benefit from defensive mismatches due to his height advantage over other guards. Bang’s penchant for hoisting three-point shots, however, has so far kept him on the perimeter and made him a one-dimensional player.
In the KBL, players can live on three-point shooting. Yang Kyung-min and Moon Kyung-eun, two KBL veterans, have each carved out a decade-long career purely on the triples. They still rank in the league’s top 5 in average three-point shots made per game, but they couldn’t defend mannequins to save their lives.
Bang is averaging 17.7 points a game and is making 36 percent of three-point field goals, both very respectable numbers. He also leads the Knights in three-point shots made, with 30, even though he wasn’t on the team for their first 13 games.
If he really wants to get a crack at the NBA, though, Bang needs to show more versatility because in that league, no player can survive on one set skill.
Right now, he’s just another flashy shooter who, perhaps, doesn’t know how to spell the word “defense.”
For everyone’s sake, Bang would best remain quiet on his NBA dreams ― who doesn’t want to play in the NBA? ― until he can prove he’s got game.
Also, no self-respecting professional team should publicly say it would willingly let its player leave for another league, especially when the player in question may not even have skills to get there.
by Yoo Jee-ho