MVP Duo Sun-Sang-Warney, the best duo to become a legend together

Lee Sang-min and Johnny McDowell (Daejeon Hyundai), Kim Seung-hyun and Marcus Hicks (Daegu Dongyang Orions), Yang Dong-geun and La Gun-ah (Ulsan Hyundai Mobis), the ‘best combination’ that led the team to the top and remained a legend together in an era in professional basketball. ‘There were Beyond the times, the compatibility of a foreign big man + a native guard in KBL is considered the most ideal combination that guarantees both grades and fun.

If you were to pick the most ideal combination in professional basketball right now, Kim Seon-hyung and Jamil Warney (Seoul SK) would be the first to be chosen. The two players, who have already been working together for the fourth season in SK, collaborated on the team’s combined championship last year, and this year, they are writing a new history by winning the domestic player and foreign player MVP side by side.

SK succeeded in advancing to the semifinals with the power of the Kim Seon-hyeong-Warney combination. SK overturned its inferiority by 16 points and won 77-72 in the 3rd game of the 2022-2023 SKT Adot Pro Basketball Round of 6 playoff (Best of 5) against Jeonju KCC held at Jeonju Indoor Gymnasium on April 7th. Seoul Home SK, who took both the 1st and 2nd games in , ended the series with 3 wins and advanced to the semi-final playoffs (Best-of-5) to face Changwon LG, who placed 2nd in the regular league. 안전놀이터

Kim Seon-hyung and Warney won the MVP award side by side, beating the players from the 1st and 2nd teams, although SK stayed in 3rd place in the regular season. Until this season, there were a total of 7 cases in which a team produced domestic and foreign MVPs together, but all of them were the 1st place teams in the regular league, and it was the first time in history that ‘the 3rd place team won the MVP award’. This is because their performance was so overwhelming that there was no disagreement.

Warney tied the record for the most awards with Johnny McDowell-Lagana for two consecutive years and three awards. Kim Seon-hyung set a new record by recapturing the domestic player MVP in 10 years since 2013. Personal records such as 1st place in professional basketball this season (Warney 24.2 points) and 1st place in assists (Seonhyung Kim 6.8) were also shared by the two players. SK, which had been somewhat stagnant at the beginning of the season with the name of the defending champion colorless, rode a scary uptrend in the second half and finished the 6th round with a complete victory with a 9-game winning streak.

Even in the playoffs, the momentum of the MVP duo is unstoppable. The two players set a new record of double-double together in the playoffs in the 6th round this time.

Warney did his part with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in Game 1, 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in Game 2, and in Game 3, he swept KCC’s goal with a whopping 30 points and 13 rebounds. Series averages of 25.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. Even in the physical burden of digesting more than 34 minutes of each game, including one overtime, Warney did not show any tiredness or pushback while virtually dealing with KCC’s Laguna and Dion Thompson, two foreign opponents.

The regular season is great, but Warney is a guy who gets stronger in the playoffs. He is averaging 25.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 9 career games. Although he still has fewer games, it is a record worthy of the all-time leading scoring average in the playoffs. Even though it seems to be somewhat sluggish, kicking out points and rebounds when necessary and becoming stronger in the second half than in the first half, proves Warney’s concentration and high BQ.

Partner Kim Seon-hyeong played a big role with 14.3 points and 10.3 assists. He set a record for double-doubles in three straight games, not just series average. Kim Sun-hyeong recorded 11 points and 10 assists in the first game, 22 points and 11 assists (7 rebounds) in the second game, and 10 points and 10 assists (8 rebounds) in the third game. Had he grabbed a few more rebounds, he could have even reached a triple-double.

Kim Sun-hyung became the first player to achieve three consecutive double-doubles with a score-assist combination in the KBL playoffs. Only two Korean players have achieved double-doubles in more than 3 games in a row, retired Ha Seung-jin (5 games) and Seo Jang-hoon (3 games), and they all exceeded double digits with points and rebounds. Including foreign players, the naturalized Laguna’s 21 consecutive games (score-rebound) is the highest record.

No matter how good a player is, there are many cases where he cannot show as much performance as the regular season even in the playoffs, where he has to focus on defense and face the same team consecutively. Kim Seon-hyeong recorded an average of double-digit assists in the PO series, which previous KBL legend guards such as Lee Sang-min, Kim Seung-hyun, and Yang Dong-geun were unable to achieve. It means that the derivative effect of saving the movement of colleagues based on his explosive personal attack power was great.

Even if Sunhyung Kim doesn’t score a lot, once he gets the ball and starts moving forward, the opposing team will be in a hellish four-choice. This is because the two-on-two play with Warney, the best scorer in the league, is basic, and all options are available, from breaking through using the proprietary step, passing, and shooting. Kim Seon-hyeong’s mid-long range shooting, which was said to be a weakness in the early days, has now become a level that cannot be let go. KCC tried to keep Kim Seon-hyeong in check, but rather, there were frequent scenes where Oh Jae-hyun or Heo Il-young got hit from the outskirts.

SK showed off its potential to win a sweep even though Choi Jun-yong, the MVP of the regular season last year and the main player in the championship, was out of power. Of course, in terms of content, it struggled quite a bit against KCC’s counterattack and there were moments when I missed Choi Jun-yong’s empty seat, but Kim Seon-hyung and Warney’s power was so overwhelming that I was not shaken in the crisis. The two double victories achieved in the 6th round PO proved SK’s confidence and determination that it can catch up anytime even if the score gap widens.

SK will now meet Changwon LG, who are second in the regular season, in the semifinals. The regular season record of both teams was tight with 3 wins and 3 losses. In SK, LG’s defense, which ranked second in the regular season with the least points allowed (76.6 points), struggled quite a bit.

However, ahead of the playoffs, LG lost center Asem Marais, who was key to the defense, due to injury. Veteran Dante Cunningham is alive and well and Reggie Perry has joined as a substitute, but it is unclear whether he will be able to replace Marey’s control and defense.

This is a point where Warney and Kim Seon-hyeong, who finished the playoffs in the semifinals early and even stocked up their stamina, can gain more confidence. Since SK has the most reliable ‘one-two punch’ in the league, it is never a dream for SK, the third-place team in the regular league, to win two consecutive championships.

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