A look at the past two years and the next three years for Kang and KB.
Kang Isul joins hands with KB again. One of the biggest names in this year’s free agency market, Kang-isul has decided to stay with KB, opting for a three-year contract.
Over the past two years, KB and Kang-isul have laughed and cried, with the duo achieving their goals in their first year together with a dominant performance to win the combined title, but falling short last season in an uncharacteristic collapse for the defending champions. Let’s take a look at the last two years for KB and Kang-iul, and how the next three will play out.
The first season where everything was perfect
April 19, 2021. The league’s best three-point shooter, Kang-iul Kang, left Hana OneQ for KB in free agency, looking for a new challenge. After winning the “Kang-isul signing battle,” which had four teams in the running, KB officially announced the signing of Kang-isul amidst a lot of buzz.
At the time, Kang’s salary totaled 390 million won. It was the largest transfer in history at the time. With the addition of Kang-iul to super ace Park Ji-soo, who dominates the league beyond KB, KB quickly became the favorite to win the national title.
This was not without its concerns, as KB had barely spent the offseason together due to Park’s national team commitments to the United States. There were questions about whether Park Ji-soo and Kang Yi-eul, who had worked well together on the national team but had virtually no chance to work together on the club team, would be able to synergize as expected.
From the first game, however, KB’s one-two punch erased those doubts. In their opening game against Samsung Life, KB avenged last season’s championship loss with a 68-59 victory. While Park Ji-soo was solid under the basket with 22 points and 16 rebounds, Kang Yi-seul also had 18 points and six rebounds to complete her first game in a KB uniform.
Since then, KB has dominated the league. Nine straight wins after the opener, and then another 14 straight. After establishing a dominant system early on, KB clinched the regular season title after just 24 games, setting a new record for the fastest number of games won in a single league.
In her first season in a KB uniform, Kang averaged 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. She shot a whopping 42.9% from three-point range. That’s a 5 percent increase over his 37.9 percent mark from the previous season.
Records and awards followed. On December 31, 2021, he became the youngest player in history to reach 600 three-pointers in a game against Samsung Life, and at the end of the regular season, he was named to the BEST 5 alongside Park Ji-soo, and also won the 3-point scoring and 3-point shooting awards.
Led by Kang-isul, who seamlessly integrated into the team from her first season, KB continued its ‘absolute dominance’ in the playoffs. After defeating Woori Bank in the championship game in just three games, KB won the overall title and added a second star to its jersey. Kang Isul, who joined KB with a desire to win, made a decisive contribution to the team’s victory and unlocked the mystery of Mugwan Han.
A disappointing second season
After such a perfect 2021-2022 season, Kang-isul and KB seemed to have a solid future. After winning the title with a dominant performance, KB was close to building a dynasty.
However, as they headed into the new season, something changed. Park Ji-soo, who was the centerpiece of the team alongside Kang Seul, was diagnosed with panic disorder before the season. The loss of one of the team’s pillars seemed to be a big change for KB.
As a result, all eyes were on Kang Isul. With Park Ji-soo’s participation in the season unclear, Kang-isul was the key to stabilizing the faltering KB. Because of her presence, KB was seen as a team that could still contend for the title despite Park Ji-soo’s departure.
However, when the lid was lifted, KB was far more disappointing than expected. In fact, things went wrong right from the start. Opening against Shinhan Bank, KB got off to a shaky start with a 77-84 loss in a game that went into double overtime. The loss came as a huge blow to the players, who had been rallying around the ‘can-do’ attitude in the off-season.
From there, it was a downward spiral for KB. They started the season with three straight losses and finished the first round with a 1-4 record. Even their performance against Hana OneQ, their only win, was far from satisfactory.
After that, KB was unable to rebound. They followed up the first round with a 1-4 record in the second round. The players’ confidence continued to plummet with each loss토토사이트. However, there was a glimmer of hope when Park Ji-soo returned in the middle of the season. KB immediately went on a winning streak after Park’s return and became a threat to the top teams.
However, the spark of hope was extinguished when Park Ji-soo was sidelined again with a finger injury. KB reverted back to their lethargic form from the beginning of the season and finished the season with a disappointing 10 wins and 20 losses. For the first time in 12 years, KB missed the playoffs and became the second defending champion in history to be eliminated from the playoffs.
Kang-isul also struggled to break out of her slump. Averaging 15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. The volume hasn’t dropped that much, but efficiency has been the problem.
In particular, Kang’s three-point shot, which had been her biggest weapon, completely broke down. After boasting a 42.9% accuracy rate the previous season, Kang’s three-point shooting dropped to 29.9%. That’s a staggering 13% drop.
Only in her first two seasons, 2012-2013 (25.0 percent) and 2013-2014 (27.6 percent), did she shoot in the 20s from three-point range, and even then, she was a backup averaging less than 10 minutes per game.
In other words, this is the first time since she became a mainstay on the team that she hasn’t shot above 20 percent from three-point range.
Her physical condition was also poor. Stress led to otosclerosis and later to nagging back and ankle injuries.