#FIBAAsia2015: The TOP FIVE FIBA Asia Shooting Guards Right Now

Less than two months remain between now and the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China. As of this writing, most of the perceived title contenders have already begun training for the all-important competition that will reward just one country with an outright berth in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. 

As a run-up to that tournament, I will be posting a series of articles focusing on key players with whom we need to be familiar. These range from the newcomers, the breakout ballers, the tried-and-tested veterans, the local stars, and even the naturalized players. Naturally, we will also look at the top cagers per position, which is what we will do here.

In the previous post in this series, we looked at the TOP FIVE FIBA Asia Point Guards. These are the players who pretty much dictate the tempo of a game.

In this post, we will look at a position that pretty much defines the international game – the shooting guard. Shooting guards are usually the players with the deadliest touch from long range. Historically, some of the best Asian hoopsters played this position – Hu Weidong of China, Lee Sang-Min of Korea, Cheng Chih-Lung of Taiwan, and, of course, our very own Allan Caidic. Any team that harbors hopes of gaining success in international basketball must have good shooters – shooters who don’t need two or three minutes to “heat up”, but, rather, shooters who can light it up at the drop of a hat.

Without further ado, I present to you my TOP FIVE FIBA Asia Shooting Guards right now:

*These rankings are based solely on my observations and analyses. I’ve only included those who have played in the 2014 FIBA World Cup or at least one of the last three major continental tournaments (2013 FIBA Asia Championship, 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, and 2014 Asian Games) or are certainly playing in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi – India, 23 years old, 6’4
Current club & stats: ONGC Uttarakhand (2014 FIBA Asia Champions Cup): 19.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.7 triples per game,  87.0 FT%
2014 FIBA Asia Cup: 10.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 4.1apg, 1.6spg, 1.0 triple per game, 43.1 FG%, 73.3 FT%
- At just 23, Bhriguvanshi still has a lot of growing up to do, but, man, despite his youth, he is already among the most potent shooting guards in the continent. He has already become a leader for the Indian team, and he should take on a very important role int he 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. He can score from anywhere on the floor and has never really met a jumpshot he’s not willing to take. If this guy heats up, India can beat anyone in Asia.

Cho Sung-Min – Korea, 31 years old, 6’2
Current club & stats: Busan KT Sonic Boom (KBL): 11.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.8spg, 1.6 triples per game, 35.5 3pt%, 44.0 FG%, 85.3 FT%
2014 FIBA World Cup: 6.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.4 triples per game
- Cho has lost half a step since burning the hoops with impunity in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, but he remains among the deadliest snipers in the continent. He reminds me so much of Reggie Miller in how he scopes the defense for open spots, smartly uses his teammates’ screens, and has a wickedly quick release. Almost everone on Korea’s roster can hit the three, but this is the one guy no team can afford to leave unchecked.

Kosuke Kanamaru – Japan, 26 years old, 6’4
Current club & stats: Aisin Seahorses (Japan-NBL): 19.7ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0apg, 2.7 triples per game, 46.0 3pt%, 48.2 FG%, 90.8 FT%
2013 FIBA Asia Championship: 12.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6 triples per game, 35.5 3pt%, 45.2 FG%, 88.9 FT%
- Remember Hisashi Mitsui from the anime series Slam Dunk? Kanamaru is the real life version. Whereas Kenichi Sako and Takehiko Orimo were Team Hayabusa’s main snipers in the 90s and early 2000s, Kanamaru has emerged as Japan’s #1 three-point shooter in the current era. He’s like a microwave oven — he can get hot in a short amount of time. This he demonstrated well against Qatar in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship when he hit 4 threes en route to scoring 27 points. He will certainly be the top Nippon gunner this year.

Lin Chih-Chieh – Taiwan, 33 years old, 6’4
Current club & stats: Zhejiang Guangsha Lions (CBA): 15.9ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, 2.4 triples per game, 37.9 3pt%, 44.7 FG%, 76.9 FT%
2013 FIBA Asia Championship: 10.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.9apg, 1.6 triples per game, 30.4 3pt%, 38.5 FG%
- Lin isn’t nicknamed “The Beast” in Taiwan and China for no reason. It’s also no wonder this guy was named to the All-Star Five in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. Lin is, to put it simply, an amazing wing player. Imagine someone who has as many moves as James Yap and whose handles are as good as Mark Barroca’s and you have Lin. He can take over a game by himself (see Taiwan’s win over China two years ago), and may just be the best overall shooting guard in the continent.

Jeff Chan – Philippines,  32 years old, 6’2
Current club & stats: Rain or Shine (PBA): 10.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.0apg, 1.4 triples per game, 32.3 3pt%
2014 FIBA World Cup: 4.8ppg, 1.0 triple per game, 33.3 3pt%, 34.8 FG%
- Chan started his World Cup campaign like a house on fire, drilling 4 treys against Croatia en route to 17 points. He was pretty much checked the rest of the way, but he still served notice as a guy nobody can overlook. He is maybe one of the top two or three pure shooters in the Philippines right now and can really help Gilas Pilipinas in #FIBAAsia2015. Unfortunately, for reasons that remain clouded in doubt, he won’t join the Philippine national team in China. 

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