Guangdong swept Shangdong to become the 2013 CBA Champions. Yi Jianlian takes home the Finals MVP trophy. Yi was also the 2012-2013 season MVP.
DONGDUAN, Guangdong Province, March 24 (Xinhua) – Yi Jianlian shone in the first half with 22 points and nine rebounds to steer Guangdong Hongyuan to a 93-82 win over Shandong Gold in Game 2 of the Chinese Association league (CBA) finals here on Sunday.
Guangdong Hongyuan, which rallied to beat Shandong Gold 88-81 on Friday in Game 1, are now within two victories from their eighth CBA title.
Although no team could overcome a 2-0 deficit in the finals to win the championship in the league’s 18-year franchise history, Yi refused to get carried away.
“We should never think about that (a 2-0 lead). If we take it for granted, such a detail may change the results. What we need to do is to have a good rest and fully prepare for the next game,” said the 25-year-old power forward.
Yi paced the team with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Wang Shipeng and Donald Sloan helped with 14 points and 10 points respectively.
Shandong opened the game with a 3-pointer from Sui Ran, but Yi soon delighted the home fans with two spectacular slam dunks and six points in a row. Guangdong built a 21-15 lead after the first period…
The party is over, now it’s time to get down to business.
After having a well-earned break at the CBA’s All-Star gala on Sunday, the league’s top players have to switch their attention to this year’s playoffs, which are hard to predict.
“The real competition starts from now on and everybody will become serious going into the first game of the postseason. No more fun times from tonight,” Guangdong Southern Tigers forward Yi Jianlian said after winning the All-Star MVP award on Sunday.
The perennial storyline has been who can challenge Guangdong’s dominance, but this year’s postseason boasts an open field with any of the top four teams capable of winning it all through balanced rosters.
“We have to prepare for every opponent. No one will be easy in the playoffs,” said Yi, who returned to the CBA this season after a five-year stint in the NBA.
For Yi and the Tigers, revenge for last year’s Finals loss to the Beijing Ducks would provide a perfect ending, but first they have to survive their first-round clash against the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.
Players for Northern All Stars
Centre: Han Dejun 786,613 votes
Power Forward: Li Xiaoxu 589,854 votes
Small Forward: Tracy McGrady 2,218,388 votes
Shooting Guard: Guo Ailun 926, 534 votes
Point Guard: Stephon Marbury 1,230,561 votes.
Xirelijiang (Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers)
Tang Zhengdong (Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers)
Zhong Cheng (Jilin Northeastern Tigers)
Duan Jiangpeng (Shanxi Fenjiu Zhongyu)
Pooh Jeter (Shandong Kingston Lions)
Ding Yanyuhang (Shandong Kingston Lions)
Li Gen (Beijing Jinyu Capital Steel Ducks)
Players for Southern All Stars
Centre: Wang Zhizhi 885,630 votes
Power Forward: Yi Jianlian 1,559,634 votes
Small Forward: Yi Li 766,663 votes
Shooting Guard: Quincy Douby 987,536 votes
Point Guard: Liu Wei 768,563 votes
Ding Jinhui (Zhejiang Chouzhou Bank)
Marcus Haislip (Dongguan New Century Leopards)
Wang Shipeng (Guangdong Dongguan Bank Hongyuan Tigers)
Zhu Fangyu (Guangdong Dongguan Bank Hongyuan Tigers)
Han Shuo (Bayi Rockets)
Lin Chih-chieh (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions)
Wang Zhelin (Fujian SBS Xunxin)
The Skills Challenge
Zeng Lingxu (Foshan Draglions)
Liu Xiaoyu (Guangdong Dongguan Bank Hongyuan Tigers)
Han Shuo (Bayi Rockets)
Guo ailun (Liaoning Jiebao) Defending Champion
The 3-pointer Shooting Contest
Marcus Haislip (Dongguan New Century Leopards)
Xirelijiang (Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers)
Michel Maadanly (Foshan Draglions)
Qunicy Douby (Zhejiang Chouzhou Bank)
Zhao Yonggang (Qingdao Double Star Eagles)
Zhu Yanxi (Beijing Jinyu Capital Steel Ducks) Defending Champion
The Dunking Contest
Tian Guisen (Shanxi Fenjiu Zhongyu)
Zhai Xiaochuan (Beijing Jinyu Capital Steel Ducks)
Chang Lin (Beijing Jinyu Capital Steel Ducks)
Su Ruoyu (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions)
Gao Shang (Guangdong Dongguan Bank Hongyuan Tigers)
Zhai Yi (Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks)
BEIJING, Jan. 25 — League leader Guangdong Hongyuan extended their winning streak to 12 games by easing past Bayi Fubang 92-82 at the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league on Friday.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian became Guangdong’s hero again by wrapping up the team high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Yi propped up the offence side from inside to make up for Guangdong’s poor 16 percent of shooting from behind the arc.
The Guangdong team, who boasts seven CBA titles, has not tasted a defeat since former coach Li Chunjiang resigned due to health issue on Jan. 6.
Guangdong trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, but used a pair of runs in the third quarter to go on top and build a big lead in the fourth quarter.
Veteran Wang Zhizhi finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds for Bayi, who suffered a five-game losing streak. Han Shuo added 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Guangdong Southern Tigers had a chance to extend their lead atop the standings with a win on Sunday night. Guangdong could move two games clear of the second place ducks as they took on the Zhejiang Bulls.
Zhejiang though, one of the most explosive teams in the league led by their foreign duo of Eddy Curry and Quincy Douby.
Guangdong’s Yi Jianlian was on fire early on as he was hitting from everywhere in the first half. The former NBAer had 23 of his 38 on the night before the break.
Guangdong, looking to pull away late in the period, but Eddy Curry help the Bulls keep it close. He finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds on the night.
However, Guangdong looked unstoppable in the third. The 7-time champs opened a 9-point lead on Terrence Williams‘ 3-point play.
Williams added 20 points overall.
The Southern Tigers cruised to a double-digit lead midway through the final quarter. Ike Diogu finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds as Guangdong held on to a 109-101 victory over Zhejiang.
Dwelling on what’s wrong with Chinese basketball is a pastime enjoyed by many, both within China’s borders and outside – one that’s accumulated more participants since the National Team’s summer 0-5 debacle at the 2012 London Olympics. It’s a problem with education system… It’s too political… Chinese bodies aren’t suited for a power sport like basketball… If you’ve got some time to burn, ask somebody what’s wrong with basketball in China and listen.
But what’s right with Chinese hoops? That’s a conversation rarely had, at least in the circles that NiuBBall runs with in Beijing. Which is really too bad. Because constantly dwelling on the wrong – something we have been guilty of ourselves — is pretty unfair when there’s so much right going on with Brian Goorjian down in DongGuan, Guangdong province.
Stressing comprehensive, long-term Chinese player development, Goorjian and the DongGuan New Century Leopard youth movement have become arguably the best story in Chinese basketball over the last three years; a story that can be better appreciated when you understand some of its background.
Starting with their inception in 2003 and entrance into the Chinese Basketball Association in 2005, the Leopards were mostly known throughout the 2000s as the middling neighbor that happened to share the same town as Chinese Basketball Association powerhouse, the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers. By no means a bad team, the Leopards went through an average first five years in the league, finishing with back-to-back fourth place finishes in 2007-08 and 2008-09 sandwiched in between three seasons of no playoffs.
Like most CBA teams, DongGuan’s wins and losses generally correlated in part to the success in the selection of their foreign players; hit your mark, like they did with Mike Harris in 07-08 and 08-09, and its a winning season. Miss, and you’re out of the playoffs.
Apparently fed up of that model, DongGuan ownership made a change in philosophy when they hired Goorjian as a consultant in 2009. Known as the most successful coach in Australian professional basketball history (six NBL championships, over 400 wins and .700+ winning percentage), Goorjian has built himself an unquestioned reputation in winning and developing players, the latter of which appealed greatly to a forward-thinking club that is focused on structuring a team that will rely not on its foreigners, but rather on its Chinese players.
Goorjian, who also served as the Australian Men’s National Team head coach from 2001-08, a time in which he oversaw two trips to the Olympics and one to the FIBA World Championship, has not disappointed in spearheading that change. Coming in first as a consultant in 2009 while he was serving as an assistant on the China National Team bench under then-head coach, Guo Shiqiang, the Pepperdine alumni ended up leading DongGuan’s youth team to a championship at the end of the summer. Impressed with the work he was doing with their young players, management elected to hire him as head coach of the senior team in 2010-11. In his debut year, the Leopards — relying on heavy contributions from a mix of veteran and young Chinese players in addition to solid play from their two foreign players – finished in third place at 25-7 before going down to Guangdong in the CBA semi-finals. Using the same formula this past year, they went 19-13, eventually losing to Xinjiang in the first round of the playoffs.
But heading into his third season at the reigns, Goorjian and his Leopards are looking to make a big leap due largely in part because his vision of building a Chinese-centric roster is coming to fruition. Backed by an owner who is committed to the concept of player development, investing large amounts of money in coaching, youth teams and infrastructure — including a state-of-the-art training facility that is partnered with the NBA, the only one of its kind in the world — the 59 year-old has been able to carry his success from Down Under to southern China, getting wins, improving players and building a club capable of sustaining long-term success. And with an average team age of around 24 years-old, the sky seems to be the limit — so much so that Goorjian has on record as saying the team’s goal is to win a championship in three years.
Which brings us back to that whole post-Olympics, how-to-fix-Chinese-basketball-debate. Sure, there’s no simple solution and opinions differ. But, one thing remains certain — if every team was being run the same as DongGuan, we likely wouldn’t be having that conversation as much, or at all.
This year in that spot we went with Haislip because we’ve got Sun Zhe, we’ve got Li Muhao and we’ve got Sun Tonglin, all three of them are fives and all three of them are Chinese. And we’ve made a commitment this year to play Li Muhao. So with that being the case, the import now is a four instead of a five. And if we were going to go with a four, we wanted to be more athletic. More four than Jackson, more four than Shavlik and more athletic than either of them. And second, we wanted a guy who could stretch the floor and hit the three with those three big Chinese that we got.
NiuBBall: You mentioned Li Muhao and how he’s going to become more featured in the rotation this season. You’ve brought him along pretty slowly since you arrived in DongGuan and yet, DraftExpress recently placed him in the late second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. First, how would you rate his development since you’ve arrived with the team and second, is the NBA a realistic destination for him in your mind?
BG: His development has been a very, very, very slow process. And a big part of the development I think has been one, the pressure put on him in China, and all the eyes on him and every move that he makes. “When’s it going to happen, why didn’t he do this, why isn’t he doing that…” there’s just been pressure there and he’s a kid who I say is wound tight. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. So that’s been a big issue for him.
Number two, he’s unbelievably athletic and he’s 7’1. Basketball-wise, he’s all over the place, so the process has been a slow work in progress. But, I think this summer him leaving China and going to New Jersey and just being Li Muhao by himself with workout guys, he came back with a totally different mindset than from what I’ve seen. He’s much more coachable, he’s much more excited about the game, he seems to be at peace with himself and he seems to be enjoying basketball. He’s taken a big step in the last four or five months.
Last year, my plan, like what’s going on this year – and to be truthful, this happens with the Chinese setup – and again, I’m learning, but I come back [at the beginning of the off-season] and we start practicing… and there’s no Li Muhao. Where’s Li Muhao? Well, he’s off in Beijing somewhere and he’s there for four months! And our whole pre-season, our whole weight program, our development scheme, all of that is left in the hands of someone else. And then they’re brought back [to the team]. Li Muhao came back and just mentally he was burned out. He needed to be rested, he needed to be fed, needed to have a strength program put in place. So we pulled him off the court and brought him along slowly. And this is less than six weeks before the season is going to start.
As we started to get into the season, I would have had to cut out a major piece in our rotation to bring him, so I waited and then he rolled his ankle real bad. He was on the sideline for about a month. So really as you said, this is what was happening in his development last year and it was a real rough one for everyone involved, including Li.
This year, he went to New Jersey, he came with us for the whole pre-season, he’s playing with our group and right now, he is a guy that is going to be playing 25 or 20 minutes minimum in our system this year. So that’s a big piece that we didn’t have last year. It’s our most talented young player and he’ll burst onto the scene next year and I think it’ll give this youth movement a stronger and more noticeable look. When I say “youth movement,” that’s a piece nobody has seen before. So that’s big for him and it’s big for our club.
Second thing on the NBA, he’s got that on target his forehead right now and everybody who we play, any team who has an American, they all go after him and make things as difficult as they possibly can for him, which one, has been helpful in his development, but two also can let you see that he’s a long way from [the NBA] yet.
But as far as a talent, somebody you would draft and bring along? Yes. In my 30 years in this, he’s in the top four talents I’ve dealt with as far as, you come onto the court, you start throwing the ball to a guy and do a workout and you look and you say “Wow, I haven’t had much of these in my life.” He’s an NBA talent and I’m real excited where his head’s at, I just think he’s taken a huge step emotionally.
It’s a similar process to what Andrew Bogut went through when we were involved in Australia. He had similar issues mentally, just accepting coaching, accepting criticism, he was high strung, he was highly emotional and Li is very, very similar. And I’m saying this because I think in the long run, it’s a good thing. You gotta get a rope and pull him back, as opposed to some of these guys where you have to kick to get them to compete. Li doesn’t mind the physical stuff and he’s somebody you have to pull back. That’s a good quality.
GUANDONG (FIBA Asia Championship/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Yi Jianlian is back on the court and playing big minutes again in his native China.
The pressure of following in Yao Ming’s footsteps and making it in the NBA has for now abated.
The NBA question is now being directed at Wang Zhelin, an 18-year-old who stood out for China at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Wang is in the CBA, too, playing for Fujian and coach Tab Baldwin.
His presence in the league, and that of former NBA players Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady, means that the spotlight is not only on Yi, who served as his nation’s flag-bearer at the London Games in late July.
Yi played at an Olympics for the third time and averaged 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds but China lost all five of their games.
Having toiled on the bench of the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011-12 lockout-shortened NBA campaign, Yi has returned home to play for Guandong, the club where he shot to fame eight years ago.
In his first spell with Guandong, Yi celebrated Chinese Basketball Association(CBA) title-winning triumphs in the 2004, ’05, ’06 and ’07 campaigns.
He was the MVP of the first three of those CBA Finals.
The way things have begun for Yi this season, another championship and more individual honors look to be real possibilities.
In Guandong’s latest success, a 107-93 triumph over a Dongguan side coached by former Australia boss Brian Goorjian, Yi made 13 of his 16 shots from the floor and finished with 41 points and 11 boards.
Guandong improved to 5-1 with that win.
It helps Yi that on the frontline alongside him is Ike Diogu, Nigeria’s best player this summer at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the London Games.
Diogu came close to making the Phoenix Suns roster but was cut before the start of the season.
Whether Yi decides to remain in China, or have another run at the NBA, only he knows.
In America, he has played for Milwaukee, New Jersey, Washington and Dallas.
For now, he is making headlines again back home.
Next year, China will again lean heavily on Yi as they compete at the FIBA Asia Championship in Lebanon and attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The days when great centers like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon dominated the game in the paint are gradually fading away.
With Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez and possibly a few others being considered the only pure centers in the league these days, there is one question I have had in my mind since the NBA made its announcement about the alteration to the All-Star Game ballot: Could China’s up and coming centers thrive in a league that seems to be drifting away from using a traditional center?
Most media and scouts have focused their attention on the duo of Wang Zhelin (Fujian SBS Sturgeons) and Li Muhao (DongGuan Leopards) as two future prospects for the NBA in the future.
Wang, the 18-year-old who is starting his rookie season in the CBA, has already impressed many with his exploits at the Nike Hoop Summit and the FIBA Asia U-18 Championship this year with his athleticism and shooting touch. However, he is still a raw talent that needs to be molded into the center that he can be.
Sturgeons head coach Tab Baldwin and coaches at the national level should provide the necessary guidance to push Wang to the level he can reach. In addition, with the improved competition in the CBA, Wang should be getting challenged by some quality big men in the post, which could only help to improve his strength.
If the future Chinese national team center plays well in his maiden CBA season and continues to improve, in four or five years time his name could be heard at the top of the list of NBA draft picks.
Like Wang, Li Muhao continues to be a work in progress as he develops his game with the Leopards and head coach Brian Goorjian. Having played with the Chinese youth national teams and participating in the 2009 Nike Global Challenge, many scouts see a lot of potential in the big man.
One of Li’s advantages is that he is being nurtured along slowly by Goorjian so that he can improve the weak parts of his game while enhancing his strengths. A lot is expected of him this CBA season. He may not be a dominant player as he is still very young, but he should make an impact for the Leopards as they try to continue their progression into becoming a contender for the CBA crown.
While both players possess considerable upsides and have the strong possibility of being top back-to-basket centers in the years to come for the Chinese national team and the NBA in the future, the one area both need to work in is there overall strength.
This has got to be a major concern for coaches at the national team level as Wang and Li progress because the opposition will have big men that can outmuscle them in the post for easy buckets and just knock them out of the way for rebounds.
It may not be much of a concern at youth level as other players are developing as well, but at the senior level it is entirely another story.
Yao Ming can certainly attest to how strength training helped him when he had to battle in the paint with the likes of Shaq and other big men. By adding more bulk to his body he was able to absorb much of the punishment he was going through in the paint.
While Wang and Li do not have to spend every hour in the weight room trying to build themselves up for a Mr. Universe bodybuilding competition, adding a bit more mass to could help them to become more dominant in their positions scrap with the best of them around the rim. However, it should not be too much mass that they put on as it may affect them getting up and down the court.
No doubt the two young centers have the potential to play in the NBA like many others and they could be the catalyst in the re-emergence of the back-to-basket center. The most important this is that they are given the time to develop and the necessary training and games to make them the finished product.
With Yi Jianlian’s double-double, Guangdong Hongyuan upset Zhejiang 113-110 in their first 2012-2013 CBA home game on Friday night.
After a season of struggling and frustration in NBA, Yi came back home with a hero’s welcome. And he quickly became the hero of the team with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Guangdong trailed all the way in the first half. Wang Shipeng missed all of his 7 3-point attempts, and what was worse, for the team, they missed all 17 attempts from the downtown.
“We had been very slow into the game, we missed all 17 3-point shots in the first half, I never saw that before in my career,” Guangdong’s coach Li Chunjiang said after the match.
Guangdong finally found their basket in the beginning of the second half. Zhu Fangyu made 2 3-pointers, inspiring Guangdong to take a 7-point lead before the fourth quarter.
The visiting team had chances to retake the advantage as they twice closed the gap to 3 points. But Wang Shipeng, who only made 2 of his 12 3-point attempts, killed the game with his vital one with 90 seconds to go.
“We are very happy to win the game, though it seems a little tough for us in the first half, our team is on the right way,” Li said.
China’s basketball star Yi Jianlian has signed a one-year contract with Guangdong Hongyuan of the China Basketball Association (CBA) for the coming season, Sina.com.cn reports.
Back from the United States over the weekend, Yi told reporters that he would put on Hongyuan’s Jersey for the coming season to help his team win an 8th CBA Championship.
Liu Hongjiang, the general manager of Guangdong Hongyuan, said Yi will not be in the “always ready” position like last season. Yi will play the entire season this time, and if possible, he may participate in the 2013 National Games held in Liaoning for Guangdong Province.
Yi went back to Guangdong last season due to the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) lockout in 2011. Hitting double stats of 16.6 points and 10.3 rebounds in three games for Hongyuan, Yi injured his right knee during a regular game against the Beijing Ducks.
Once healed, the NBA also ended its lockout, getting Yi a contract with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
Yi played 30 games for the Mavericks in the 2011-2012 NBA season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds every seven minutes of play time.
In the off-season period, European basketball showed interest in Yi, but he eventually went back to Guangdong.
Yi was the 6th draft pick, picked up by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2006′s NBA draft. With career stats of 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, he has played for the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.
Former NBA player Stephon Marbury wins Chinese Basketball Association Championship with Beijing Ducks
When former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury accepted a contract to play in the Chinese Basketball Association in 2009, he was a few weeks removed from an odd and at-times frightening online meltdown, and a half-decade removed from basketball relevance. Based on the scope of his career arc at the time, it was just assumed that Marbury would grow sick of the expectations, and flame out overseas as he had during his fitful runs in Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix and New York.
Instead, 2 1/2 years later, the man’s a champion. Marbury dropped 41 in the fifth game of the CBA Finals (the picture at that previous link is fantastic), leading his Beijing Ducks to a 4-1 series win over the defending champion Guangdong Hongyuan. This is the first title for both Marbury and the Ducks. And, as was the case when Steph ascended to the CBA Finals two weeks ago, he broke down with tears of joy.
“This has been incredible, it has been an incredible experience,” a tearful Marbury said after winning his first major league championship. ”This shows what this team is made up of, everyone stepped up and everyone played their role. We have been blessed as a team.”
It’s been a remarkable turnaround. Steph can still be a little needlessly childish at times, but most were well within their rights to assume that Marbury’s time in China would either go as recklessly as his time in Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix or New York would; or that he would flame out anonymously, as was the case during his short stint with the Boston Celtics in 2009. It isn’t even as if Marbury was given a quick start to relish and keep him enthused, because his previous two CBA teams failed to make the playoffs.
Marbury clearly is aware of his station, though, and loves the country. The big minutes and shot attempts help, we’re sure, but Marbury got those in Minnesota, New Jersey and Phoenix and still wanted out. He’s comfortable, now, with a team and a league and a culture that embraces him. And, it’s interesting to note, that he can be a winner along the way.
Beijing Ducks’ rookies Zhai Xiaochuan and Zhu Yanxi also had big roles in helping Beijing win the championships. Now … back to back?
The CBA All-Star festivities have concluded.
In the Skills Challenge, China U19 star and potential NBA prospect Guo Ailun made it into the final round. Chen Jianghua didn’t make it past the first round. PG Guo Ailun won the Skills Challenge and defended his title.
In the 3-pointer Shooting Contest, Zhu Yanxi, Sun Jie and Lester Hudson make it into the final round. Aaron Brooks scored 15 points but didn’t make it into the final round. Zhu Yanxi had a high of 21 points in the first round. Potential Rookie of the Year Zhu Yanxi won the 3-point Shooting Contest with 17 points in the final round.
In the Slam Dunk Contest, Chang Lin, Yan Pengfei and Zhao Tailong qualified for the final tonight, while Yang Wenbo, Tian Yuxiang and Meng Xianglong got eliminated.
Former San Diego highschool standout Chang Lin scored a perfect 50 points with a 360 degree windmill dunk. However, Zhao Tailong won the slam dunk contest.
In the Rising Stars game, the Northern team is coached by Stephon Marbury and the Southern team is coached by another former NBA player, Wang Zhizhi. The Northern team won 105-88. Guo Ailun was picked as the MVP with 30 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds. Potential Rookie of the Year Zhai Xiaochuan scored 12 points, 13 rebounds.
Chinese basketball star Yi Jianlian is looking to continue China’s decade-long legacy of keeping players in the National Basketball Association. The 6-foot-10 forward is set to sign a one-year contract with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, according to reports from media company Sina Corp (in Chinese) and ESPN. The deal will likely be done within the next two days, after all health checks are passed, Sina cited Mr. Yi as saying in a phone interview.
The defending champion Dallas Mavericks got a good look at the Chinese player last year, when he stepped off the Washington Wizards’ bench and scored 14 points against the Mavericks. It was a season high for Mr. Yi, who averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds with the Wizards last season. When finalized, the deal will restore China’s presence in the U.S. sports world. Mr. Yi has been China’s main connection to the U.S.-based basketball since its most well-known player, Yao Ming, retired this past year.
Tennis star Li Na, who made history in Paris last June as she became the first Chinese and first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title, has become one of China’s main hopes in propelling the country into the global athletic scene, but her career has been up and down the past year. Mr. Yi offers China another shot at global fame.
The 24year-old Maverick-to-be has four seasons of experience in the NBA, playing for Milwaukee, New Jersey and Washington. But he has been a free agent since suffering a knee injury playing for the Chinese Basketball Association’s Guangdong Southern Tigers in November.
Injuries cost Mr. Yi a contract with the Wizards, who declined to re-sign him after he sat out 19 games last season. Few teams have been willing to pay the $5 million to $6 million price tag Mr. Yi wanted, the Sina report said. No financial details of the Mavericks deal were mentioned in the Sina report. The ESPN report said Mr. Yi will rehabilitate, playing for the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. The Mavericks were the first team in NBA history to sign a Chinese player, bringing on Wang Zhizhi in 2002.
Yi Jianlian 2010-2011 video highlights (made by asianathletes.wordpress.com)
Washington Wizards’ free-agent Yi Jianlian is currently living the expression, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
Yi has been playing with Guangdong of the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout and in a recent game against Beijing, suffered an injury to his right knee and will sit out at least two weeks for the knee to heal.
The results show for the medial collateral ligament injury, the initial diagnosis requires at least two weeks of rest. However, the club said Monday [Yi] will also visit Hong Kong for further examination and treatment.
This is the last thing Yi needed heading into the new season. An injury to his MCL might cast doubt on Washington or any would-be suitor for Yi’s services.
However, according to the report, Yi has stated the injury isn’t bad as it may seem.
…not serious! Within two to four weeks will be able to return to play! Thank you for concern!
Two to four weeks huh Yi? You do realize that means you might not be ready for any training camp should your knee recover within that time frame?
Side note: In case you were wondering, the CBA does have a special rule for Yi where he can return to the NBA once the lockout is officially over unlike other locked-out players currently in the CBA.
In 3 games in the CBA, Yi average 16 points and 10 rebounds. Last season with Washington, the seven-footer averaged 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and shot 41% from the field in 17.7 minutes. Not at all eye-opening, however, add those meager stats to this injury and you got yourself the making of one “hard sell” to the Wizards or any other team.
However, I am sure an NBA team will want him if anything to add size to the roster and if the injury isn’t as bad as Yi claims, then hopefully this isn’t a set-back for him.
Written by Jeff Garcia on 27 November 2011.
BEIJING – Washington Wizards’ free agent Yi Jianlian led defending champions Guangdong Hongyuan to a 111-78 home win over Zhejiang Chouzhou in the first round of the Chinese Basketball Association league (CBA) on Sunday.
Five Guangdong players harvest double figures. The 24-year-old power forward Yi Jianlian, who came back to his original club from a locked-out NBA season, scored a team high 17 points. Point guard Chen Jianghua buried 12 points, all in the decisive second quarter. Wang Shipeng and Zhou Peng got 14 and 13 points respectively.
Denver Nuggets’ free agent J.R. Smith, now playing for Zhejiang Chouzhou, collected the game-high 20 points, but he missed nine of his 16 shots through the game. He got injured in the right ankle in the fourth quarter. Another former NBA player Josh Boone shot down 11 points for Zhejiang.
Yi’s comeback lit the enthusiasm of the 5,000-seat venue, and his 17-point-and-8-rebound performance didn’t disappoint the excited spectators.
“I overcame a slow start,” said Yi after the game. “Luckily I did better in the second half.”
“Yi did a good job, but he needs more time to find back his peak form,” said Li Chunjiang, head coach of Guangdong.
The Guangdong team, which pocketed seven league titles in the last eight CBA seasons, had a slow start. Yi and his teammates struggled against the strong defence from Zhejiang, the fifth placed team in the last regular season. Led by J.R. Smith, Zhejiang ended the first quarter 17-16 in the lead.
Chen Jianghua became the key player in the second quarter. His fast and flexible breakthrough destroyed the Zhejiang’s defending system. The 22-year-old guard helped Guangdong extend the lead to 16 points at the end of the second quarter.
Yi Jianlian pulled his trigger in the third quarter with 13 points, leading Guangdong to establish a 30-point advantage and make the four quarter into a show time for bench players.