The game itself was a bit tough to watch, as the Albuquerque Thunderbirds had been together barely over a week, and the Chinese National Team was missing their star player, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. The Chinese National Team was playing in preparation for this years Asian games, where they will attempt to earn a spot in the 2008 Olympics. Jianlian is expected to play a significant role with the National Team, whereas Sun Yue has found himself battling for a rotation position.
From the tip, this match proved to be nothing pretty for fans to watch. It was clear that the Thunderbirds were lacking cohesiveness and an effective presence inside, although they did have former Lakers draftee Marcus Douhit and athletic marvel Eddy Fobbs on their roster. Likewise, the Chinese National Team got off to a slow start, but found a bright spot in former Mavs and Clippers center Wang Zhi Zhi, who was head and shoulders more skilled then any player on the floor. While these players remain interesting to general draft fans, the two players all scouts in attendance were keying in on were Chinas Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue.
70, PF, 1987, Team China
The second half however was a completely different story. Yi came out with a fire in him, completely changing the game on the defensive end, while making his presence felt on the offensive end as well. While he did not score until approximately 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter, he then scored 13 points in the following seven minutes, before he was taken out of the game due to his teams blowout status. Jianlian had one spectacular alley-oop dunk, made a left handed jump hook, and buried two pretty 18 foot jump shots to account for his field goals. The rest of his points came from the charity stripe.
Scouts didnt see anything new out of Jianlian, as he showed no resemblance of an even somewhat developing back to the basket game. He looked incredibly uncomfortable on the low blocks, and his instincts implied that he is much more at ease going to work facing the basket 15-20 feet away. Yi didnt utilize his athleticism in the first half, but completely used it to its fullest capabilities in half two. It was clear to anyone watching the game that we were looking at a player who has the potential to truly be a special player if he continues to develop his game as a whole, who should surely find himself selected in the lottery this year if he is able to continue his dominance in the CBA. Granted of course if he checks out as expected when he makes it to the States for private NBA workouts.
69, PG/SG/SF, 1985, Team China
On the bright side, Sun did have an incredible block on an Albuquerque player trying to coast in for a breakaway lay-up, but thats where his positives end in this game. He still remains an intriguing prospect due to his ability to play point guard at 69, but is currently on the outside looking in as far as the 2007 Draft is concerned.