Team China vs Albuquerque: Game One

Team China vs Albuquerque: Game One
Nov 29, 2006, 06:58 pm
Recently, the Chinese National Team stomped on the reigning NBA D-League champions Albuquerque Thunderbirds 82-55 in game one of a two game exhibition series held in China. While the Thunderbirds offered no real prospects of note, the Chinese National Team brought two in 7'0 power forward Yi Jianlian and 6'9 guard Sun Yue. China had a third in 1989 born point guard Chen Jianghua, but he did not log any minutes. DraftExpress was able to view the game, in order to provide detailed breakdowns of the performances of these two potential draftees who did play.

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 year’s 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 China’s Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue.

Yi Jianlian
7’0, PF, 1987, Team China


It was a tale of two Yi’s, in reference to Chinese draft prospect Yi Jianlian. In the first half, he was a virtual non-factor, gong scoreless and contributing very little to the team on either end of the floor. He seemed to play with a lack of passion, as he played defense only when he chose to, and had a similar mentality in terms of crashing the offensive glass. It was a truly uninspired performance in half one by a player who many feel has a good shot of being a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

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 team’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t utilize his athleticism in the first half, but completely used it to it’s 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.

Sun Yue
6’9, PG/SG/SF, 1985, Team China

Sun Yue on the other hand played very sparingly in this exhibition, logging only six minutes. He played point guard throughout the majority of his time on the floor, looking quite natural in doing so. Yue really struggled on the defensive end, as ex-NBA player Troy Bell gave him fits in his limited time on the floor. He made a few bad passes, resulting in turnovers and showed very little to the numerous NBA scouts in attendance.

On the bright side, Sun did have an incredible block on an Albuquerque player trying to coast in for a breakaway lay-up, but that’s where his positives end in this game. He still remains an intriguing prospect due to his ability to play point guard at 6’9, but is currently on the outside looking in as far as the 2007 Draft is concerned.

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