THE TRUTH: Yi Jianlian - Next Asian NBA Star?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

There’s been a lot of talk about Yi Jianlian - the best prospect to come out of China since Yao - getting taken #3 in the draft. He’s been training in the U.S. and already conducts his interviews in English and drives around by himself in L.A. - all saying that he’s getting acclimated to the U.S. quicker than Yao did before him and it should do him well.

But remember - just because he’s Chinese and a baller doesn’t mean he’s anything like Yao. He’s shorter - only a mere seven feet. He’s not a center. But part of the new breed of seven footers that can handle the ball and step back for the mid-range shot.

He’s 19 and listens to Hip Hop. He wears Sean Jean and plays video games. He already has a base of screaming teenage girl fans waiting on his next move.

And he’s aggressive. Off the dribble, taking it strong to the hoop. Dunking with passion (something Yao didn’t do for the first couple of years and some would say still doesn’t). Yi Jianlin’s game is more like Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady or Richard Jefferson.

All of which begs the question: Yi Jianlian - Next Asian NBA Star?