Having shared their thoughts at the midway point of the regular season, Small Yellow Fish‘s Li and Du return- along with Wang Y and Wang X- to talk about the Sharks playoff chances, the CBA All-Star game but also look forward to a pulsating series with Shanxi that starts tonight in Shanghai.
1) Did you think the team would make it to 18-14 at the start of the season?
Li Jiawei (Li): No, I didn’t.
Du Xuan (Du): In terms of how much the ownership invested on this team, yes, I did.
Wang Yimai (Wang Y): No. I once thought we would be lower than 40 percent.
Wang Xing (Wang X): No. I think what [Sharks GM] Zhang Mingji had done is mediocre. However, Ryan Forehan Kelly surprised us.
2) What have been the most important factors in the team’s success?
Li: Teamwork and persistent effort on the defensive end.
Du: Consistent system and quality execution.
Wang Y: The improvement of the young players and team’s understanding in its system.
Wang X: Defense and clutch play.
3) How far do you think the team can go in the postseason?
Li: The finals.
Du: Final Four.
Wang Y: I hope we can make the Final Four but good effort in the first round is acceptable.
Wang X: It truly depends on the quality of officiating. I hope we can make the Final Four.
4) Who do you think will win the CBA title this year?
Du: Guangdong Tigers.
Wang Y: Guangdong for sure.
Wang X: Guangdong.
5) What do you think about the All-Star selections; do you think there was anyone who missed out?
Li: There were THREE Liaoning players in the starting lineup for the North team and Liaoning was the most disappointing team this season. Quite frankly, this is nonsense. Also, there aren’t many players with real All-star Caliber who made it. Compared to someone like Wu Ke, I think Zhai Xiaochuan should make the roster.
Du: The All Star Game is just for entertainment. I think Guo Ailun deserved a spot. He could have sped up the pace of the game.
Wang Y: I am just surprised by J.R. Smith’s decision. I believe many fans wanted to see him in the game.
Wang X: I don’t really follow the All-Star Game.
6) Who has been the Sharks’ regular season MVP?
Li: Mike Harris.
Du: Zhang Zhaoxu. Undoubtedly Harris is the one who made the biggest impact on this team. However considering the current tradition is that only local players are eligible to receive the MVP award, it’s Zhang.
Wang Y: If I could pick a foreign player, it would be Harris. If not, Zhang Zhaoxu.
Wang X: Mike Harris.
7) What do you think about Wilson Chandler leaving the CBA early- do you think it reflects poorly on overseas players or where you expecting the high-profile American players to try and return home early?
Li: I think it’s reasonable. They don’t belong to CBA.
Du: The difference in salaries between Chandler and other foreign players do indicate something. I think Chandler has his desire of playing on the biggest stage. It’s not fair to see a top-notch horse racing in the lower levels all career long. It’s not fair for both the horse and its opponents.
Wang Y: Big-time foreign players do help, in terms of the level of entertainment. However, it may not contribute to the development of Chinese basketball. However, without Chandler in the playoffs, Guangsha may still be a special team that could produces some unexpected performances.
Wang X: I think a player at his best would prefer to play in the NBA once the lockout ended. After all, the CBA doesn’t have the exposure and the level of competition. We do hope that more and more NBA players will appear in the CBA but the reality is that we can only attract those who are approaching the ends of their careers.