Another local rival is coming to town on Tuesday. This time its the Jiangsu Dragons, who are in the process of recovering from their worst season in history in 2011/12 when they finished bottom of the table with a 9-23 record.
Mike Harris, who is currently Jiangsu’s most important player, will find himself getting quite a reception in Shanghai after spending the previous two years with the Sharks. During those two seasons, the American led the Sharks in almost every meaningful statistic and this season with Jiangsu, Harris is already making an impact and currently leads the league in scoring (30.3ppg) and rebounds (15.2rpg). In this form, DJ White will have quite the battle on his hands.
There are also a number of Jiangsu players that could cause problems for the Sharks if not shown the proper respect. Beefy center Garret Siler, who was in the Shanghai team that made the playoffs under Bob Donewald’s tenure three seasons ago, will be a hefty proposition for whoever is having to guard him as will be the tricky Chinese forward Li Yi.
Meng Da is also one to watch, mostly because he is probably the most eccentric professional basketball player in China and has some flaunted some legendarily terrible (and seemingly intentional) hair styles. Hue Xuefeng is on his last legs but is still a record breaking point guard in the CBA and has traditionally had a healthy rivalry with Liu Wei.
Looking at the stats from this season so far and also the personal on the roster, it would be presumed that the Dragons are not a team prone to constantly shooting from outside the arc so this game will probably be another physical battle in the mould of the Guangsha game.
Harris will be the key to this team and if he can be contained, then the Sharks have a very good chance of winning. Moreover, Ryan Forehan-Kelly will have a further 48 hours to recover from his jetlag and should be more impactful in this fixture than against Guangsha. All things considered, I still fancy the Sharks, regardless of Jiangsu being higher in the table.