Looking handsome at 7-1 (5-0 at home), the Shanghai Sharks are off the the best start to a CBA campaign since a 22 year old center named Yao Ming was anchoring the front court back in 2002. That was almost fifteen years ago and Yao is now five years into retirement and watching games from the directors box. Yet have finally found another offensive fulcrum in the shape of former BYU star, Jimmer Freddette, suddenly the most fair weather of sports towns is talking about basketball again and a play-off run seems all but certain. Remarkably, some are even wondering if Shanghai can win their first CBA title since Yao was entering his prime almost two decades earlier.
Continue reading “Don’t Believe The Hype; Jimmer Fredette And The Shanghai Sharks Are Fools Gold”
If you haven’t already guessed, Chinese basketball is a highly complicated, incredibly political landscape. Yet somehow, the events of the past few days in Guangdong have been especially unprecedented and will be a storyline to follow for the whole of the current CBA season.
Now, we should probably pause to recap some stuff. Regular readers of Shark Fin Hoops will know that the Guangdong Tigers are a fading but extremely important dynasty. The Tigers’ rivalry with the Bayi Rockets defined the early years of the Chinese Basketball Association and Guangdong went on to win eight titles in thirteen years. The cornerstones of this success were the local players and although Yao Ming was the face of the national team, players like Du Feng, Yi Jianlian, Zhu Fangyu and Wang Shipeng all played on multiple Olympic teams during that time. A hugely successful core, Yi went to the NBA in 2007, Zhu almost went in 2004 and Du and Wang may well have got their shot had they played for another team in China that did not require such strict adherence to team-first basketball. Continue reading “Yi Jianlian, Du Feng And The Fight For The Soul Of The Guangdong Tigers”
High level Chinese prospects, like comets, don’t come around all-too-often but when they do, it makes sense to put time aside and be there for the moment. Indeed, given the widespread dominance of imports and increasing irrelevance of Chinese players in their own league, there’s currently not a lot of homegrown guys to get pumped over. This seems set to change with the looming debut of Fan Ziming.
The teenage seven-footer, who reportedly weighs in at a solid 250lbs, has been on the radar in China for several years but was only cleared to play in the CBA once he turned eighteen back in April. In the meantime, he has been gathering solid numbers at the youth level and like Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin (who both turned pro after similar gap years dominating their school-age counterparts in 2012 and 2014 respectively), is now a source of huge interest.
Continue reading “Fan Ziming, China’s Newest Phenom, Will Debut In Forthcoming CBA Season”
In the third and final part of his look at Chinese basketball, their tactics and and the national team’s traditional stubbornness to change its ways, Marco Catanzro looks at how the best teams in China can embrace modern NBA playbooks and help improve the NT product through leading by example. Continue reading “Summer Of The Dragon Part 3: How Smallball Can Take Over The CBA”
After a sudden late season move, the Xinjiang Tigers cut combo guard Andrew Goudelock and replaced him with former Utah and Phoenix point guard Bryce Cotton. Cotton averaged 21.2 ppg during his run with the Tigers before they eventually lost in the CBA Semi-Finals to eventual champions, Sichuan Blue Whale. He now talks to Shark Fin Hoops about his time with the Tigers and his thoughts on Chinese basketball. Continue reading “Shark Fin Hoops Interview: Bryce Cotton”
In the second part of his wide ranging look at high profile Chinese basketball, Marco Catanzaro takes a look at how the Chinese National Team will fair in the 2016 Olympics. With some in the Middle Kingdom getting a little anxious that it could go winless for the second Games in a row, where the wins can come from remains a point of contention. Now its time to find out if and how they might rise. Continue reading “The Summer Of The Dragon Part 2: Team China At The Olympics”
In the first of three pieces, Marco Catanzaro is breaking down the nuts and bolts of Chinese basketball and trying to make sense of why tactics are not succeeding and suggesting what needs to change. In light of the Chinese National Team recently getting SMOKED by the USA over two games, his first task is to run the rule over why Team China got so comprehensively beaten. Continue reading “Summer Of The Dragon Part 1: Why Is The National Team So Bad Right Now”