With another round of games in the books, the first month of the 2014/15 Chinese Basketball Association is almost at an end. Liaoning remain top of the standings but much of the rest of the league have changed places in just seven days. All of that means another look at the key stories of the week are in order. This time around, it’s a player who could have been an NBA star, two American cult heroes in China and the trouble with CBA teams (not) doing their paperwork.
Another round of games, another week of story lines. This time around its the struggles of a CBA legend, one of China’s oldest teams in turmoil, another mishandling a young star and China’s next great big man™ is emerging on the horizon in Xinjiang.
In his first game for UC Riverside (go Highlanders, etc) last week, Chris Tang, a Chinese point guard born in Nantong, would play five minutes, pick up a foul and an assists and that was pretty much it. For a player that was once being dubbed the mainland’s Jeremy Lin, this was not a great look. For Chinese basketball as a whole however, given a little of time, this might just work out.
Indeed, the very fact that another Chinese-born is now playing in high(ish) level college basketball in America can only be a good thing. The CBA- for all the chest puffing it has been exhibiting in recent weeks due to the ‘CBA20’ celebrations to commemorate the league’s twentieth anniversary- is still in desperate need of fresh ideas. Wang Zhelin is obviously seen as the next great Chinese NBA player but given the size of the country’s basketball playing population, the harsh reality is that the Fujian big man should not be China’s only viable candidate for the big time.
With the first week of the CBA in the books, its time to go over this first batch of games and extract the story lines and key issues that have emerged. A new scoring champion may well have announced himself in northern China, rebounding might suddenly be cool in the south-east and wherever a game is getting played in the CBA, the standard of defending is probably very, very bad.
Matt Beyer is currently the only westerner who is licensed to work as a sports agent in China. His company, Altius Culture, which Beyer founded and for whom he is its’ managing director, remains a critical access point for many America players looking to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. He was also a color commentator on Chinese television for the 2014 NBA finals. Before arriving in China, he spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks as the chief translator with Yi Jianlian.
Shanghai’s season ended like it started- with a blow-out defeat to a team with championship ambitions as Gilbert Arenas watched it all happen from the bench. A campaign that was defined by injuries eventually (some would say mercifully) came to a close after a Liaoning team led by its vibrant backcourt duo of Josh Akognon and Guo Ailun tore the home side to pieces. Continue reading “Shanghai Sharks 77 – Liaoning Jaguars 99: No Mercy For Shanghai As The Hosts End Season With A Whimper”
Shanghai captain Liu Wei has been elected to start for the South in the upcoming CBA All-Star game in Guangzhou. The point guard, now in his fifteenth season in the league, received 768,563 votes in little over a month. Continue reading “Liu Wei Voted In As All-Star Starter”