In a change to last season’s preview (in part because nether myself, Marco nor Patrick can decide who is going to finish where in the 2015/16 standings), this season at Shark Fin Hoops, we’re going to breakdown all twenty teams in the league, profiling who we think is going to do what. This season is arguable the most unpredictable in years, with several legitimate title contenders and a number of sides that could surprise anyone on their day. So, in the first of four parts, here is the breakdown of the Bayi Rockets, Beijing Ducks, Chongqing Dragons, Dongguan/Shenzhen Leopards and Fujian Sturgeons.
Its play-off time in the Chinese Basketball Association, which, to the league’s credit, has become more and more exciting with every season. This year, it’s an interesting mix between old hands like Guangdong, Beijing and Xinjiang and new faces like Qingdao and Jilin. The structure is fairly simple; 1st vs. 8th, 2nd vs 7th and so on, until the two remaining teams from both sides of the eight seed bracket face off in a best of seven Finals. Games start on Febuary 6th but it makes sense to first break down who is in the postseason and how they might fare.
#1 Seed: Guangdong Tigers (34-4)
For the fourth season in a row, the Tigers have finished the regular season atop of the standings. But this time around, they finished with their best ever record in the modern CBA era and won twenty-six games in a row. After initially deciding that they wanted to get younger with Emmanuel Mudiay, now it looks like Guangdong have decided to rely on veterans. Mudiay has been watching things from the sidelines since December and in his place Will Bynum (21.4ppg, 7.4apg) handles the ball whilst Yi Jianlian (27.4ppg), Zhu Fangyu (18.9ppg including 47% from downtown) and Wang Shipeng (45% from downtown) space the floor and wait for the defense to panic. Yet the big question is still the same; can the Tigers win the title again after a period of relative inconsistency (one title in three seasons having previous won seven out of eight CBA Finals between 2004-2011)? On paper, you would say ‘of course, idiot’ but this is an older team that found themselves bested in last year’s semi-finals by a Beijing side with both street smarts AND youth on their side. A year on from that painful loss, the Tigers would once again face Beijing for the third CBA postseason in four years should both teams make it to the semi-finals and the Ducks are leading the ongoing series 2-0. If and when that scenario happens, it may well be this Guangdong roster’s Waterloo moment. Continue reading “Shark Fin Hoops Indepth CBA Play-Off Preview: Quarter Finals”
Despite a number of players turning in solid performances, the Shanghai Sharks once again finished as the losing side, albeit after a memorising game that quickly became a procession of big shots from all ends of the basketball court. Continue reading “Dongguan Leopards 103 – Shanghai Sharks 98: Haislip’s Magic Proves The Difference In Offensive Slugfest”
Having finished a three game run at home, the Sharks hit the road again, this time to Guangdong Province. The first of the two games will be against the Dongguan Leopards, who despite living in the shadow of their neighbours, the Guangdong Tigers, are still a very good team. Continue reading “Scouting Report: Dongguan Leopards (4-4)”