With the CBA pre-season hours away from becoming the regular season, there is still time for perpetually authoritative website, NiuBBall, to not only post its detailed team-by-team power rankings but also look down the fixture list this season and pick out the must-see match-ups over the course of this year’s CBA. Well, when I say ‘must see’, what I also kind of mean is ‘games that you must see in person because Chinese TV has decided to show an episode of Knight Rider or one of the myriad of costume dramas based in Chinese antiquity instead’.
Ooooooh weee. I’m too lazy to write it out in full but Shanghai start off their CBA Season with three games on the road, starting with Qingdao on November 20th. The first game for the Sharks at the Yuanshan is on November 30th against Guangsha
Suitably spicy home games to look forward to will be the hardly festive, big-city showdown on December 25th when Beijing Ducks to roll into town. Student-smashing boo-hiss villains Bayi Rockets come to Shanghai on February 5th, whilst JR Smith and his Zhejiang chums will be arriving a couple of days later on Feb, 8th.
Both JR Smith and Wilson Chandler have stated that nethier will be backing out of their CBA contracts should the NBA lock-out resolve itself before the Chinese league finishes in 2012. Chandler, who is effectively the new king of East China following an impressive pre-season tournament where he continually scored big, is easily the most hyped basketball player in the country right now.
Smith, who picked up a double in his last game (thirty points with ten rebounds) and won the previous one with a buzzer beating three, is also enjoying a happy honeymoon with his new fan base, and has begin posting from his Weibo account (in China, facebook and twitter are blocked and in their place are Chinese alturnatives that mimic the aforementioned social network sites)
Fosham’s Gerald Greene continues to garner a lot of love, based largely on his dunking exploits, and it appears that Chinese basketball will automatically go through withdrawl symptoms if Green’s victory at the Slam Dunk contest in 2007 isn’t mentioned once a sentence should his name be uttered.
Kenyon Martin on the other hand is doing less well, despite making good numbers over his pre-season games and has been variously described by bloggers as ‘blue collar’ and ‘needing time to adjust’ so sayeth google translator.
Meanwhile, Dongguan coach, Al Gore (not him) has suggusted that Fosham deliberately tanked to allow them to be able to sign more overseas players due to their low ranking. Gore goes onto argue that whilst the recruiting of big name players is important, there is obviously the danger that Chinese youngsters lose their spots to North American journeymen.
Beijing Ducks point guard and full-time eccentric Stephon Marbury has been taking time off from playing due to fatique but also to observe the tactics of his coach from the sidelines with a view to one day donning a suit and incohieriantly pointing at a clipboard himself.
With the league to start soon, the pick of the emerging youngsters seems to be Jiangsu Dragon’s teenage shooting-guard, Ding Yan Yu-hang, whose been getting far more looks now that attention is firmly set on recently arrived, former Milwaukee Bucks centre, Dan Gadzuric.
The ongoing NBA lockout has understandably been a massive coup to other basketball leagues around the world, who have invited a number of its currently unpaid players for a spot of moonlighting in a variety of interesting locations. Deron Williams is in Turkey, Tony Parker and Rudy Fernandez are turning up for teams in their native France and Spain, and players from the basketball’s most lucrative league can be found plying their trade in Israel, Russia, Brazil, Poland, South Korea, Slovenia, Serbia, Lithuania and Montenegro to name but a few.
China has also got in on the act but with a crucial difference. Though the NBA lock-out allows for players to play for other teams, the majority of the players playing overseas have opt-out clauses in these invariably year-long contracts that will allow them to return to the NBA if and when the labour dispute ends. China on the other hand is taking a firm line with teams in the CBA reaching out to NBA players, insisting that only free agents can be signed, all of whom will be expected to fulfill the duration of their CBA contracts. Continue reading “The NBA Lockout and What It Means To Chinese Basketball”