Yi Jianlian And Guangdong Are Proving Everyone Wrong

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After a summer of obituaries to a fine basketball team, somehow the Guangdong Tigers will not die. After being blown out by almost thirty points against the Shanxi Dragons in Game 1 of the regular season, it felt safe to finally say the most dominant CBA team of the last decade was done. But instead, Guangdong are 17-3 and sitting in second place in the table. They are on course to make the postseason and force their way into the title discussion once again. On paper, it makes no sense. Continue reading “Yi Jianlian And Guangdong Are Proving Everyone Wrong”

Yi Jianlian, Du Feng And The Fight For The Soul Of The Guangdong Tigers

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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”

The Forgotten Man Of Chinese Hoops: Why Wang Zhelin’s Wasted Potential Can Still Be Redeemed

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Along with the emergence of Zhou Qi, a familiar habit has occurred within Chinese basketball; namely the complete shifting of media focus from one NBA hopeful to another. Four years ago, Fujian’s Wang Zhelin was the dashing young star destined to go to America but after a disappointing season in 2016 and still no play-off appearance on his four year old resume, the beefy power forward feels like yesterday’s news.  That said, NBA teams should not discount the draft eligible big man and Marco Catanzaro is here to explain why. Continue reading “The Forgotten Man Of Chinese Hoops: Why Wang Zhelin’s Wasted Potential Can Still Be Redeemed”

The Old Master Fights Back; Yi Jianlian Bests Zhou Qi In Clash Of Past Vs. Future

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A meeting of the old guard and the new generation is a once-in-a-decade experience in any sport, but for Chinese basketball, such encounters have an extra special meaning. Obsessed with seeing their countrymen in the NBA, each rising hopeful is the next chance to make that happen. But at the same time, there are also those who made it to America but never quite managed to stick around. Invariably they return to the CBA as gatekeepers, waiting for the next young mainlander to travel down the road to the NBA. Continue reading “The Old Master Fights Back; Yi Jianlian Bests Zhou Qi In Clash Of Past Vs. Future”

Local Players To Watch This Season (Part 1)

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With talk about both Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin running for the NBA draft in the near future, young Chinese players haven’t been talked about this much since Yi Jianlian was a young prospect almost a decade ago. Now, in the first of two parts, Marco Catanzaro breaks down some of the other young players that need to be studied closely. Continue reading “Local Players To Watch This Season (Part 1)”

Breaking Down The CBA Season 2015/16: Predictions

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With the first games of the season set to start this coming weekend, the CBA preseason is nearly over. However, it doesn’t mean there still isn’t enough time for one final preview article in which a number of Chinese basketball watchers come together and make their predictions for what should be a wild five months of basketball.
Continue reading “Breaking Down The CBA Season 2015/16: Predictions”

Breaking Down The 2015/16 CBA Season: Part Two

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In the second of a four-part CBA preview, we break down two teams that are making bold free agency decisions (the Jilin Tigers and Jiangsu Dragons), one all-time great team that needs to improve in the postseason (Guangdong Tigers), another play-off team that will probably keep punching above its weight (Guangsha Lions) and a Foshan Long Lions roster that simply needs to prove something to itself. Part one can be read here. Continue reading “Breaking Down The 2015/16 CBA Season: Part Two”