To say Mike Harris is experienced when it comes to Chinese basketball would be a huge understatement. The American forward has been in and around the CBA since 2006, when he burst onto the scene with the Shenzhen Leopards, who were then based in Dongguan. A little while later, he was in the NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets and alongside Yao Ming himself. A couple of years after that, Harris was playing for a newly retired Yao, when the later took over his hometown Shanghai Sharks team and brought in Harris as one of the key rebuilding blocks. Continue reading “Mike Harris Gears Up For Well-Deserved Title Shot”
A quick burst of obvious news from this week; a bear defecated in the woods, the Pope attended Mass and Greg Oden is out with injury. Only one of those stories affects a basketball team in China but the ongoing situation surrounding the former number one draft pick remains potent and could turn ugly at any second. Continue reading “Greg Oden Injury Woes Continue To Blight Jiangsu”
If last season demonstrated anything, it is that the most impactful free agents in China turn up playing for the most random of teams. Back in September, Errick McCollum, a point guard who spent most his career in Israel, signed with Zhejiang and then proceeded to score 82 points in a game against Guangdong and also averaged 39.5ppg for the season (both CBA records). Another new arrival, Eli Holman single-handily dragged the Guangsha Lions’ to the play-offs and was an outside shot for league MVP. Indeed, the arrival of both men, plus others like Qingdao’s Justin Deadmon (who arrived from Lithuania) or Chongqing’s Willie Warren (Hungary) underline the American talent that can be found in lesser known overseas leagues. Continue reading “Is Trevor Mbakwe Set To Head New American Intake From Europe?”
Far away from the world’s eyes, the Xinjiang Tigers have existed in Chinese sport as a monolith for how one should absolutely not run a professional team. Fickle, slick and shameless; if there is talent for sale, the Tigers are picking up the phone and asking how much. Now Andray Blatche has even chosen Xinjiang over the NBA. Those numbers again, folks; three years, $7.5 million and the chance to be the most prominent athlete for a thousand mile in any direction.
Three years ago, Errick McCollum was playing in the second tier of Israeli basketball. Last night, he scored 82 points against the Guangdong Tigers to break the record for most points in a CBA game (75, set in 2012 by Quincy Douby). That was his fourth game of 50 points or more in thirty-seven games. With one game left in the season, McCollum is averaging 39.6ppg and barring some kind of mathematical improbability, the point guard will also shatter the record for most points in a CBA season of 35.2ppg set by the former Xavier center Anthony Myles in 2006.
Like its American cousin, the women’s branch of the Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) doesn’t really get much mainstream media coverage. Games are sparely attended or rarely reported upon and the whole thing feels like it’s just a testing ground for players trying to get into the national team. This means when a WCBA story makes the front pages, it’s either because Maya Moore (who plays in China for the Shanxi Flames) has gone off for 50+ points or because something very bad happened.
Typically though, it’s for negative reasons and lo and behold, some pretty remarkable images from the WCBA ran on Sunday’s front pages. During a game between the Zhejiang Bulls, who were on the road against the Sichuan Whales (both WCBA teams share the same nickname as their CBA counterpart), the home side’s players reacted angrily to a hard foul from the Bulls. In an already bad tempered contest, the cheap shot was enough to clear the benches and blows were exchanged.
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.
Well that was quick.
So with seven games of the season played, the Shanghai Sharks announced that they have cut Delonte West due to various injury issues. The former Fujian player, who had averaged 26.2 points, 5.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 2013, had struggled since moving to the Yuanshen. In five appearances, he was going for a disappointing 10 points and 1.2 assists a game before the axe fell yesterday. The Sharks, who are at 1-6 for the season and very much a team in rebuild mode, probably won’t care too much given that it will mean more minutes for twenty-four year old Ge Yang to develop.
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.
With the CBA set to start on Sunday, November 1st, CBA teams are gearing up for another season of wall-to-wall basketball. Having dealt with the bottom half of the league last week, now its time to look at the teams who will be expected to compete for play-off sports and ultimately vie for the title itself.