Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yi > Kevin Durant?

Had to put something up to knock that silly Marquette preview down a peg - all of us know that as long as Dom James is running the show this is a one-and-done NCAA tourney team.

On to some real news. ESPN is offering a free preview of their ESPN Insider content so I checked out John Hollinger's takes on the early NBA season. Something caught my eye regarding our favorite 7-foot Chinese basketballer:

Yi Jianlian, Bucks

Since Kevin Durant received the Rookie of the Year award by acclamation before the season began, it's worth noting that if I had to give out a trophy at this very early juncture, I would not be voting for KD. Instead, I'd go with Yi, who has adjusted far more quickly to the NBA game than anyone thought possible.

It probably helps that he's 23 (oh, excuse me, "20"; not one person in the league I've talked to believes that birth date, and neither should you) as opposed to Durant's 19, but Yi has been impressive in the early going. He's still learning NBA defense, but his length and mobility make up for a lot of his mistakes -- he blocks two shots per game. And while his 11.8 points and 5.9 boards per game aren't going to set anyone's hair on fire, he's shown range out to the 3-point line and the ability to put it on the floor and go past bigger players. Suddenly that 25-minutes-a-game promise doesn't seem so outlandish.

I haven't watched a second of Durant play this year, but I'm sold on Yi. He's already light years more valuable to the Bucks than Charlie V is, and you forget that the guy is 7 feet tall when you watch him running around on the court. He can take it to the rack, and once NBA refs start calling fouls on the guys who mug him on his way to the rim he'll be even better.

Today, Bill Simmons even almost issued a veiled retraction to his constant ripping on Yi. I'm sure Simmons spent lots of time scouting the Chinese Basketball Association prior to the NBA Draft which led to his very informed opinions on Yi's ability to play in the NBA prior to the start of the year.


Brad said...

I'll be the first to admit I was wrong on Yi. I didn't want the Bucks to take this guy. But man, I have to admit, this guy can play. The Bucks as a whole....stink out loud.

Garcia said...

None of this matters since Larry "The Snake" Harris does not know how to put together a team.