Yi Jianlian, Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi. Not in picture: Sun Yue. Also not in picture: Benjamin Disraeli. The Chinese Basketball Association and its compelling protagonists have a particular level of focus on this website, for reasons which, if you don’t already know them, are about to become extremely obvious. Fringe NBA players like playing in China; the exposure isn’t huge and the standard isn’t great, but the CBA pays very well, and it is unashamed in copying the NBA model of basketball not much imitated around the globe. They’ve changed their style to match up to the NBA game; games are 48 minutes long (like the NBA, and unlike basically every other league in the world), and there’s about three of them a week (unlike most other domestic leagues, which have 1). This teams playing lots of games with less emphasis on practice is a lure to players; after all, as that great philosopher of our time Nate Dogg once said, “playas play on, play on, keep playing on.” Words to live by. (As an aside, did you know Nate Dogg has been hospitalised for the best part of three years after a series of strokes? Me neither.) Each CBA team is allowed to have two import players at any one time, and these players are almost always American. Better still, these players are also almost always players that you’ve heard of, with a great deal of ex-NBA pedigree on there. Perhaps it is now obvious why the league is attractive. There follows a selection of Chinese Basketball Association statistics. All statistics and standings taken from March 12th, 2011. Doing shots with Quincy Douby. 1st place: Xinjiang Flying Tigers (31-1) James Singleton – 31 games, 34.2mpg, 21.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.4 bpg, 2.3 TOpg, 73% FG, […]
The first two rounds of games in the 2010/11 Chinese Basketball Association were played this week, giving us an opportunity to confirm once and for all who is actually playing there. With no major English language version of a Chinese Basketball Association website available – other than perhaps here – accurate information as to signings is hard to find. We are reliant upon snippets, leaks, the occasional accurate translation, and often the players themselves. This is a pity because of the calibre and volume of import players to be found within that league. Every year China lands quality former and fringe NBA talent, normally fairly athletic ex-NBA big men, who put up double doubles and dominate amongst domestic players without the athleticism and strength to stop them. And it’s fun to watch their statlines as they do it. This year, it appears, will be the year of the guard. There follows a lot of all the imports in the CBA to begin this season. As will perhaps become apparent fairly quickly, each team is allowed two imports, and all meet that quota, save for the Bayi Rockets (whose players also serve in the People’s Liberation Army, which would explain a lot). – Bayi: None (they never do)– Beijing: Randolph Morris, Steve Francis– Dongguan: Jackson Vroman, Josh Akognon– Foshan (formerly Shaanxi): Olumide Oyedeji, Stephon Marbury– Fujian: Dwayne Jones, Chris Porter– Guandong: David Harrison, Fred Jones– Jiangsu: Jerome Moiso, Ricky Davis– Jilin: Jameel Watkins, David Young– Liaoning: Chris Richard, Donta Smith– Qingdao: Charles Gaines, Dee Brown– Shandong: Rodney White, Myron Allen– Shanghai: Devin Green, Mike Harris– Shanxi: Leon Rodgers, Jamal Sampson– Tianjin: Herve Lamizana, Lee Benson– Xinjiang: Quincy Douby, James Singleton– Zhejiang Cyclones: Mike James, Josh Boone– Zhejiang Lions: Javaris Crittenton, Peter John Ramos Of those 32 players, 24 have played in […]
Everyone remembers their first Mengke Bateer experience. Mine came in the 2000 Olympics. In a game against the USA in which Yao Ming beasted from three point range (true story), and in which Wang Zhizhi picked up four first half fouls, Mengke came in and hit some mid range jump shots, in that way that he does. It was kind of fun, if ultimately kind of forgettable. Bateer went on to enjoy a few years in the NBA. He started out as a training camp signee of the Denver Nuggets in 2002, yet was waived before the season started. He thus went back to China and averaged 24.3 points and 14.2 rebounds per game for Beijing, before returning to the Nuggets in February 2002 to see out the season with them. Bateer played in 27 games for that God awful Nuggets team and even squeezed out 10 starts, averaging 5.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 fouls in 15 minutes per game. You’ll no doubt have noticed that that’s a lot of fouls. That offseason, Bateer – who had been signed through 2003 – was a throw-in by Denver in the trade with Detroit that saw him, Don Reid and a first-round pick swapped for Rodney White. That pick was later traded to Atlanta (who used it on Josh Smith) as the centrepiece of the Rasheed Wallace deal; in a way, therefore, Mengke Bateer was an integral part of building the 2003-04 NBA champion Detroit Pistons. An underrated bad Kiki Vanderweghe trade, that one. (It was perhaps overshadowed by the fact that it came in the same offseason as the drafting of Nikoloz Tskitishvili, a move you may have heard about.) Nevertheless, despite how much Bateer had brought to the franchise, Detroit moved him on without him playing a game for […]
The Chinese Basketball Association and its compelling protagonists have a particular level of focus on this website, for the simple reason that they’re awesome. Any league that saw Olumide Oyedeji average nearly 20/20 can peak the interest of any of us. Fringe NBA players like playing in China; the exposure isn’t huge and the standard isn’t great, but the CBA pays very well, and it is unashamed in copying the NBA model of basketball not much imitated around the globe. They’ve changed their style to match up to the NBA game; games are 48 minutes long (like the NBA, and unlike basically every other league in the world), and there’s about three of them a week (unlike most other domestic leagues, which have one). This playing of lots of games with less emphasis on practice is a lure to players; after all, as that great philosopher of our time Nate Dogg once said, “playas play on, play on, keep playing on.” Words to live by. Furthermore, aside from the imports, the standard of play is kind of weak, which leads to amusingly lopsided statistics that they could put on their CV. For example, Tim Pickett will now always be able to boast that he was a 39.4 ppg scorer at one point in his career, something which paid dividends when he received a workout with the Memphis Grizzlies back in May. It’s nice to know they’re checking out China. So do I. Each CBA team is allowed to play two import players at any one time. “Import players” are defined as anyone that isn’t Chinese, or otherwise Asian. In practice, however, these players are almost always American. Better still, these players are also almost always players that you’ve heard of. And that makes it even more fun. There follows a […]
As always, Chinese Basketball Association transactions are extremely hard to verify. There is no English language version of the CBA’s website, and crude Google translations aren’t really that helpful. Tryouts are often reported as signings, signings often aren’t reported at all, and lots of things go unreported. From these tatty shreds, we have to piece together the workings of an entire league. And it’s not easy. However, one thing that’s perfectly clear is that former Bulls and Knicks big big big man Michael Sweetney has joined the legion of ex-NBA big men making their way over to the Chinese Basketball Association. The story was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski over six weeks ago, and became official yesterday. Sweetney turned down the offer of a workout with the Memphis Grizzlies to go to China, fully aware of the fact that he’s not able to play in the NBA right now. The reason why he’s not able to play in the NBA right now is obvious; put simply, he’s larger than ever. Can’t play in the NBA if you can’t get off the spot. Sweetney is not a guarantee to have made the Shanxi roster; Chinese teams can only carry two non-Chinese players, and Shanxi currently rock all four of Sweetney, Maurice Taylor, Lee Benson and Donta Smith. (At least, as far as I can tell. There’s also a team called Shaanxi, which makes this all very confusing.) Nevertheless, this is the right move for him. China pays well, and the CBA tends to play more games than comparable leagues (although apparently they’re down to only 32 regular season games per team this season). The games are 48 minutes in length and not 40, and the import players will play huge minutes (as opposed to in Europe, where teams will employ 11-man […]
Last year, we focused at length on the joy that is the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s a quirky beast; the standard of China’s own domestic players is poor in the grand scheme of things, with the exception of the occasional halfway-decent (or truly fantastic) big man. Knowing this, the CBA have decided to try and replicate a more American style of play in order to improve their national team product. They’ve changed some rules and structure to match the NBA’s – for example, playing 48 minutes a game, and playing far more games than most leagues – and they’ve tried to increase the physical nature of the play. And a large part of doing that is attracting top tier American imports. They’re able to do this for the simple reason that they can compete financially. With salaries ranging from about $25-40 thousand a month – and sometimes more – CBA teams are able to sign fringe, former and future NBA talent where other leagues are unable to do so. If you were a fringe NBA player, would you rather earn $32,200 for an entire D-League season, or earn that for one month in China? It’s clearly the latter, and that’s how China is able to land such relatively premium talent consistently. The exposure isn’t bad, either, as Leon Rodgers demonstrated by getting a training camp contract with the Grizzlies based on his work in China last year. American players playing in the CBA are essentially guaranteed mahoosive statistics – as Rodgers demonstrated with his 35 ppg scoring average last season – and mahoosive statistics tend to talk, no matter what the competition. So it befits them to go there. Having all these imports is not met with universal applause from the Chinese fans, many of who object to the often-selfish […]
Former Bull Jay Williams plays again, for the first time in two and a half years. Former NBA point guard Jay Williams is aiming to relaunch his career through the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Williams, the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA draft – behind Yao Ming, almost lost his life in a motorcycle accident a year later and his promising career appeared to be over. (more at the link) Since his accident in June 2003, Jay’s basketball journey has taken many forms. Williams spent three and a half months in hospital, recovering from the multiple torn ligaments, broken pelvis and nerve damage that almost saw him lose his leg (but not his life, contrary to the article’s verbiage). His rehab had only begun in earnest; it would be three more years before he returned to the court. During the early stages of his rehab, Williams kept a blog on NBA.com, which still survives to this day (as long as you can tolerate five and a half years of dust). The optimistic tone of the blog made it sound like a comeback would be possible, if a long way off. And this proved to be kind of true, as Williams did eventually sign another NBA contract. But he never played another regular season NBA game. In October 2006, more than three years after the accident, Williams signed a training camp contract with the New Jersey Nets. The contract was not guaranteed, and both Williams and the Nets signed it knowing that his chances of making the team were about as small as a tadpole’s corset. Nevertheless, however unlikely of a gesture it may have been, the signing was symbolic; Jay had made it back from the brink. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily. And that ruined the […]
If things had worked out slightly different, Bonzi Wells would be earning about $8 million this year from the Sacramento Kings. As it is, he’ll be earning about $40,000 in China. Bonzi, pictured here playing an invisible trumpet, famously was reported to have turned down a five-year, $38.5 million extension from the Kings on the advice of his agent, Williams Phillips. Phillips seemingly thought that Bonzi could get more money from elsewhere. He was wrong, though. He was very wrong, in fact, as Bonzi ended up getting only a 2 year, $5 millionish contract from the Houston Rockets, which expired this summer. Unable to get a contract from an NBA team this summer – which makes little sense, given that Bonzi’s a talented player, and only a year and a bit removed from being a key bench player on a 50-win team), Wells has now resorted to signing in China, for the Scrabbletastic Shanxi Zhongyu. Wells is expected to replace former Hawks swingman Donta Smith, as Chinese Basketball Association rules allow only two non-Asians per team. This seems a bit unfair on Smith, who is averaging 19.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.5 steals on the season, but the other non-Asian spot on the Shanxi roster is taken up by Olumide Oyedeji. And Olumide Oyedeji is one of the best players in China, bizarrely, averaging 23.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.7 blocks. No, I can’t quite believe it either.