Friday, September 29, 2006

CBA schedule

The CBA has now announced their schedule. Just the dates:

October 7- First game (Guangdong vs. Bayi Rockets)
November 1- Play stops, and Asian Games preparations begin
December 22- Play in the CBA resumes
February 7- Regular season
Mid-April (I'm unsure of this last date)- CBA championships end

The first game of the new season will tipoff at 7:30 PM local time, and the two teams will be the finalists of last year- the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and the Bayi Rockets.This is going to be a highly rated, highly anticipated game for several reasons

1. Four years in a row (since Yao left the Sharks), the teams have met in the playoffs. In the 2002-03 season, Bayi defeated Guangdong in the finals. However, since then, the Tigers have beaten Bayi three straight times, including twice in the finals.

2. This is Chen Jianghua's first regular season game with the Tigers. For Guangdong fans and NBA scouts alike, this will be a game to watch. For fans, it will be excitement in seeing a very good player. For the scouts, it will be to see how well he fits in with his team. They already know how good he is, but how he fits in with his CBA team and the CBA style is a question yet to be answered.

3. The last, but most important, reason, is that, not only is it Wang ZhiZhi's first game back with Bayi, it is the first time ever that Yi Jianlian and Wang will face up against each other. Yi has been called a "Little Yao", and although his game isn't completely alike to either Yao's or Wang's, his playing style and skills are much more similar to Wang's. Yao is a true low-post center, whereas Yi and Wang are perimter-oriented. Wang plays as a shooting guard, as he plays mainly in the high post (something like a more athletic Brad Miller). Yi is similar, but he's more of a small forward, as he can post up as well.

However, Yi hasn't been compared to only Yao and Wang's playing styles. Maybe the main question being asked is, "Will Yi be a success or bust?" Yao is probably the best success story of any Chinese athlete (except for maybe Liu Xiang). Wang is probably China's biggest bust in a long time. Yao succeeded because he worked hard, and Wang failed (mostly) because of the opposite side -- laziness. Yi isn't the most harding working of guys, but he's not lazy...yet. So his future is hanging in the balance right now, and only he can decide what the outcome will be. 

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