Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Shanghai vs. Fujian

Since I could not watch the opener, I instead sat down to watch Shanghai play Fujian on Sunday night (that's like missing matchup between the Spurs and the Mavs, and having to settle for a Hawks-Knicks game). Both are mediocre, low-level teams, the kind that aren't bad enough so that they start a complete makeover, but not good enough to get into the playoffs and compete. Shanghai hasn't been in the playoffs since Yao left, and Fujian were only promoted from the CBL to the CBA two years ago, and they haven't been to the playoffs in either year. Neither team was exactly brimming with talent, either, as Liu Wei was the only national team player in the game, and neither team had any NBA prospects (not even potential prospects).

However, it was interesting to watch Yao's old club, and the difference in them from five years ago. As I said, no playoff appearances in the last five years, and not even one season at or above .500. They justed folded after Yao left, showing that they had no infrastructure around Yao. They were a complete failure as a franchise, which is somewhat of a shame, since Liu Wei is a great point guard, and they're wasting away his career (Kevin Garnett anyone?).

Anyway, the game wasn't exciting most of the way, as the Sharks led in double-digits most of the way. A late Fujian run cut it to 5, but they got no further. Liu Wei performed brilliantly with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. I was also mildly impressed with Shanghai 6'8" small forward Wang Yong. This 20-year old only shot 4-of-12, but he made three threes, and while he's not good enough (yet) to be a candidate for the national team, his size and ability to move and shoot was intriguing. Fujian's top scorers were both foreign players, but Yang Chao (6-3, shooting guard, 20 years old) caught my eye. While both Yang and Wang are not big prospects, they're merely guys who I'm adding to my radar, as they probably won't rise to the top, but still have a chance to.

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