The guys over at Netsdaily.com have done a great job following Yi’s games over in China as he replaces Yao on the Chinese National Team. Two games in, Yi has really been impressing. Both games, warm-ups for the FIBA Asia Tournament, were against a group of all-stars from the Australia’s National Basketball League. In game 1 Yi dropped 30 on the All-Stars but only had 3 rebounds. In game 2, the scoring went down a bit, but the rebounds went up a ton. Yi dropped 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Team China’s 1 point win. He is not only grabbing boards (which is something he wasn’t doing at all last year), but Yi apparently is being very aggresive attacking the basket.
Now with the rumors of a Big Baby for Yi deal simmering down, it is looking like we will be keeping him. If that is the case, it is good to see him playing well. Especially with him coming off an injury that really hurt his development last year. I know he isn’t playing against the greatest competition right now (In my opinion it would have been a bigger story if he didn’t play well), but he is under a lot of pressure to perform with Yao not playing next year at all. Maybe realizing that he is going to be the most recognizable Chinese-born player playing in the NBA was the kick in the butt that he needed to get everything to click?