Se son rose…: How imports impact the rebounding battle in the CBA, underrated imports and Shotsuey!’s very first attempt at designing All-Star teams that would make sense.

3 little treats for you readers in this edition of “Se son rose…”.

We’ll have two actual rankings to compare to see how import really influence their teams’ success on the boards, then we’ll give credit to a couple underestimated imports in the league since we’ve already done so with locals, and last but (hopefully) not least Shotsuey! will feature a non-prediction on All-Star starting lineups. It might sound like a prediction because we’ll pay respect to the actual rules (only 2 import players get to be in the starting 10) and pick from the actual players the league has chosen; on the other hand, our prediction is meant to make sense.

Without further ado, let’s get rollin’!

1 – Imports, boards and local contributions.

Let’s play a little game to understand how the CBA works a bit better: one key contribution every good import needs to give to his team is work on the boards, since most Chinese players just don’t get the job done.
But how much do imports really change their team’s face in that regard?

Here’s every CBA team ranked by total boards after 13 games (n.b. Fujian and Foshan have 14, they played today).

1 – Liaoning: 46,38
2 – Guangsha: 43,54
3 – Shanghai: 43,31
4 – Shanxi: 40,00
5 – Zhejiang: 40,00
6 – Dongguan: 40,92
7 – Qingdao: 40,92
8 – Jilin: 40,77
9 – Xinjiang: 40,54
10 – Guangdong: 40,46
11 – Shandong: 40,00
12 – Fujian: 39,57
13 – Sichuan: 39,00
14 – Beijing: 37,69
15 – Tianjin: 37,69
16 – Chongqing: 36,54
17 – Foshan: 36,14
18 – Jiangsu: 35,77 
19 – Bayi: 35,62
20 – Tongxi: 35,15

Cool. Now let’s take away from that every import contribution on the boards and reshape the ranks – of course, Bayi will not be considered.

(n.b. some teams have changed imports mid-season, of course, and I picked their current imports, who of course generally have posted slightly lower numbers than their counterparts, having played fewer games)

1 – Liaoning: 29,15 (0)
2 – Guangdong: 27,52 (+8)
3 – Shandong: 26,97 (+8)
4 – Fujian: 25,92 (+8)
5 – Beijing: 25,53 (+9)
5 – Dongguan: 25,53 (0)
7 – Sichuan: 24,68 (+6)
8 – Guangsha: 22,85 (-6)
9 – Xinjiang: 22,51 (0)
10 – Zhejiang: 20,44 (-5)
11 – Shanghai: 19,64 (-8)
12 – Jilin: 19,41 (-4)
13 – Tianjin: 19,29 (+2)
14 – Jiangsu: 18,39 (+4)
15 – Foshan: 16,62 (+2)
16 – Shanxi: 14,14 (-12)
17 – Qingdao: 12,65 (-10)
18 – Tongxi; 10,45 (+1)
19 – Chongqing: 6,14 (-3).

In italic, of course, 3-import teams. What can we conclude, then?
First off, clearly 3-import teams will fall down in a local-only rebound ranking, and Shanxi and Qingdao are a good example. It’s fairly surprising, conversely, to see Jilin stay relatively average, but they’re the only team who has two true guards in their import pack. Nonetheless, Bowles has been a bit subpar with 8,15 boards a night. Chongqing, furthermore, is unbelievably low in this ranking despite Kazemi, their best rebounder, being available for only 6 games out of 13. But it all gets much more interesting right up at the top: Liaoning’s local cast, even with less playing time (Hudson and Thompson have a total of 68,6 minutes on the floor per game, Mudiay and Daniels play 58,5 minutes per contest), gathers more rebounds than Guangdong’s. Third place is awarded to Shandong, where Raduljica only has 8,11 rpg and Jeter 4,92, then Fujian climbs to the top-4 thanks to Wang Zhelin. Beijing, having a single-digit rebounding big man import in Randolph Morris, gets to the 5th spot. Guangsha and Zhejiang fall down, given the impact of both their imports (Franklin and McCollum are among the best rebounding guards in the league) on the glass. Having locals who get involved in rebounds doesn’t necessarily translate to having more talent, mind you, but it translates to having Chinese guys who are more likely to contribute and get involved one way or another. Let’s say, more active local guys. On the flip side one may argue that this ranking also defines which teams have had locals taking it upon themselves to get some boards because their import can’t (or, sometimes, won’t) carry the load themselves.

2 – Résumés aren’t everything.

When a non-aficionado asks about the CBA it comes down, ultimately, to the same names time and time again: Marbury, Beasley, maybe Blatche, sometimes Mudiay. But there are plenty of NBA names involved in China, and some of them are playing marvelous basketball; why not highlight their efforts here?

Shelden Williams: 20,3 ppg, 13,8 rpg, 1,8 bpg, 59 FG%

The former American Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (2005, did you know that?), NBA finalist (Celtics, 2010) and Blue Devil has been around with many teams, ultimately in France and China. Tianjin has him for season no 2 and while Douby has taken the spotlight Williams has been an efficient 20-10 guy and an especially good rebounder and shot blocker.

Ike Diogu: 20,8 ppg, 10,8 ppg, 60,8 FG%, 52 3pt%

The former lottery pick has ended his NBA stint in San Antonio, but hasn’t taken China for granted and already has a CBA title with the Southern Tigers, a feat most fellow imports will never achieve. Efficiency, scoring and even rebounding (not necessarily his strong suit) have been up to par for the true winner he needs to be for a young Dongguan side.

Willie Warren: 30 ppg, 6,9 rpg, 7,4 apg, 63,5 FG%

His NBA dream lasted 19 games with the Clippers, then it’s been a tour: D-League, Israel, Hungary, Italy and China. In Chongqing, although for a weak team, he’s posted eye-opening numbers that will get him a contract with a more exciting squad next year. Maybe even this year.

Michael Madanly: 20,9 ppg, 6,4 rpg, 43 3pt%, 2 spg

Most won’t recognize his name, but he’s a Syrian legend, a natural scorer and his fourth CBA season sees him follow through on this premises despite being in Jilin with an already accomplished scorer like Dominique Jones.

Hamed Haddadi: 22,4 ppg, 14,9 rpg, 2,1 bpg, 4 apg

Big Hamed, a former fan-favorite in Memphis, is as good as advertised: after one season in Sichuan his shooting has gone through the roof from 42,7% to 61,7%. He’s cut down on three pointers (really?!) and picked up his assist numbers as well: he has the tools to be a great facilitator at this level.

Chris Singleton: 22,1 ppg, 13 rpg, 3 spg, 1,9 bpg

When you’ve just seen the end of an NBA playoff run with Washington (second round for him, as well) you’re supposed to be pretty good. And good he’s been, especially on the defensive end. Having Toney Douglas, a good defender himself, by his side has helped his team a bit, but somehow something isn’t quite on point. Not CS’ fault, though.

3 – All-Star teams that make sense (and thus will never become true).

Only 2 foreigners out of 10 players can be chosen in the starting lineups, and frankly there’s little debate over who these two foreigners will be (Blatche and Hudson). Here’s how they should play if you ask me:

North: Han Dejun, Andray Blatche, Ding Yanyuhang, Lester Hudson, Li Gen.
South: Yi Jianlian, Zhu Fangyu, Gu Quan, Lin Chih-Chieh, Zeng Lingxu.

If we look at the results from 1 week of public voting we get Guo Ailun instead of Li Gen and Zhao Tailong instead of Lin Chih-Chieh. Apparently I was wrong, CBA All-Star lineups, given the limitations on foreign, do make sense. I could defend my reasons why by saying that Li Gen has just had a greater impact than Guo Ailun and that by picking Lin over Zhao I pick winning instead of individual numbers. Fujian is just too down low in the standings to have two All-Stars (Wang will certainly be a reserve).

Let’s get to the reserves I’d pick, now.

North: Zhou Qi, Zhu Yanxi, Guo Ailun, He Tianju, Quincy Douby, Willie Warren, Liu Wei.
South: Chang Lin, Wang Zhelin, Zou Yuchen, Jamaal Franklin, Bobby Brown, Zhang Dayu, Wang Zheng.

Of course, there’s a big 98-players list to choose from, and it’s not an easy task. Quite frankly, there should be at least two-imports per team in the starting lineup, but rules aren’t likely to change.

That is all, folks, see you Sunday!

One thought on “Se son rose…: How imports impact the rebounding battle in the CBA, underrated imports and Shotsuey!’s very first attempt at designing All-Star teams that would make sense.

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