Just as I was compiling this a doubt came into my mind and I had to look up Bayi’s stats. We can officially confirm that probably Wang Zhizhi is safe: he only played one game, he can probably now retire in peace. Probably.
That’s all the good news you’ll get from the bottom half of the league, however.
Let’s swing into action now, bottom half of the league coming right up!
11 – Shanghai, 11-11 (+1)
It’s a struggle, and being the worst FT shooting team doesn’t work. But this is also the best rebounding team in the league (tied with Liaoning), by far the best at defensive rebounds and top 4 in blocks. This isn’t a regular CBA team by any means, playing two big men at the import slots and using Beasley as a 3 pretty consistently, but that is probably the only way they could have had locals feel it was their duty as well to produce. It worked, but they now have to face a rough schedule: Xinjiang, Beijing, Liaoning and Jilin, and they come from a loss to Guangsha. Yet, this could also be the true test they need to find the answers to a burning question: will a steady interior defense be enough to stop the major offensive weapons they’ll face? Don’t forget that the first round of all those matchups came when they were in the middle of the West incident, so their losses could either be due to that or just to their opponents’ talent. Furthermore, is youngster Ren Pengpeng rotation material? How crucial is Tseng and can his mid-post action really help spread the ball against solid defenses? Will Max Zhang assert himself as a consistent threat on both ends?
12 – Shandong, 11-11 (-1)
A very slow-paced team that can’t seem to find some quietude. Raduljica is gone, replaced by Earl Clark, and they have gone from a post-up-only player to a spot-up player whose penetration attacks have had him stuck at 40% from 2-point land. Ding Yanyuhang’s play has tumbled down and he’s no longer a factor, Li Jingyu can only contribute so much and the old 3-import CBA Finals days are long gone.
13 – Tianjin, 7-15 (+1)
This is where things start to get desperate. League-worse shooting from deep and second to last in apg, Tianjin has parted ways with Quincy Douby due to injury and signed Dwight Buycks. In itself this isn’t a tragedy, as the former Raptor is a very good player, but Tianjin’s season is already doomed.
14 – Jiangsu, 7-15 (-1)
Another new face in Jiangsu, as both Singleton have left injured. It’s Moultrie time in Nanjing, and things won’t change much. Defense is an afterthought for Jiangsu (second most conceded ppg in the league) despite Chris Singleton being a good defender, offense has been lackluster despite having Toney Douglas (who is shooting at a great clip from distance, given his career percentages). This season ends up with a meh, but at least Chang Lin has shown his value, which is a good starting point for the future.
15 – Zhejiang, 6-16 (0)
Chris Johnson, signed to replace the injured Charles Gaines, hasn’t been able to emulate the CBA veteran’s stat lines; yet, it’s hard to blame him for Zhejiang’s bad season, while it’s impossible to give anything less than full credit to McCollum for Zhejiang’s few positives. They’ve slowed down the pace a bit, but still concede a whole lot on defense especially inside (1st in ppg allowed) and the offense hasn’t gotten any better.
16 – Fujian, 5-17 (0)
They’re still somewhat in the neighborhood of the offensive efficiency numbers they had last year, when they were the only team shooting above 50% from the floor (same as this year, 50,4%). Now other teams have improved big time, though, and they’re only fifth. That, though, can’t be responsible for Fujian’s meltdown, and in fact the problem is defense. Already shaky last year, now Fujian has basically no D, allowing a stellar-yet-only-third-best 115 ppg, and that really is the gospel, now that the adjustment time for new imports can’t be an excuse any longer.
17 – Sichuan, 5-17 (+2)
No offense going on in Sichuan, sporting a bottom-2 shooting percentage and an average-at-best defense. While certainly being much better on the boards and even assist-wise, Orton isn’t a stellar upgrade offensively from Metta World Peace; furthermore, as the featured image shows, he’s already managed to emulate the former Laker in getting in trouble. That said, Efevberha has completely lost his touch from deep this season, too, and after all the season just got ugly really fast for them. Still only in their second season, though, the Whales will look at this half-season as a learning experience everyone needs; it’s useless to hand out harsh judgements on CBA newcomers since they don’t get the best young prospects. How cool would it be to sort out rookie classes, though? (hint: we might actually take a look at this year’s rookie class in a further article)
18 – Tongxi, 4-18 (+2)
The league’s worst rebounding team has had all sorts of problems. Costner has had slight injuries, McDonald has been suspended for a game…turns out only one player has taken part in every game, Cai Lilong. Again, it’s hard to slam new teams, so let’s say that the local talent is lacking and that one positive is that when they get some Nanjing will be their place, not Jiangsu’s.
19 – Bayi, 3-19 (-2)
League-worst in ppg and FG%, Bayi was bound to suffer, but they at least can take solace in having found a gem in Zou Yuchen, the rookie forward and rebounding maniac who’s only 18 years old. Everything else we have covered, basically, and it’s not going to change anytime soon, but it’s good to see they can still find talents (Arslan counts as one, by the way).
20 – Chongqing, 3-19 (-2)
Again, little to add to the stats: highest FG% allowed, second-highest ppg conceded. Willie Warren is a gem, but he won’t stay with the newcomers, who are also second-worst in rpg despite having Kazemi. Harrellson is gone, replaced by J’mison Morgan. Little else noteworthy to add.
That’s all, folks. Have fun and take care!