I hope you’ve enjoyed reading part 1 as much as I enjoyed writing it, Lana Del Rey’s lips incident aside. I’ve been suggested a couple of comparisons (thanks Andrew, thanks Jorge!) in the meantime, and I really encourage everyone (yes, all three of you readers!) to hit me up on my Twitter profile, where you will find also some brief thoughts and recaps about daily occurrences in the Chinese league. That said, let’s cover 4 more players you’ll find in the league!
1 – Wang Shipeng/Randy Foye
Wang is a clutch player who, at this point in his career, is probably regarded especially in key moments, somehow similar to a late-career Robert Horry. Wang is no Horry, nor is he Manu Ginobili (although that’s somehow the role he embodies in Spurs-like Guangdong). Randy Foye, though, is a fitting comparison. Not necessarily the closer in your team, but certainly a suitable option for your last shot. Not necessarily a system-only player, but a player that does thrive in a system. Definitely more efficient and comfortable behind the arc, definitely a guard who will not contribute too much by distributing the ball (the biggest difference from the Argentine) and right now absolutely a role player. Stats are pretty fitting, although Wang has played in a much stabler and more winning market, while Foye hasn’t been lucky enough to play more than one postseason.
2 – Gong Songlin/Ray Allen
I am just as astonished as you might be with this comparison, but it is a fitting one. Not a lot of players, however, have relied so much on jump shots and three-pointers as those two in their leagues. Ray Allen, of course, is a legend; Gong, while now a bench player, has had at least 5 consecutive seasons of at least 17 points per game while shooting 40% on more than 8 three-pointers per game, back in Fujian. Those numbers are crazy, and similarly to Allen he’s never been a factor on the boards or distributing the ball while being sneaky good at racking up steals. While Allen has had a HOF career, it’s somewhat disappointing to see Gong warming the pine in Shanghai, especially with Yao’s team not thriving in guard play.
3 – Zhang Nan/Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion was lately known as a fierce defender (who could forget his defense on LeBron James in the 2011 NBA Finals?), but his scoring has been high quality for a long time and has won him 4 All-Star selection. Hey, if he wins big in Cleveland we might even hear his name in HOF conversations, don’t get mistaken. Similarly to Marion, Zhang has been a CBA All-Star caliber player and a scoring threat without ever being a flamethrower from long distance. His numbers from within the area have always been there, he’s often adapted to a less-than-first scoring option consideration from his coaches and his defense has always helped him to a respectable amount of assists. Of course, Marion’s wild athleticism and rebounding are not even in sight for Zhang, who is himself transitioning to a veteran role.
4 – Lv Xiaoming/Ricky Rubio
Lv has always been that kind of player. Not a great or willing scorer, but an incredible passer and ball-stealer, the Sichuan veteran looks a lot like his younger counterpart from Spain. Lv, however, has always been this effective in China despite being 5’8″, and that is incredible. On the other hand, Rubio’s career is about to reach its peak and might be incredibly interesting to see, since he’s a lot more than his stats and contributions: the Spaniard is a pleasure to watch and, when healthy, he might get great benefit from a team no longer centered on Love’s style of play but on newfound, sheer athleticism that just begs to be fed on the break by an adept ballhandler. No one is more suited to that than Rubio himself.
That’s all, folks, as this part 2 comes to a close. See you for part 3!