I really hope you noticed the allegory of having happy and winning players/teams being photographed for all the part 1s and frustrated players/coaches beating each other or yelling at refs for part 2s (even though this time I have picked an image coming from a Beijing game, but it was too good to pass up).
Ok, I’m sorry, let’s pick up where we left off and go for the bottom half: part 2, mid-january edition, let’s get started!
11 – Shanghai, 14-17 (0)
Didn’t ultimately pan out as expected, and despite getting two foreign big men ultimately being a smart move (after all they hadn’t won a single game with Delonte West on the floor), the local talent just wasn’t there. Too many good teams this year have made the run back to relevancy hard to pull off, and they finally surrendered. Not without fighting, however, and next season might be a better one, despite being obviously unknown whether they’ll have Beasley back (I personally doubt it, but we’ll see).
12 – Shandong, 14-17 (0)
Disappointing season for Pooh and his crew, as getting Clark to sub in for Raduljica ultimately didn’t get them any momentum (Clark has far better numbers than Raduljica, but numbers are useless when you don’t win). What scares the local fans, however, is mostly the involution of Ding Yanyuhang. It’d better be just an off season, because if his scoring goes down there’s little he gives that appeals fans: he’s not a contributor by passing or getting boards. Furthermore, this team lacks a point guard, as Pooh couldn’t average 4 assists per game.
13 – Tianjin, 11-20 (0)
Buycks signed with Tianjin because of Douby’s injury, so we won’t complain about tinkering with imports. Nothing, of course, changed: it was a cursed season right from the start and the former Raptor couldn’t do anything more than score and contribute in a losing team. Long-term, however, Tianjin need to figure stuff out: the only relevant player who still has years of better basketball ahead is Zhang Zhihan. Guys like Zhang Nan or Shang Ping will progressively see their game deteriorate with age. And it’s not like Zhihan is a beast or a potential late bloomer.
14 – Jiangsu, 10-21 (0)
If your coach has to wear his old kicks once more and bail you out of terribleness, eh. Ok, while guys like Yi Li have lost a step (but hey, isn’t he 29?!), it’s fair to say that Hu hasn’t – the averages are lying: look at what he does when he gets himself real starter minutes, as he often flirts with triple-doubles. Chang Lin was a gem coming from the U.S., but this team needs some roster refreshing aside from getting new foreign players.
15 – Zhejiang, 9-22 (0)
Here’s a team that needs no refreshing at all: one of the youngest sides in the CBA, all they need is time and experience. The good news is that they’re already getting a ton of both, and it’s going to be like that for a while, as most guys are just too young for anybody to place any kind of expectation or stigma on them. Will they keep Errick McCollum? Probably no, but if they manage to lure Gaines back next season, well, there’s no better big man to learn the game from in the CBA.
16 – Fujian, 8-23 (0)
How sad. Just last year they were close to making the postseason and were promising to get it done in 2015. Now they’re in the bottom 5. You don’t want to see that happen to guys like Wang Zhelin and Zhao Tailong, but it happened and now it’s either finding out what made this season such a mess or letting it go as a terrible (but, yet, forgettable: most core guys can definitely afford to spend some more season trying to make it to a big game) accident with as little repercussions as possible.
17 – Tongxi, 7-24 (+1)
It’s not even so bad, for such a neophyte team, to be fourth-to-last. They’ll have one more chance with a third import, after all, and the biggest step is already behind them: coming across as a legit market. Nanjing did fill their arena more often than not despite the city already hosting another team (who’s in the verge of moving out, though). The character seems to be there as well, already. Now it’s about building a good team.
18 – Bayi, 6-25 (+1)
The good news come from the youngsters: as already highlighted, Bayi is the team that had most rookies alongside Shandong, and at least three of them – Arslan, Han Delong and of course Zou Yuchen – are already in the rotation, with the latter being maybe even a star in the making.
19 – Sichuan, 5-26 (-2)
The Panda experiment didn’t work, as Metta World Peace couldn’t find his feet in the league. Orton is injured, Efevberha has worse numbers than last year, no Chinese player has stepped up, Jet Chang included. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
20 – Chongqing, 3-28 (0)
17 consecutive losses. What more can you ask? Probably far from being prepared to play a CBA season, as the Visa issues with Kazemi definitely suggest, this team can only get better, from here. Or stay just the same. Let’s hope it doesn’t.
The good news could comprise Willie Warren, who definitely is going to be shown love next season: most teams will want to get him. Probably we won’t sign with Chongqing, though, so is it good news for them?
See you guys soon, and take care!