The finals of CBA between Bayi
Rockets and Guangdong Tigers, China Basketball Association, have drawn much
attention from local basketball fans, and also a number of NBA executives and
scouts, who have arrived China to watch top Chinese player Yi Jianlian, a latent
Five teams, the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors,
Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets, sent their officials to observe the game.
Wang Zhizhi, center of Bayi Rockets and a former NBA player, won Yi's
Guangdong Tigers 94-89 in Sunday night's opening game.
"We know that Yi Jianlian has declared himself eligible for this year's
draft, so we have come to watch him," Phoenix's vice president of basketball
operations, David Griffin, was quoted as saying.
"There are a lot of good players in this match up that are worth looking at,"
Griffin told the Basketball Pioneers newspaper.
Among them was seven-foot (2.12 meter) Wang, who played four years in the NBA
and had a superb game on Sunday, making 10 of his 12 shots to score 22 points,
while also grabbing eight rebounds.
Most importantly, Wang scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, sealing the
away win for Bayi.
Despite being on the losing team, the 20-year-old Yi, also played well,
scoring 24 points and hauling in eight rebounds.
He brought the crowd to their feet in the first half, taking the ball from
the free throw line and soaring through defenders for a spectacular two-handed
Among the biggest NBA names in Guangdong were Chicago Bulls general manager
John Paxson and former NBA great Chris Mullin, now an executive with the Golden
However they refused to discuss the match with the press in accordance with
NBA team officials are forbidden to publicly discuss possible draft
selections, or their opinions of players not in the league.
The seven-foot Yi is expected to be a top pick in June's NBA draft and has
long been considered as the best player to come out of China since Yao Ming, the
All-Star center for the Houston Rockets.
Since returning to China last year, Wang, 29, has dominated the CBA, while
becoming a key player with Yao and Yi on China's national team that will play in
next year's Beijing Olympic Games.
Game two of the seven-match finals series is on Tuesday. The Guangdong Tiges
are the three-time defending champions.