The Milwaukee Bucks have drafted Yi Jianlian, a power forward from China,
with the No. 6 pick in tonight's NBA Draft.
Yi Jianlian, a power forward from China, shakes hands with
NBA chief David Stern after being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks on June
29, 2007. [Xinhua]
The 7-foot power forward will be the fourth Chinese player to make the NBA,
but there's no guarantee he'l make the same impact as Yao Ming, selected by the
Houston Rockets with the first pick in 2002.
Questions about his defense, strength and age surround Yi Jianlian, who has
been protected by his handlers who wanted him in a city like Chicago, Los
Angeles or the Bay area.
Yi has been in the United States for several weeks adjusting, and unlike the
three Chinese who played before him, he was on hand to witness his
"I played for a national team for a couple of years, I think I'm ready," Yi
said immediately after the pick.
Yi has a deft shooting touch from the wing, soft hands and an athletic body,
which is compared to Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Bucks, who have watched Yi over the last four years during the course of
his development, are taking a gamble that Yi won't do what Fran Vazquez did.
Vazquez, the Magic's top draft pick in 2005 and 11th overall, was expected to
make an immediate impact but surprised the club after the draft by choosing to
remain in Europe.
Yi played on China's 2004 Olympic team and the 2006 world championship team.
This season, he averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds in the Chinese Basketball
Association with the Guangdong Tigers.
The Bucks don't pick again until No. 56, which is the 26th pick in the second
Greg Oden was the No. 1 pick by Portland, and Kevin Durant went No. 2 to