Bucks Select Yi with No. 6 Pick
Posted Jun 28 2007 8:56PM
MILWAUKEE, June 28, 2007 (AP) -- Disregarding his desire to play in a city with a heavy Asian influence, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Yi Jianlian with the sixth pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The 7-foot power forward will be the fourth Chinese player to make the NBA, but there's no guarantee he'll 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. (pronounced EE TEE-an-LEE-an), who has been protected by handlers who wanted him in a city like Chicago, Los Angeles or the Bay area.
Fan reaction at the Bradley Center, where the Bucks play, was mixed - with about half the crowd standing and cheering.
His English is basic, but better that Yao's when he was picked five years ago. 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 selection.
"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 that of Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Chinese Basketball Association lists his birthday as Oct. 27, 1987 - which would make him 19 at draft time.
Yi played on China's 2004 Olympic team and 2006 world championship team. In the Chinese Basketball Association this season, he averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds with the Guangdong Tigers.
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