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Report: Yi Jianlian out 2-4 weeks

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Players will be making their way back from overseas now that the lockout is effectively over, yes, even those that signed with the Chinese Basketball Association and their “no opt-out” rule. You’re going to see a slew of releases over everything from “injuries” like strained hamstrings to “personal differences” as reasons why CBA teams “release” their NBA players.

But one that appears legitimate is Yi Jianlian’s knee injury. Via

Sina Sports recently reported that the knee injury isn’t too serious, but unlike JR Smith, Yi will still be forced to rest for at least two weeks.  Here’s a link to Sina’s article in Chinese, and an excerpt from my poorly-translated version that’s just good enough to get the point across…

The results show for the medial collateral ligament injury, the initial diagnosis requires at least two weeks of rest. However, the club said Monday [Yi] will also visit Hong Kong for further examination and treatment.

via Yi Jianlian Has Strained Ligament In Right Knee, Out Two Weeks To A Month | NBA 24/7 365.

Yi’s going to have a hard time finding a roster spot on a revamped frontcourt with Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely along with returning starters Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. This just puts a further damper on his prospects. Yi’s never found a niche in the NBA. He might honestly be better off playing out the year in China.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.