Tag: International Basketball


Wilson Chandler will play in China

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ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande has the story:

Wilson Chandler said he has signed a contract with the Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association, a move that would essentially preclude him from participating in the 2011-12 NBA season if the lockout ends and the games begin.

The Chinese Basketball Association will not allow players with existing contracts to sign with its teams, so playing in China is only an option for free agents such as Chandler, a restricted free agent who finished the 2010-11 season with the Denver Nuggets.

In addition, the CBA will not allow escape clauses that would allow players to leave the Chinese league in the event the NBA resumes operations. So Chandler would not be a part of the NBA if the season begins on time or even with an abbreviated schedule starting in January or February.

“Maybe I’ll lose out,” Chandler said. “But I think it can be a great experience. I haven’t been in any [labor negotiation] meetings. I can’t call it. I’m just taking a risk, at the end of the day.”

Chandler, who averaged over 15 points per game last season but had a horrible playoffs, is one of the first NBA players to effectively give up hope of playing in the NBA due to the possibility of a lockout. Time will tell if Chandler’s move pays off or not, but this could provide some insight as to how pessimistic some players are about the current state of the CBA negotiations.

Ricky Rubio is coming. Will he be good?

Ricky Rubio Barcelona

The good news: Ricky Rubio, the #5 overall pick in the 2009 draft and one of the most dynamic point guard talents in the world, is coming to the NBA and joining the team that drafted him.

The bad news: Rubio really didn’t give Timberwolves fans much to get excited about during his last season with FC Barcelona.

The numbers are ugly: In 23.75 minutes per game last season, Rubio averaged 6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 39.2%/22.4%/83.6% shooting, and 1.8 turnovers per game.

Rubio is a big guard who plays great defense and is exceptionally creative in the open floor, two things that will serve him well in the NBA, and FC Barcelona’s style of play didn’t suit Rubio’s game very well. Still, 6.5 points per game on 39% shooting is 6.5 points on 39% shooting.

The most favorable comparisons for Rubio may be Boston’s Rajon Rondo or Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings. Rondo is a big guard, a tremendously creative passer, a two-way player, has a broken jumper, and played in a system that didn’t suit him.

There are issues with both comparisons. As bad as Jennings (who called Rubio “all hype” when both players were in Europe) was in Europe, he didn’t get nearly as much playing time as Rubio did, and had something that Rubio doesn’t currently possess: a smooth jumper, which allowed him to immediately make an impact as a scoring guard in the NBA.

And while Rondo slid far further than he should have in the draft because Kentucky played in a slow-down system that wasn’t tailored towards him, he was still more successful than Rubio was: Rondo averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game during his last season at Kentucky, and shot 48.2% from the field. Like Rubio, Rondo doesn’t have much of a jumper to speak of, but unlike Rubio, Rondo seems to have always known how to score efficiently without having to make many jump shots. Rubio’s stroke is better than Rondo’s, but he may need to make some dramatic leaps as a shooter to be effective as a scorer in the NBA.

Rubio is talented, and the NBA game is dramatically different from the international game, so it’s impossible to make a solid prediction on how Rubio will do in the NBA. But based on what he showed in Barcelona last year, Rubio has given NBA fans plenty to be skeptical about.

Kirilenko plans to play for Russia in European Championships

Kirilenko Tattoo

According to Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake City Tribune, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko still plans to play for his country in the European Championships this summer.

Kirilenko is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he has had some injury problems in the past, but clearly playing for his country is something that is important to Kirilenko. And with a lockout looming, playing in high-level Euro competition may be the best way for Kirilenko to keep his skills sharp while the owners and players attempt to hammer out a new CBA agreement.