He made his name again in Rio and now Yi Jianlian looks like he’s heading to the California sun.
China may have struggled in these group stages of the 2016 Olympic Games, being knocked out before the quarters (we all remember their opening game blowout against Team USA by 57 points. The biggest margin the U.S have won by since it was all a Dream Team in 1992), but they still showed flashes of brilliance. Especially when it came to the Peoples Republic’s biggest star.
Retired legend Yao Ming may have carried the flag for his country, leading the nation into Brazil’s Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony, but it was Yi Jianlian who wore the jersey, carrying even the whole Asian continent into contest (aside from the Japanese woman’s team that also represented the Far East).
Yi who followed Yao Ming’s dynasty and legacy into the league averaged 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in Rio despite China going winless in its tournament time. His hustle for a bucket and improved athleticism were undeniable. As were his stats in the Chinese league last year. As the 28 year old still in his prime averaged 27.7 points and 10.9 rebounds for the Guangdong Southern Tigers on a 57.5 clip from the field.
The Power Forward was drafted with the 6th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and looks to be now showing that Top Ten worth. Despite impressing for the deers as well as the Mavericks, Wizards and Nets during his half decade tenure in the National Basketball Association that also saw some time with the Texas Legends of the NBA’s Development League.
But now Jianlian looks to be called up again from the same Tiger team he returned to after making his professional playing debut for when he was just 14 years of age. And it looks like the post Kobe young gun Lakers are the team to give him a shot to the tune of a nice $8 million contract. Making for quite the Olympic payday.
The 4 time CBA champion looks to make his NBA comeback permanent after an impressive display in the Rio Olympics. The 7 footer looks to bolster a bench of veterans for the Lakers who are banking their young future on the live or die in L.A. death line-up of former rookies and sophomores Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., D’Angelo Russell and this Summers new number two draft pick rookie Brandon Ingram. Forget a Golden State Fantastic Four of big free agent Kevin Durant, MVP Steph Curry and Olympians Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. These kids could be California Warriors too. And Yi isn’t the only purple player to have a gold Summer in Rio. And we aren’t talking about the aforementioned stars of the future who helped train and test the Olympic roster in what everyone thought would be just another tune-up.
Host nation Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas showed how just a great Point Guard he was and is (and this is the Lakers fourth string P.G.?! No wonder the Lakers re-signed him this Summer. They saw what was to come.), dishing off to the NBA likes of Nene and Leandro Barbosa. As Brazil may have not made it through to the second round, but they sure passed the bar that the Olympic competition set. Even upsetting Spain and new teammate Jose Calderon in a Lakers backups match-up. Put Yi with these two Points, new Cav champ signing Timofey Mozgov and British ambassador of the 2012 London Olympics Luol Deng and you have one deep bench that could star over the kids for those times when only vets can get it done.
Following in the sneaker steps of fellow Chinese countryman and former Laker draftee Sun Yue, the man once dubbed “the next Yao Ming” last played in the NBA in the year of the last Olympics.
Time to go forth.
Canada vs. USA focal point of loaded Pre-FIBA World Cup series
Canada’s senior’s men’s basketball team will take on the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Nigeria in a loaded preseason FIBA World Cup schedule.
For many years Canadian’s have been waiting for the day that Canada’s golden basketball generation faced off against the mighty USA Dream Team.
Well, wait no longer, and bookmark Monday, August 26, 2019 your calendar.
Part of a five-game per-world cup series in Australia — Team Canada will wrap it’s six-game FIBA World Cup exhibition schedule with a much anticipated match-up against American’s.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to compete and gain familiarity against some of the top teams in the world in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019,” said Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball General Manager, Men’s High Performance. “The USA has been the gold standard in FIBA basketball for several years so this will be a great opportunity for our program. In addition, having the chance to play tough road games against Australia and New Zealand will be a valuable experience for our team on the road to the World Cup.”
Canada’s Senior Men’s National team (SMNT) will kick-off it’s pre-world cup festivities on home-soil, on Friday, August 9, 2019 against a rising Nigerian D’ Tigers (10-2, 1st place African Qualifiers) national side in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
From there it’s off to foreign territory as the Canadians get acquainted with the Australia Boomers — a 2019 FIBA World Cup Group of death foe and commonwealth member in a two-game series in Perth on August 16th and 17th.
Previously known for the their alternative nickname — “The Road Warriors” — for their lack of international FIBA home games — Team Canada will shift their attention to a familiar foe with a two-game series against the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
According to the FIBA World Cup draw and if everything works out as planed Canada vs. USA could also become a reality in a potential heavyweight quarter-finals match-up.
With World Cup medal aspirations on the line and a 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics bid up for grabs, Canada will look to field a studded 12-men roster not only capable of fulling the federations 2020 vision of becoming a global basketball powerhouse but eventually reminding our border neighbors and media pundits that “soft and basketball” will no longer be acceptable in the basketball sentence.
Not exactly considered the cream-of the crop international tournaments — Canada’s senior’s men’s basketball team last knocked-off the United States of America 111-108 at the 2015 Pan-Am games in Toronto.
A 2005 FIBA Americas Group A win — culminated by a dominated 28 point, 9-rebound performance from Denham Brown lifted Canada 92-76 past the USA on August, 25, in San Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Canada knocked off the Americans 85-77 in the semi-finals of 1983 Summer Universiade games in Edmonton — beating a star-studded USA (Karl Malone, Charles Barkley) team in the semi-finals.
Team Canada FIBA World Cup international exhibition series
- Canada Basketball vs. Nigeria D’ Tigers – August, 9th 2019 – MTS Place
- Canada Basketball vs. Australia Boomers – August 16, 2019 – RAC Arena, Perth
- Canada Basketball vs. Australia Boomers – August 17, 2019 – RAC Arena, Perth
- Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – August 20, 2019, Quaycentre, Sydney
- Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – August 21, 2019, Quaycentre, Sydney
- Canada Basketball vs. USA Basketball – August 26, 2019, Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Triano steps aside as Canadian national team coach
Jay Triano has officially stepped down as the head coach of Canada’s senior men’s national team.
Canada Basketball made the announcement this morning, confirming media reports that circulated on Sunday.
“I can’t thank Jay enough for all he has done for basketball in Canada,” said Glen Grunwald, president and CEO of Canada Basketball, in a statement.
“As both a coach and player, Jay is a Canadian icon and has played a major role in the development of basketball within our country and we will forever be grateful for his contributions.
“After speaking with Jay, I’m hopeful we can find a role where he can continue to contribute to Canada Basketball in the future.”
Triano is the first Canadian-born and Canadian-trained coach to work in the NBA, starting as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors in 2002 and later promoted to head coach.
He is currently the lead assistant coach with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
As head coach of Canada’s national team from 1998 to 2004, Triano led the team to a seventh-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
Canada has not returned to the Olympics since then, but it figures to be a contender to play at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Triano returned as head coach in 2012, guiding the club to a pair of victories during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers.
As a player, Triano served with Canada’s national team from 1977 to 1988 and was team captain for the final seven years of his tenure.
He was elected to the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Ryerson University head coach Roy Rana is among three other candidates being granted interviews to replace Triano, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
The other candidates are Gord Herbert, who played for Canada at the 1984 Olympics; and Ettore Messina, an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs.
A final decision is expected by March 31.
Multiple reports say Triano cited “personal reasons” for taking his name out of the running, but he did not elaborate.
Team Canada’s next major test will be the 2019 FIBA World Cup, starting Aug. 31 in China.
Triano steps aside at a high point in Canadian basketball, with dozens of players in the NBA and at elite NCAA schools, including Barrett’s son R.J. Barrett, a Duke University standout who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.