Sunday , Sep , 09 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Yi Jianlian and Handlers Strike Again, Demand Playing Time Guarantee From Milwaukee Bucks

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to play. More minutes mean more opportunities. But why force Milwaukee’s owner, a respected member of the American government, to “personally guarantee” minutes? Senator Kohl already had to write Yi a letter requesting an initial meeting …

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on Senator Kohl guaranteeing Yi Jianlian playing time next year:

According to a report, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl, during negotiations with Yi Jianlian, guaranteed that the rookie Chinese power forward will get at least 20 and "possibly" as much as 25 minutes a game his rookie season.

ESPN.com reported that Kohl had to make "personal guarantees" of average playing time in order get Yi, who was drafted No. 6 overall, signed to a contract with the Bucks.

But if you look at the average number of minutes other No. 6 draft choices have played in their rookie seasons in recent years, you see that they routinely got more minutes than even the maximum Kohl is said to have pledged.

In other words, if Kohl promised Yi playing time, he was promising something Yi likely would get even if there was no promise.

My Quick Take: It’s hard not to pass judgment on Yi Jianlian and his handlers. Their sense of entitlement has created unrealistic expectations.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to play. More minutes mean more opportunities. But why force’s owner, a respected member of the American government, to "personally guarantee" minutes?  Senator Kohl already had to write Yi a letter requesting an initial meeting.

Yi should report to training camp and compete for his playing time. Minutes won’t be an issue if he is half as good as his handlers claim.

Ironically, Yi’s handlers were negotiating for something he was probably going to get anyway. Over the last fifteen years, the sixth overall pick has averaged 28 minutes per game during their rookie season.  That’s three more minutes than Yi was holding out for.

By demanding an irrelevant personal guarantee, Yi’s handlers have shown how out of touch they are with the NBA. Things will get worse for Yi if he doesn’t change those around him.

Should Yi get guaranteed minutes next year? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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