Friday , Nov , 23 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Why Yi Jianlian Shouldn’t Be On All-Star Ballot

Heading into December, the Chinese rookie has become a fan favorite and international phenomenon. Key word: rookie. Respectfully, members of the Chinese media must table their complaints about Yi being omitted from the All-Star ballot …

Yahoo reports on the fallout from Yi being left off the All-Star ballot:

"The NBA does not dare to put Yi Jianlian on the ballot because the voting power of Chinese fans is too big," Titan Sports Weekly said in an editorial.

"If the NBA put Yi Jianlian on the ballot without careful consideration … he would surely start for the East.

"The NBA fears that if a guy like Yi becomes an All Star and only scores two points in the game, they would lose the meaning of the All Star (game)."

My Quick Take: What a difference a few weeks make. In October, Yi Jianlian was still public enemy number one because he initially refused to play for the Milwaukee Bucks.
 
Heading into December, the Chinese rookie has become a fan favorite and international phenomenon. 

Key word: rookie.

Respectfully, members of the Chinese media must table their complaints about Yi being omitted from the All-Star ballot. Here’s why:

Yi can play. He had a great training camp and beat established pro Charlie Villanueva for the starting small forward spot. And he’s posted solid per game numbers: 10 points, 6 boards, and 1.5 blocks.

Here’s the kicker: Yi reminds me of a taller, more skilled Tony Kukoc. He’s got The Waiter’s all-round skill-set, but on a longer, leaner frame.

So he’s good, but not an All-Star. Yi’s not ready to represent the Eastern Conference at the NBA’s midseason classic.   

The Yi-lobbyists have less of argument when factoring in the rookie-sophomore game. This game gives young players, like Yi, a stage before they suit up for the main event on Sunday.

The All-Star game is for the fans. And, as a Canadian, I can appreciate the NBA’s international following in China. But it’s also about honoring the league’s best and Yi’s game isn’t quite there.

For now, the rookie-sophomore duel is the perfect showcase for Yi.  In a few years, he’ll be ready for the big game on Sunday.

Should Yi be on the All-Star ballot? Get at us in the comment box with your thoughts.

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