Chinese Basketball Association is back for the 23rd time and we are ready to check the talent level of the most lucrative basketball league in Asia.
For starters, there will be no Mr. MVP, Jimmer Fredette, last season best scorer with 37.6 PPG, and NBA veteran Andray Blatche on opening night. But something is never change, and that is Stephon Marbury and his never-ending amazing basketball journey in China. The only new thing is that he is now representing Beikong Fly Dragons and not Beijing Ducks.
Reigning Finals MVP, Darius Adams is also ready to continue his dominance in Asian part of the continent. The pack of other familiar faces who decided to stay, include MarShon Brooks, Jamaal Franklin, Lester Hudson, Dominique Jones, Pooh Jeter and Hamed Haddadi.
The list of newcomers is even more intriguing. Chinese were able to recruit two of the best European scorers. Keith Langford and Nick Minnerath were both shining in Russian squads last season, UNICS Kazan and Avtodor Saratov, respectively. Langford has claimed Euroleague scoring title, while Minnerath was at the top of VTB United League and Champions League. Ioannis Bourousis is another notable European player to reach Chinese shores. Even more incredible, that Euroleague legend has completely changed the direction of his career at the age of 33. It is highly recommended to follow Aaron Jackson and Edwin Jackson, too.
As always, the best material comes from NBA and this year brings a lot of new accomplished athletes. From savvy veterans Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Brandon Bass to “not done yet” group of Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Jared Sullinger and then to young guns, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas.
If we talk about star power, then probably the most intriguing duo of the league will represent Shanxi Brave Dragons. But Luis Scola and Brandon Jennings will have to overcome a lot, considering all factors of success in the CBA. The first one and the most important is longevity. Absence of one foreign star will almost guarantee your club big problems. And Luis Scola is not the healthiest man on the list.
Another reason to avoid quick assumptions based simply on familiarity of the name is athleticism. Yes, that`s right, in China you still can carry your team on pure athletic abilities. That is exactly why not so glamourous, but powerful and explosive forwards and wings have had so much success here.
Finally, it`s worth to mention that despite heavy output by internationals, domestic players still play vital role in their squads. Especially, when we talk about members of Chinese national team. There is not much depth here, but as we already mentioned, you can`t win CBA title with just four hands. And here come the names of NBA vet Yi Jianlian, domestic MVP Ding Yanyuhang, 57th pick of 2012 NBA Draft Wang Zhelin and first Chinese player to sign with Jordan Brand, Guo Ailun.
For complete list of international players check out the information below.
Complete CBA imports list
Justin Hamilton, Aaron Jackson
Beikong Fly Dragons
Shavlik Randolph, Stephon Marbury
Christian Wood, Russ Smith
Guangdong Southern Tigers
Andrew Nicholson, Edwin Jackson
Kyle Fogg, Tyler Hansbrough
MarShon Brooks, Miroslav Raduljica
Jilin Northeast Tigers
Von Wafer, Carl Landry
Liaoning Flying Leopards
Brandon Bass, Lester Hudson
Nanjing Monkey Kings
Dominique Jones, JJ Hickson
Terrence Jones, Jonathon Gibson
Shandong Golden Stars
Ty Lawson, Donatas Motiejunas
Josh Akognon, Nick Minnerath
Shanxi Brave Dragons
Luis Scola, Brandon Jennings
Keith Langford, Jared Sullinger
Sichuan Blue Whales
Jamaal Franklin, Hamed Haddadi
Tianjin Gold Lions
Pooh Jeter, Elijah Holman
Xinjiang Flying Tigers
Darius Adams, Shawn Long
Zhejiang Golden Bulls
Sonny Weems, Jarnell Stokes
Courtney Fortson, Ioannis Bourousis