Chinese basketball league was truly exposed to the basketball world only in 2011, when NBA was shaken by another lockout. Prominent NBA players such as Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Aaron Brooks rolled the dice, and after that CBA lost its “Terra incognita“ status forever. Americanised rules and generous paychecks, compared even to average “basketball salary“ in Europe, every year attract those who don`t want to deal with anything labeled “non-guaranteed“ in the NBA.
So, the quality of the game and stats for that matter, have grown significantly. As the general interest for the league, of course. That is why it is pretty useful to mention some of the best individual seasons, so everyone can go a little bit deeper about how bad or good this or that NBA player might be in China.
Jordan Crawford, 43.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG in 2015-16
CBA`s scoring record for a single season
As of now, Jordan Crawford is still out of work despite his strong finish with New Orleans Pelicans last year and career 12.3 PPG in the NBA. Stranger things can happen, even to a guy who once produced the most outrageous scoring result in modern history of basketball. Crawford`s ability to score big time was never doubted, but in his first and pretty short CBA stretch he hasn`t produced anything special (29.3 PPG).
Two years later former Indiana and Xavier guard literally exploded. In 2015-16 season Crawford collected eight 50-point games, once scored 61 and set personal high with 72 in game vs Sichuan. Amazingly, even this crazy number wasn`t enough to topple “out of this world“ performance by Errick McCollum in a single game.
Jonathan Gibson, 42.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.1 APG in 2015-16
Only player to record more than 40 PPG, 5 RPG & 5 APG
Prior to Chinese contract Gibson had already earned scoring title in highly respected Turkish league and his offensive skills were once again verified in CBA, when he won scoring crown again in 2014. But that was just a sneak peek of what Gibson was really capable of. In 2015-16 season he was paired with Alan Williams, who concentrated on rebounding, while scoring burden was all Gibson`s problem. In any given season anywhere on Earth 42 PPG give you another scoring title, but that was Jordan Crawford`s year. Anyway, even Crawford was far away from amazing 40-5-5 line, documented by Gibson that year.
Errick McCollum, 39.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.5 APG in 2014-15
3rd best scoring result in history
If you think CJ McCollum story is amazing in every bit, you better look at his brother. Errick had to build his resume from small non-NCAA college and relatively quickly showed up with big numbers in Greek league. In 2014 he grabbed his first scoring title with Panionios and after that he simply forgot about any stop signs.
A year later he cruised through Chinese competition and broke record for PPG in a season (37.1) set by Lee Benson. He also put up Kobe Bryant-like performance in a game vs Guangdong, scoring 82 points on 26/49 FG shooting. This record even survived an attack from Jimmer Fredette (scored 73 once), who came very close to steal second scoring title from McCollum last season.
Dominique Jones, 36.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 8.4 APG in 2014-15
Only player to record more than 35 PPG, 7 RPG & 7 APG
Jones is one of the highest NBA Draft picks ever (25th in 2010) to have tremendous success in China. The realization of not coming any closer to a prominent role with Dallas Mavericks rapidly transformed into a decision to settle in China for a long period of time. Dominique has been playing in the CBA since 2013 and has posted a number of mind-blowing seasons. His best came in 2014-15, the only time, when he jumped beyond 35 PPG. Jones produced big numbers in other categories, too. In fact, he has never dropped below 5 APG and 5 RPG in all his three full seasons.
Jamaal Franklin, 33.6 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 8.8 APG in 2016-17
Closest to a triple-double for a season
Jamaal Franklin has every right to call himself Russell Westbrook of China, even though he never reached sacred destination. Very limited opportunities with Memphis Grizzlies pushed Franklin out of the NBA in a New York minute, and like many second-rounders he found comfortable home in China. The only thing that kept him out of Oscar Robertson territory in his second Chinese stint was total number of games (34.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 10.8 APG through 16).
Jamaal saw his numbers slide a bit last season, but still he was just 1.2 APG away from historic feature. He also unsurprisingly led the league in triple-doubles (11) and was the only player with two 60-point triple-doubles. It`s not the craziest part. One of those was actually 60-20-10 triple-double (60 points, 21 assists, 13 rebounds vs Liaoning).
Andray Blatche, 31.1 PPG, 14.6 RPG, 5.1 APG in 2014-15
Only player to record more than 30 PPG, 12 RPG & 5 APG
Yao Ming is by far the most famous and accomplished big man, who stepped foot on CBA court. Andray Blatche should be the easiest pick for a runner-up spot. After the expiration of contract with Brooklyn Nets in 2014, Blatche chose to sign with Xinjiang Flying Tigers and have been playing for them ever since.
While his main accomplishment in China, championship trophy won with Darius Adams, came last season, individual highs were set in his first year with Xinjiang. Blatche missed double-double only in 6 out of 38 games and four times was assist away from triple-double. He also had four 20-rebound games and one absolutely monster performance with 43 points and 29 rebounds in rumble vs Zhejiang.
Here are some other extraordinary full seasons of notable players over the years:
Willie Warren 38.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG in 2014-15
Jimmer Fredette 37.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.2 APG in 2016-17
MarShon Brooks 36.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.4 APG in 2016-17
J.R. Smith 34.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.2 APG in 2011-12
Jared Cunningham 34.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.2 APG in 2016-17
Michael Beasley 31.9 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 3.8 APG in 2015-16
Yi Jianlian 27.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG in 2014-15
Stephon Marbury 27.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.2 APG in 2011-12
Wilson Chandler 26.6 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.3 APG in 2011-12
Tracy McGrady 25.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 5.1 APG in 2012-13