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Archive for the tag “Chinese Basketball Association”

The CBA Is Becoming A Huge Factor In Professional Basketball

The NBA is a dream for a lot of people. They work and work their whole lives to try to hear their names being broadcast on the television as they are called to the stage to get the hat of their new team and shake the commissioner’s hand. But not everyone can make it to the NBA. There are some that don’t get that opportunity. And along with those that don’t get the opportunity, there are some that don’t last as long as they would like. In that instance, some players make the decision to quit playing the game. At that point, their second career starts quicker than they wanted it to. But for others, the decision to go overseas still is there. With that being said, it seems like the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) is starting to become a place where former NBA players and college stars tend to land. And because of that, the CBA has become better and better. And with the NBA becoming a place that not everyone can play in, the CBA is becoming a place where players go.

“People love basketball in China,” says former NBA and CBA basketball player David Harrison. “The national sport is ping pong, but every game I played in was sold out.” Harrison was drafted in the first round (29th overall) by the Indiana Pacers in the 2004 NBA Draft. He played a total of four seasons in the NBA with the Pacers, never averaging more than six points per game. At the end of his fourth year, the Pacers and the rest of the NBA decided to not give him a shot in the NBA anymore. He was out of a job and looking for work. And then came the CBA. David played a total of three years in China and had great production over there for the Beijing Ducks and the Guangdong Southern Tigers, even having a season where he averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds. He was able to extend his career and play somewhere that allowed him to get as many minutes as he could. We have seen some revive their careers to an extent over there, but when asked is it a league to revive you career, Harrison said “I’m not sure about reviving your career to return to the NBA. But it is a viable option. There are millions to be made there for sure.”

But with any league, there has to be some adjustments that have to be made. Besides the language barrier, there is one rule that is very interesting that may still be in play over there. “If you are American, you can only play three quarters of a game. So in that instance, the game became a strategic one as to who you play when.” says Harrison. Another interesting thing over there is the cities that are played in. Some cities are big and there is not much of an adjustment. But in some of the smaller cities, Harrison describes them by saying they are “as bad a third world countries”. And if you’re hoping for good officiating over there, then think again. When asked about the officiating, Harrison said “it is horrible and it makes you definitely appreciate the NBA officiating.” Like Harrison said earlier, there are millions to be made over there in China, but they are given at a smaller rate than in the NBA. The average NBA salary is roughly five million. The highest average salary per season over there is not even over $3 million. To give you an idea, former NBA player Andray Blatche just signed the richest contract in the CBA, making a guaranteed $7.5 million over three years (which the CBA used to only offer one-year deals). The CBA is growing and making some leaps in their history and from Harrison’s thoughts, the league is a legit league.

The CBA will only become a bigger product as more collegiate stars and players who are not in the NBA continue to go over there and make the league better. Guys like Willie Warren (former Oklahoma Sooners guard), Marshon Brooks (former 1st round pick of the Boston Celtics), Dominique Jones (former 1st round pick of the Dallas Mavericks) and Michael Beasley (former #2 overall pick) are just a few of the names that are making serious waves over in China, putting up insane scoring numbers provided they only play three quarters. The next step for China is to get their games broadcast over here in the United States. And with more and more players from the United States going there, the CBA could be coming to a television near you. It isn’t a matter of “when” but “if”. The CBA is here and is becoming the most prominent league outside of the NBA. If you don’t believe they are becoming a factor, read what Harrison said about the CBA: “The CBA has more viewers than the NBA.”

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Remember Andray Blatche?

(photo courtesy of The Philippine Star)

(photo courtesy of The Philippine Star)

The NBA season is heading towards the playoffs and many teams are still looking for help. Some teams out there are hoping veteran players like the Nets’ Joe Johnson and the Timberwolves’ Kevin Martin get bought out by their current teams. But another option people are looking at is the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). The CBA consists of some former NBA players along with some local Chinese players. And every now and then, there is an NBA player that revives his career overseas. One player that seems to be doing so is Michael Beasley. Currently he is averaging 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Shandong Lions. And even though he is halfway across the world, many NBA front offices have been keeping tabs on how he is doing. Their belief is that Beasley will continue to show his worth and they want to be the team to take a chance on him to make it work. And because of his talent, he will more than likely yet another shot to make the NBA. But one guy that many have seemingly forgotten about is currently playing overseas as well. His name is Aundray Blatche.

Plenty still remember when Blatche came into the NBA. He entered the NBA Draft out of high school in 2005 and fancied himself a first-round pick. But instead of being selected as early as he thought, he was selected with the 49th overall pick in the draft. His selection late meant that he was not assured to make the team and that there would be no big-time money given out to him to sign his rookie contract. He had to play himself onto the roster in Washington that season and he did. He seldom played his rookie season, but he eventually worked his way into being a player that the Wizards were looking to in their future. He was signed to an extension in 2010 that was going to pay him $35 million over the next five years. There was some thinking that he had turned the corner when he signed that deal. But unfortunately, he did not live up to that deal. The first season after signing the big deal, he did average 17 points per game and eight rebounds. But the following season (2011-2012), he suffered a setback in his progress, dropping down to nine points per game and getting in some trouble along with showing up out of shape. The Wizards decided to move on and they did so using the amnesty clause, cutting bait and going as far as to say Blatche was not in their future plans. Blatche would end up playing two seasons for the Brooklyn Nets at a discounted price (he was still getting his paychecks from the Washington Wizards per the amnesty agreement while in Brooklyn). Those two years reinvigorated his career. He was in double-figures despite not playing more than 25 minutes a night and it was thought that he would be highly sought after in the free agent market in 2014. But instead, Blatche went a different route.

Blatche declined his $1.43 million player option in Brooklyn and tested the free agent market. But that test ended up landing him in China. And from there, he has never come back. Blatche signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal in China that season and many thought he was going to come back to the NBA after that time. Instead of coming back, Blatche stayed away, deciding to sign a three-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui team in China worth $7.5 million. And the contract he signed included no opt out to come back to the NBA. He has decided that his second chapter will stay away from America (for now) and that he will try to make his career elsewhere at this point. So far he is averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds over in China this year and he seems to be happy there. Beasley is the guy many talk about taking a look at, but Blatche could probably help a team more than him (provided he is in shape). The versatile big man can handle the basketball, shoot and has vision on the court to hit the open man. As far as Beasley, he can score but there is not much else he can do besides that. Beasley has always been a liability in his career and that is something that has hindered him, along with the other off-the-court issues. Blatche may fit in great, but he does not want to fit into the NBA anymore. He instead chooses to go the path less traveled, and take his talents overseas to make a living.

Beasley may be the name many are talking about, but Blatche is the guy that could help teams more right now. But as the years go by, his name will fade more and more from the NBA. Plenty will remember him for his flounders in Washington with he and JaVale McGhee beside each other. But many will forget that he righted himself in Brooklyn only to leave the NBA and not return. Now we will only see Blatche from a distance as he continues his career in China. It would have been interesting to see what he could have been if he signed to play in the NBA again. But we will probably never get to see that one happen again.

Here are some highlights from Blatche in China last season:

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