Yi Jianlian is a 7’0” power forward and is considered the best Chinese prospect since Yao Ming. He’s far more athletic than Yao, running the court with speed and fluidity. He can also jump, and often finishes his drives with powerful, rim-rattling dunks. For a big man, his post moves are somewhat limited, but he has a very good turnaround jumper that makes him a capable post scorer. He has strong legs, but his upper body is in need of some serious work in the weight room.
He will probably play power forward in the NBA and would fit best on a team that likes to run like the Suns or Warriors. Since that type of play is becoming more common in the NBA, Jianlian has become a very hot prospect. He is projected to be a top ten pick in this year’s draft and some pundits say that he’s the third best prospect after Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.
There is, however, some concern over his real age. His birth year is officially listed as 1987, but there are rumors swirling that he was really born in 1984 or 1985. If that’s the case, he could be as young as 19 or as old as 22. That’s a big swing in terms of upside as players generally improve a lot during those three years.
The premier NBA Draft site breaks down Jianlian’s strengths and weaknesses.
DraftExpress.com provides an extensive scouting report Jianlian well as regular updates of his progress.
Currently quite brief, this site should develop into a great source for all things Yi Jianlian.
ESPN Draft Card
ESPN lays out Jianlian’s strengths and weaknesses. (Insider subscription required.)
The music is kind of odd, but this four-minute highlight reel shows what Jianlian can do. Be sure to also check out this clip of Jianlian matched up with Pau Gasol in international competition as well as this montage of his top ten dunks.
Two days with Yi Jianlian, the lottery's mystery man
Chad Ford discusses the two days he spent watching Jianlian work out in Los Angeles.
Yi Jianlian: Moving on up
Hoopsvibe profiles Jianlian.
Yi Jianlian – Big strides
This NBADraft.net article from 2004 profiles Jianlian.
Quotes about Quotes about Yi Jianlian
“I spent two days watching Yi work out in Los Angeles and walked away convinced that he's the third-best prospect (see the Top 100), ranking immediately behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant...For Yi to maximize his potential, he needs to be drafted by a team that's committed to developing him the same way Houston was with Yao Ming.” – Chad Ford, ESPN
“Where he gets picked on draft night will greatly depend on who falls in love with his potential. He will need a big adjustment in his defensive game from what he’s displaying in the CBA to what will be required in the NBA. Still, he seems a smart kid, and if he puts enough effort, he shouldn’t have troubles in the long run. Offensively, he will start as a pure role player, which should make things easier for him.” - Luis Fernández, DraftExpress
“I'm not talking nonsense, I think that Little Yi will one day be better than me...Look at his build, his jumping ability, I don't have that at all. If he can continue to develop in the right way, he will be able to surpass my achievements...Little Yi, he will rise, without a doubt.” - Yao Ming