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DTL
05-01-2002, 07:44 PM
Scouts and GMs get their first look at potential top pick
By NANCY ARMOUR
AP Sports Writer
May 1, 2002


CHICAGO (AP) -- Yao Ming arrived in a black stretch limousine, a crowd of people waiting to catch a glimpse. A collective ``ooh'' went up when he walked into the gym, ducking his head so he wouldn't bump into the concrete doorway.

Inside, 65 NBA scouts, coaches and team officials were waiting, including Miami coach Pat Riley, New Jersey Nets general manager Rod Thorn and Washington Wizards assistant GM Rod Higgins. Another 200 people were up in the balcony, hanging over the railing to get a better look at the 7-foot-5 center from China.

It was not exactly a typical pre-draft workout Wednesday, but Yao is not a typical draft pick, either.

He is a once-in-a-generation player, a huge man with the skills of a smaller player, a giant with an air of mystery to him, a player who's been raved about since the 2000 Olympics but rarely seen outside of Asia.

``For a guy this size, he can shoot the ball. He has a wonderful feel for the game,'' said Jerry West, the Memphis Grizzlies new president of basketball operations. ``This is not a kid without talent. He has talent.''

Yao, who turns 22 in September, is widely viewed as the best player in China. Though the competition there isn't close to what he'll face in the NBA, he's seen as a franchise player who could be the top overall pick in the June 26 draft.

``Somebody with that kind of size and the basketball skills he has, are impressive,'' said former NBA coach P.J. Carlesimo, who ran the workout at Loyola University's Alumni Gym.

``The things that struck me (as weaknesses) are easier things than the things you have to teach.''

Dressed in white shorts with red stripes and a white NBA jersey, his workout started with some light jogging and stretching drills. He wore a pair of blue-and-white Nikes with ``Yao 13'' on the sides.

Yao looked serious at first, but was soon joking with the three practice players: Oregon center Chris Christoffersen, Marquette guard Cordell Henry and Mitch Henderson, an assistant coach at Northwestern who played at Princeton.

P.J. Carlesimo put the players through almost an hour of shooting and running drills, doing just about everything except playing a game. They took 15-footers and jump hooks. There were full-court layups with and without a defender. There were pick-and-rolls and post-ups.

Yao dunked and blocked a few shots, swatting one of Christoffersen's layups into the corner of the gym. He moved well, and had a smooth, outside shot that looked more fitting of a shooting guard.

``The way he shot the ball from outside, that was something,'' Christoffersen said. ``He's kind of like a Dirk Nowitzki, but maybe a little slower. He can definitely be that type of player.''

Yao wasn't that quick -- the flight from China two days earlier might have had something to do with that, though -- and his defense was a little shaky. He got posted-up by the 7-foot-1 Christoffersen, and Henry made a couple of jumpers over him.

Still, most NBA personnel left impressed.

``I like his size. I like his skill level, his ability to pass and shoot and dribble the basketball,'' said Stu Jackson, NBA vice president. ``I especially liked his footwork. He's been taught some things in the post area that are fundamentally sound.''

Though he was accompanied by a translator, Yao didn't talk to the media after his workout. Instead an NBA spokeswoman passed around a written statement from him.

``It's been a dream of mine to play in the NBA ever since the first time I saw a game on TV many years ago,'' Yao said. ``To almost touch that dream today fills me with a sense of joy that words simply cannot describe.''

One thing Yao needs to do is improve his strength, particularly in his upper body. Listed at 236 pounds, his legs looked solid but his arms aren't very muscular.

He will take a physical Thursday to be measured and weighed.

``That remains to be seen,'' West said when asked how good Yao can be. ``I don't think it's a roll of the dice, because there will be a place for him in the NBA.''

grbh
05-01-2002, 08:26 PM
Here si a link to some video of Yao's practice today. He has a pretty smooth stroke.

Yao Ming Video (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/highlights/video#)

DTL
05-01-2002, 09:04 PM
I loved the dunk, when he barely had to leave the floor i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif -- Why can't Bradley dunk like that?!

OzMavs
05-01-2002, 10:26 PM
Its hard to take much from a video, but he certainly looks to have all the weapons.

I guess it is just a matter of developing strength. I hope that the strength does not come at the cost of his fg %, didn't he go 21-21 not too long ago?

grbh
05-01-2002, 11:43 PM
True the video is very limited, but I will say his game is smoother than any other 7'5 guy I have seen.

Think of Bradley, Muresean, adn Bol. None of them could do what Ming can. I am not saying he is the next dominate center, but I can see a reason to get excited by him.

Hell I would have never thought he was 7'5.

MavKikiNYC
05-02-2002, 07:27 AM
<< Why can't Bradley dunk like that?! >>



Even at 7.6, it's tough to dunk from the bench.

nekked
05-02-2002, 02:05 PM
if you remember some of the video of bradley playing in college, he looked like that. he'd rebound, go out on the break, get the ball on the wing and dunk. the problem is, when you put people out there who aren't standing in awe and are trying to kill him, its a different story. bradley's a different story than bol or muresan - he's much more athletic, more like sampson, but without the skill. bradley can't dunk when he's inside cause he's got the worst footwork ever. he tries to set himself and jump - and that's when he falls over.

TheKid
05-02-2002, 02:21 PM
And no one remembers this, I can recall EVERYONE talking about how great Bradley's touch was when he was coming into College. Remember he was runner up in the 3 POINT CONTEST in the McDonald's All-American game!!! All of that means nothing until you lace them up and get out on the NBA court, until then, I won't believe Yao is as great as people believe he is. Do I think he has talent, yes, do I think he can be good, YES, but do I think he's the savior for the Dallas Mavericks NO!

MavKikiNYC
05-02-2002, 02:39 PM
Thanks Kid and Nekkid.

I was thinking about how Bradley was marketed going into his draft, and wondered if I was just hallucinating memories.

Ming is settling in as a New Milennium Rik Smits, I think.

TheKid
05-02-2002, 03:56 PM
Now if he becomes a Rik Smits, that wouldn't be bad. Rik Smits was good and you could win with Smits so if that's who he turns out to be, that would be a good thing in my opinion.

DTL
05-02-2002, 04:31 PM
I think I read somewhere that one of the numerous conditions on YM's being drafted is the team that takes him has to send one of its &quot;top twelve&quot; players to the Shanghai Sharks. Is that still true?

Hoopsmeister
05-02-2002, 04:39 PM
<< I think I read somewhere that one of the numerous conditions on YM's being drafted is the team that takes him has to send one of its &quot;top twelve&quot; players to the Shanghai Sharks. Is that still true? >>



Well there was certainly a quote from Sharks management to that effect--though it was that the team would send one of their top 12 players over to help teach the Sharks. In the offseason, we are not talking about giving up a player during the season--at least its not that ridiculous.

Drbio
05-03-2002, 08:23 PM
Even at 7.6, it's tough to dunk from the bench.

hahahaha

grbh
05-03-2002, 10:48 PM
Hey get lost Dr. Bio. I thought you were going on vacation or something.

This post disrupts my evil plan to start my own thread one night and post upon it 3000 times. Oh yes I will catch you

OK probably not.

DTL
05-04-2002, 12:31 PM
<< Well there was certainly a quote from Sharks management to that effect--though it was that the team would send one of their top 12 players over to help teach the Sharks. In the offseason, we are not talking about giving up a player during the season--at least its not that ridiculous. >>



Hoops - Thanks for the clarification. I was beginning to imagine, say, Travis Best or Mark Jackson wearing a Sharks jersey next year....

DTL
05-04-2002, 12:34 PM
<< Hey get lost Dr. Bio. I thought you were going on vacation or something. >>



Be nice now, grbh. Don't you find you inspiring that the Doc can't stay away from the board and would sacrifice his vacation to make a claim to the top poster spot?

Drbio
05-04-2002, 04:25 PM
grbh- lol


As it turns out...I will be here for the game today. I received some pretty cool news which I will probably share soon, but suffice it to say it was good enough for me to cancel my trip to Oklahoma next week and come home sooner than expected.

DTL
05-04-2002, 04:42 PM
<< As it turns out...I will be here for the game today. I received some pretty cool news which I will probably share soon, but suffice it to say it was good enough for me to cancel my trip to Oklahoma next week and come home sooner than expected. >>



OMG. Doc is the mystery lottery winner from last week! Congrats! i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

Drbio
05-04-2002, 04:56 PM
I wish. If I won the lottery I would buy all the best posters in here playoff tix for every game in a private section. It's nice to dream.....