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Do You Believe in Yi?

On today's ESPN Daily Dime NBA analyst David Thorpe calls Yi Jianlian of The Yi Movement fame the "best rookie to date" even considering Kevin Durant and says Yi "plays like a veteran". The movement has come a long way my friends- and yes it does seem like this has become my favorite topic when the Warriors are stinking up the joint more than George Mureşan's cologne (MUST SEE YouTUBE clip by the way).

It ain't Yi-zy being Yi!

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Here's more of Thorpe's take on Yi:

Yi's play has been both surprising and inspiring. Surprising in that no one has a bigger cultural change to adjust to, yet Yi looks like he's been an NBA pro for years. He has a clear plan for success and has executed that plan with discipline and talent.

Yi has an excellent shooting stroke (though a base that is too wide oftentimes) with range beyond the 3-point line. Yet, he has done a terrific job of spotting up inside the line and taking higher percentage shots, making 43.8 percent. Eventually he will choose to take the 3 over the long 2 more frequently, but his plan of easing into the NBA game and trying to experience more success early is right on.

What I love about Yi's offensive game is his versatility and mental acuity. In a series of plays, we will see him post up and back his guy down, face up in the midpost, slash to an opening inside, go glass, and play off the ball beautifully. And he does all of it with passion and purpose.

His agility for a guy his size is impressive, as is his "smoothness" as an athlete, but he also has a fire around the rim (averaging 6.9 boards per game) that will serve him well for years. That fire helps him on defense, too, where he has blocked at least one shot in all but two games so far, with multiple blocks in four. Watching him play leaves me wondering: What kind of numbers would he be putting up if he were playing in Seattle? He's averaging 11 ppg in Milwaukee.

Sounds like a player the Warriors could use right now, particularly for rebounding and shotblocking. Haha well I guess even Chris Gatling at the age of 40 could help the un-undefeated Warriors right now.

It really makes you wonder what would've happened if the Warriors fulfilled the Yi Movement this season. Chris Mullin went to scout him in China last year and the Warriors were heavily rumored to be in the running for the athletic Chinese big man's services (see linkfest after the jump). Just like with K to the G you can't really blame them for not trying.

For the 1st 7 games I'm guessing the Warriors lineup would look something like:

PG: Baron Davis
SG: Kelenna Azubuike
SF: Al Harrington
PF: Yi Jianlian
C: Andris Biedrins

Bench Rotation: Matt Barnes, Monta Ellis, Mickael Pietrus

And with Captain Jack S(tephen)parrow on board ship for game 8:

PG: Baron Davis
SG: Stephen Jackson
SF: Al Harrington
PF: Yi Jianlian
C: Andris Biedrins

Bench Rotation: Kelenna Azubuike (or maybe he's a starter and Al or Yi have the 6th man role), Matt Barnes, Monta Ellis, Mickael Pietrus

Who knows whether the Warriors would still be 0-6 with Easy Yi on board, but it sure would've been fun to enjoy the doughnut start with over 1 billion more die hard Warriors fans. It's honestly way too early to say how Yi's NBA career will pan out, but right now it looks like he's going to be both worthy of that 6th pick (Yi- please don't make me look like a fool!) and the 1.5 year long GSoM Yi Movement hype, jokes, science, and drama (I laughed, I cried, etc, etc).

Check this piece from Chad Ford's ESPN chat this morning as well:

Phu, Indianapolis, IN: Yi is better than Durant?

Chad Ford: I don't think so ... but in the early going he's been better. But he's also several years older. And, he also had much less pressure and way more support. Durant is trying to do everything in Seattle. Yi is a complimentary player. But with that said, I think all of the talk about Yi being a bust was a bigger case of xenophobia than actually basketball scouting. It was clear he had the tools, size and athleticism to be good. He was ranked No. 4 on our big board at the end of the season. I'd stick with that. Oden, Durant and Al Horford were ranked ahead. Unless Oden is never healthy, I think those 4 will be the best of the class.


Ya digg Yi? By the way where all the Yi Movement haters at now?

(You'll want to turn off your speakers for this one...)

[via TrueHoop - sinobball]

Throwing it down so Yi-sily.
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Yi Sage at GSoM:

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