Back in the summer of 2006, we began The Yi Movement here at Golden State of Mind calling for the Golden State Warriors to take Yi Jianlian in the 2007 NBA Draft.
At that time things were especially dark for the Warriors. They appeared to be heading into the 2006-2007 NBA season going nowhere x13. Here's a sample of the many lowlights from last summer:
- After two brutal seasons it looked like Mike Montgomery, probably the league's worst coach at the time, was staying on as the head coach of the Warriors.
- Murph-leavy's charmin soft production was on the books for several more years at the going rate for star players in the NBA.
- Chris Mullin and Rod Higgins had shown no evidence that they could run a competent NBA front office. They made one foolish decision after another and created the league's biggest old boy network in the Warriors' front office.
- Baron was cranky and broken parts.
- Adonal Foyle... well, we all love the guy, but not for anything he does on the court or his awful contract.
- The Warriors selected Patrick O'Bryant with the 9th pick in the draft despite already having a roster saturated with projects (Ike Diogu, Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Chris Taft- shoot even Mike Dunleavy and Adonal Foyle). This season Project O'Bryant had the notorious distinction of being the first ever NBA lottery pick to be demoted to the D-League.
- The Dubs took Kosta Perovic with their 2nd round pick over Bay Area favorite Leon Powe. Perovic played the same number of minutes for the Warriors this season as Gilbert Arenas' jersey number.
- Calbert Cheaney was retiring. Okay that's a joke, but thankfully Sarunas Jasikevicius stepped up big time in the cheerleading department this season to replace C-double.
- Chris Cohan was (and still is) the worst owner in all of professional sports.
The Bay Area needed something to root for in this sorry Warrior bunch and the Warriors' front office needed some major help scouting and drafting. At the time it looked like the only thing that could save us from Chris Cohan's toxic waste dump x13 was something big, something major.
We needed The Yi Movement.
They call him... DUNK-SHAKER!
- If the Warriors couldn't scout prospects well, we were here to help them.
- If the Warriors were going to make random, ill-advised draft picks at least select a Chinese balla that would be wildly popular in the Bay Area even in the unlikely scenario he was a bust.
- The GSoM community was bumping in the Bay Area, but it was time for us to go global. Another billion new GSoMers would be fun!
But as you all know things didn't exactly go suck x13.
- First and foremost the Warriors didn't suck. They had a season for the ages. I know I'll never forget it.
- Nellie returned.
- Monta was awarded the NBA's Most Improved Player.
- The curse was ended.
- The Dubs shocked the world and convincingly beat the team many pinned as the best in the entire league.
And with that late season and playoff bang the Warriors bowed out of the NBA Draft Lottery. It was about time!
Yi's Moving On Up
Since that original July 5, 2006 GSoM Yi manifesto, our little secret here at Golden State of Mind has blown up like Charles Barkley's waistline post-retirement. Yi Jianlian has moved up the charts faster than talentless rappers from the South on the Billboard sales in the 2000's. ESPN.com's Chad Ford (the NBA's version of Mel Kiper) even dedicated a full scouting report to Yi on the worldwide leader's website:
Where Yi lies on the Greg Oden - Kevin Durant continuum:
Yi's hoops influences:
Yi's sweet J:
After a brief warm-up, Yi began his shooting drills. He rarely missed. He got great elevation on his picture-perfect jump shot -- high release, elbow in, nothing but net from both inside and outside the 3-point line.
Nevada's Nick Fazekas, a draft prospect known for his shooting stroke, followed suit on the set shots, but started to lose ground to Yi once the players moved to shooting off the dribble. For Fazekas, the accuracy started to waver a bit. The needle didn't move for Yi.
Yi's got hops:
As Yi finished at the rim, his elbow was often at or just below the rim.
Whether he kissed the ball high off the glass or finished with a dunk, his explosion off the floor was impressive. Not impressive like Tyrus Thomas, mind you. But for a 7-footer, he could really explode.
Yi's fine taste in movies:
Yi! MTV Raps:
Also check out these lines on Yi from Bruce Jenkins [SFGate]:
Now that the entire hoops world has stopped sleeping on Yi and the Warriors are slotted for the 18th spot in the 1st round of the 2007 NBA Draft it looks like there's a slim to none chance that Yi will be coming to the Bay as a True Warrior this summer.
We Believe Playoff and that actually did happen, so let's stay positive. We Believe Yi.
Most importantly so do the Warriors according to Chad Ford [ESPN]:
Here's a few ways the Warriors could defy the odds and fulfill The Yi Movement and bring Yi Jianlian to the Yay Area:
Don Nelson works his magic with Yi, China, and his agent Dan Fegan (yes, that same agent who punked the Warriors into handing Troy Murphy and Erick Dampier those ridiculous contracts and who will be representing Matt Barnes this summer) and works out a pre-draft day deal. Chris Mullin worked out such an agreement with Andris Biedrins a few years back.
The Warriors trade Monta Ellis to the Atlanta Hawks who need someone to man the point for the #3 pick and nab Yi.
The Warriors fleece the Celtics in a draft day deal and snag the #5 pick. Hmmm, how about a blockbuster deal involving Adonal Foyle and Paul Pierce as the main parts? (Yes, I do believe the Celtics' "braintrust" Danny Ainge is just that dumb. In Boston GM = General Moron.)
Yi, his family, his agent, and the Chinese government realize that for international players making the jump to the NBA it's all about fit (e.g. Yao's situation with the Rockets vs Darko's with Larry "Drama Queen" Brown and the Detroit Pistons). There's no better fit for Yi than the Bay Area and the Golden State Warriors with this hyphy edition of Nellieball. Yee! Yee! (By the way, there's no worse fit for Yi than the Boston Celtics. An incompetent front office + a location that's not exactly a multicultural hotspot on par with the Bay Area + an obnoxious, whiny local media + unreal expectations + losing culture + a young kid from China learning the ropes = disaster.)
- The hoops gods realize that the GSoM community's been showing the man love since day one. Straight up, we can't wake up to Yi in the Bay like rest of NBA nation- we were NEVER sleeping.
You just never know might happen come June 28th...
Do you see any possible way the Warriors can fulfill The Yi Movement or is our fun hypefest over?
Are we saying goodbye to The Movement?
Say it ain't so!
Some notable recent Yi talk from around the web:
- Two days with Yi Jianlian, the lottery's mystery man [ESPN Insider]
- Where will Yi land? [ESPN Insider]
- China's Rock Star [ESPN]
- International Man Of Mystery [CelticsBlog]
- Yi Jianlian [NBA Draft Blog]
- Draft Preview Picks: Yi Jian Lian [Hooplah.. Nation]
- Yi is 22? [CelticsBlog]
- Yi Jianlian Is Chad Ford's New International Crush [Fanhouse]
- How Old is Yi Jianlian? [Fanhouse]
- To Yi or not to Yi, That is the Hawks Draft Question [Impending Firestorm]
- Maybe This Will Work Out [RedsArmy]
- With The 5th Pick.... [RedsArmy]
- In Orlando: Source Says C's Sold on Yi Jianlian [HoopsWorld]
- Movin' On Up? [Depressed Fan]
Will this GSoM web pin be the equivalent of a Penny Hardaway or Vince Carter Warriors' jersey?