Alongside Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, probably the most interesting player in this year’s draft is Yi Jianlian — a seven foot tall Chinese perimeter player whose abilities are basically impossible to evaluate since nobody knows much about how to project based on performance playing in China. At any rate, he and his team are acting oddly:
Both his agent, Dan Fegan, and the Chinese government want to make sure Yi lands on the “right” team. So Yi will work out for only a few select teams.
Yi’s Orlando maneuver means that the other teams in the league won’t even have the results of a physical to look at, which might further discourage them from draft Yi.
Don’t be shocked if Golden State or Chicago finds a way to move up and grab Yi. They seem to be the two “approved” teams most interested.
There’s obviously a certain logic to this, but I’d really hate to see this sort of thing become standard operating procedure for top draft prospects. Already, I feel like the league is full of players complaining about their situations who need to learn that it’s not possible for everyone to be on an elite team.