About a year ago, I seem to recall that the CW had sort of settled on the idea that Yao Ming was “overrated.” Not that he was actually overrated as such, but he was super-famous and people felt his game didn’t live up to that hype or to his high draft status. In fact, at the time he was already a very good player. But since then he has, without a lot of attention, become, well, totally awesome. In the 25 games he played after the All-Star break last season he averaged 25.7 points (on 53.7 field goal shooting), 11.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. So far this year, he’s averaging 27.3 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1.9 assists on 59 percent field goal shooting with a 88 percent free throw shooting. And unlike a lot of guys who’ve been great out-of-the-gate this year, based on his performance in the second half of last season there’s very good reason to think he can sustain it season-long.
Thanks to the way he dominated Shaq (who, to be fair, has been a shadow of his former self for some time now) last night, I don’t think this is going to be going unnoticed much longer.