While I won’t be cheering for China to win the FIBA World Championships (have to stay loyal to America), I will be rooting for Yi Jianlian. He’s the star of the Chinese team since Yao Ming was unable to participate due to injury.
China has an extremely tough schedule in group C. First they face off against powerhouse Greece (one of the favorites to win gold), and later on they play an underrated Puerto Rico team. Basically, they need to beat Cote d’Ivoire and Russia just to make it onward to round two.
This is a great opportunity for Yi to gain valuable leadership skills and to play more aggresively. China needs him to score the ball at a high rate in order to win. Hopefully he can do just that, and carry over his improved skills to the NBA regular season.
On a separate note, Team USA didn’t even start today’s game against Spain with a true center. Instead, Lamar Odom filled that void. That means if McGee had made the squad, he might not have played even against the opponents Team USA will likely blow out. Of course, Coach K might opt to use Chandler more in the real games, but I’m getting the impression that he really, really wants to play small ball.