Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Same old Yao
Yao has fouled out of the last two World Championship games. China was blown out by USA and lost an overtime squeaker to Puerto Rico. While Yao displayed his sweet stroke and fine offensive arsenal, at the defensive end he continues to foul at an alarming rate, for reasons I explained way back in 2004 here. His foul trouble and early exit midway through the 4th quarter cost China the Puerto Rico game. Someone must get through to him and his exceedingly dumb coaches in China and Houston that, for Yao, playing smart defense is not about creating countless collisions with offensive players. It’s about using his decent mobility and agility to, as a general rule, avoid body-to-body contact as a help defender while using his exceptional length and active hands to block or bother shots.

So, Yao, here is your goal for 2006-07: get your fouling rate down to one per 13 minutes. Do that and you’ll average 38 minutes, 28 points and 10.5 rebounds, and you'll make everybody in Houston very, very happy. It all starts with tuning out your coaches.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger laura said...

his main problem, ironically, is that he's so coachable. that's supposed to be a good quality, but i guess in this case, it's a huge disadvantage. his problem is that he had been listening to others for so long that he forgot to listen to himself.

maybe a chinese player after him will be better, since he'll probably give himself more permission to disobey authorities than yao ever did.

for too long, yao was rewarded for listening to authority. this can be a hard habit to break when authority proves to be wrong. i hear that the only way an american coach convinced him to finally dunk the ball was to punish his teammates--when yao saw how much they suffered, he finally made the mental leap to dunk.

of course, you can only use the "cultural factor" for so long. but wang zhi zhi's story serves as a cautionary tale to other chinese players who dare to freelance . it's sad, really. that's the reason wang made sure his son was born here in the u.s.--he didn't want china to have a claim on his son. he also lucked out in marrying a really rich and connected girlfriend.

don't know if you've read brooke larmer's book. you might just like it.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Dennis Hans said...

Well said and on the money, IMHO.

I'm pretty sure I skimmed through Larmer's interesting book and gleaned from it that Yao's poor coaching at the defensive end didn't begin in Houston. Alas, quite a few young, talented NBA bigs are getting no coaching or bad coaching or both simultaneously. Tyson Chandler, for example, seems to have been ignored or written off by Skiles and staff at the offensive end, and turned into a confused, non-athletic fouling machine at the defensive end.

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