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.