NBA

NBA Rumors: Lakers to give Yi Jianlian major role, minutes in new NBA season

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Photo courtesy: Derral Chen/Wikimedia Commons

The Los Angles Lakers are not expected to win many games in the 2016-2017 NBA Season. But one prediction claims that free agent acquisition Yi Jianlian will have a good season in his return to the NBA.

According to Gil Alcaraz IV of Hoops Habit, he expects Yi to have a nice contribution for the rebuilding Lakers squad.

“Realistically, Jianlian has all of the tools to be a quality big man for the Lakers. It also helps that unrealistic expectations and a starting role aren’t being heaped on him. As we’ve seen during the preseason, the plan is to bring him along slowly. That, however, may work out in his favor,” the NBA analyst wrote.

“He’s got excellent range, size and athleticism, which should bode well for the Lakers if he’s used right. [Head coach Luke] Walton is a smart guy, and should find a way to turn this bust into a pleasant surprise.”

Yi will have to battle to gain minutes in Walton’s fast-paced offense with the likes of young guys Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and veteran Luol Deng all sharing the forward position.

But the Lakers plan to bring Ingram slowly as well so Yi will have his chance as one of the veterans of the team.

Yi Jianlian played well in his last FIBA international tournament at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. The Chinese big man led his team in scoring with 20.4 points per game.

Yi Jianlian was a first round draft pick or sixth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2007 NBA Draft but was considered a bust in the NBA.

Photo courtesy: Derral Chen/Wikimedia Commons

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