Euro hoops is no stranger to a summertime talent drain, but this year something feels different. On top of the familiar predators of the NBA coming for all the juiciest talent, now GMs across Euroleague’s elite have to contend with the new coming power - China.
Your common-or-garden, no conscience bucket-getter has long been tempted by the easy money, optional practice environment offered by the bright lights of the Chinese Basketball Association, but now real, actual basketball players like Aaron Jackson (Beijing Ducks) and Keith Langford (Shenzhen Leopards) have crossed over. Baskonia’s Final Four standout Darius Adams won the championship and Finals MVP with Xinjiang Flying Tigers in 2016/17.
What was a trickle - a Miroslav Raduljica here, a Maciej Lampe there - feels like it’s on the cusp of being huge.
ELA founder Nick Gibson has landed an assistant coach gig in China with the Hebei Dragons of the second-tier NBL, via NBA scouting, naturally. Who better to clue us in on what the heck is going on over there and what it means for Euroleague and beyond?
We harked back to the old-school Give-the-American-the-rock ethos of CBA hoops and let Nick run wild with it. It’s a long one, but we think you’ll enjoy the results. Here are some of the topics we hit:
- Nick’s journey from ELA to the NBA to coaching in China
- How the CBA is changing from its American scorer-dominated past
- Will young draft prospects follow Emmanuel Mudiay and Gerschon Yabusele to develop in China?
- The changing profile of import players in the CBA - just getting buckets won’t cut it
- Money, travel and conditions for players up and down the league compared to the NBA and Europe
- The Shang Ping Experience
- The slowly changing philosophy of developing Chinese players and their role on a team
- Will the CBA ever allow more import players?
- Smog, rain delays inside the arena, and - of course - food
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