David Thorpe: Yi Jianlian Best Rookie So Far

November, 15, 2007
11/15/07
10:46
AM ET

Kevin Durant has the PR battle won, but ESPN's Thorpe says Yi has been the more effective player so far:

As documented in a previous column, KD has a rare set of gifts, and he is the best 19-year-old player on Earth. But he does indeed play like a 19-year-old, looking like a kid in a candy store whose father is letting him eat whatever he wants.

His propensity to shoot 3s has not lessened since opening night, but his overall efficiency has. Perhaps Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo figures allowing Durant to run wild now (and lose often) will help him learn how to better value shots and possessions later (anyone remember "Brewster's Millions"?).

He may be right, but even Carlesimo must wonder where the killer from Texas went, the guy who destroyed his opponents on the boards and on defense, too. Right now, he is shooting everything in sight (38.2 field goal percentage), while Yi is choosing wisely and building confidence along the way.

Here's video of the kinds of things Yi has been doing.

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