Yi Jianlian to Lakers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 6: Carmelo Anthony of USA and Jianlian Yi of China look on during the group phase basketball match between USA and China on day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Yi Jianlian didn't live up to the star billing bestowed upon him when the Milwaukee Bucks selected him with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but the Chinese standout is headed back to the Association following four years abroad.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak announced his team signed the big man on the Lakers' website Monday: “We’re excited to have a player of his worldwide accomplishments. We look forward to bringing him to training camp and hopefully having him make an impact on our team.”

The team has not disclosed the terms of the deal.

Yi averaged just 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 40.4 percent from the field during his initial five-year stint in the NBA, but it wasn't stunning, considering he had to deal with dramatic changes nearly every year.

After the Bucks tabbed him as a potential franchise cornerstone in 2007, they dealt him to the New Jersey Nets the following summer before the Nets shipped him to the Washington Wizards in June 2010. 

A 30-game run with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012 proved to be the end of Yi's hectic first act, at which point he went back home and shined for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. 

Yi Jianlian's Regular-Season Stats in China
SeasonPPGRPGBPGFG%3P%
2012-1324.110.51.757.231.9
2013-1423.512.81.553.518.2
2014-1527.610.91.357.535.5
2015-1626.49.21.354.937.4
Source: RealGM

Yi earned CBA Domestic MVP honors four times, averaging 26.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the field and a career-best 37.4 percent from beyond the arc in his most recent campaign.

While those averages are unlikely to be sustainable in the NBA, Yi can focus on becoming a prototypical stretch 4 or 5 if he's able to maintain his solid shooting percentage from distance. 

Yi attempted a career-high 2.1 three-pointers per game last season after mustering 0.7 per contest the year prior. In other words, he's starting to feel increasingly comfortable taking triples in a modern niche. 

With the Lakers, Yi could fill that role for a frontcourt that is in desperate need of floor-stretchers. 

While the team padded its depth with center Timofey Mozgov, the bruising big man hardly puts pressure on defenses. Rather, he plays the role of a conventional center who is most effective as a rim-runner below the free-throw line and second-chance opportunist on the glass. 

Considering Julius Randle is still working to extend his range, Yi could serve as a low-risk flier who now has the pick-and-pop three-point chops to turn into a dependable nightly contributor.

His impact may never rival what many expected of him during the predraft process, but Yi may finally be in position to succeed in a defined NBA role. 

           

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and RealGM

Related

    Grizzlies Promote Bickerstaff to Full-Time HC on 3-Yr Deal

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Grizzlies Promote Bickerstaff to Full-Time HC on 3-Yr Deal

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Giannis' Legend Is Just Beginning

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Giannis' Legend Is Just Beginning

    Adam Fromal
    via Bleacher Report

    Lonzo Would've Picked LaVar's JBA League Instead of UCLA

    Los Angeles Lakers logo
    Los Angeles Lakers

    Lonzo Would've Picked LaVar's JBA League Instead of UCLA

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report