Yao Ming, the most famous basketball star around the world. The best offensive center in the game when healthy, maybe even the best overall. He averaged 19.7 points, 9.9 boards and 1.9 blocks in the 2008-2009 season. Coming off of serious foot surgery he will be held to minute restrictions and other types of small details. His stats will definitely go down, but will his production?
Yao in his career has averaged 19.1 points, 9.3 boards and 1.9 blocks, pretty good huh? He has averaged 32.7 minutes per game in his career as well. Well Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported Keith Jones (the Rockets atheltic trainer and vice president) said Yao would play 24 and only 24 minutes throughout the regular season. He also said "If Yao has played his 24 minutes and the Rockets have the ball and eight seconds on the clock to make up a one-point deficit, Yao will not play those eight seconds." Very strict limits for Yao, the Rockets will do their best to ensure he is healthy throughout the season.
OK, that's fine and dandy and all but how good is he actually going to be? I mean he's coming off of one of the worst injuries a big man can get. Well think of this, you know that one guy Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Yeah well he had the exact same surgery as Yao ten years ago. "Z" has put up basically the same stats he had before the surgery seven years after the surgery. While Yao's skill level is higher than Z's I expect him to do much of the same Z did. Yao is only three inches taller and much younger than Z.
So Yao will be playing three fourths less minutes than the 2008-2009 season. Divide his stats by three fourths you get around 15 points, 7 boards and a block per game. But I wouldn't expect him to average that mainly because it should affect his play a little. Probably closer to 12 points and 6 boards or something like that. Still not that bad for a guy coming off major foot surgery. Even if not averaging the best stats ever his presence will make a huge difference on defense. I mean how many of you want to run into a seven foot six man? He will stop some of the easy layups opponents got last year on six foot six Chuck Hayes.
Well only time will tell how Yao does. Either way it will definitely be exciting to see one of the best centers in the game come back. Post comment below telling me if you agree or disagree with my predictions. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it!