About a month after the first rumors surfaced that the Los Angeles Lakers signed Yi Jianlian to a complicated, highly incentive-based contract, the Chinese big man finally met with the media for the first time. It was a big moment for him.
“I feel excited, especially to play for a city and a team with a name all over the world,” Jianlian told Serena Winters of Lakers Nation after working out in front of the media. Jianlian could be seen on social media draining threes during the public session, something he’ll need to do to stretch the floor in his minutes for the Lakers.
That’s true whether he’s getting minutes at power forward or center, a decision he told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News the Lakers coaching staff hasn’t made yet.
With Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. on the roster, plus new signing Luol Deng’s best minutes coming at the four last season, it would seem to make the most sense for Yi to spend most of his time as a center. His lack of lateral quickness defensively will also be less exposed at that spot, so it’s probably safe to assume that’s where he’ll end up there for the majority of his playing time.
Via Winters’ and the Lakers’ Snapchat accounts, here is some video of Yi knocking down some threes:
And another thr-Yi, courtesy of Shahan Ahmed of NBC LA:
Yi Jianlian made the next one too. Will definitely help stretch the floor. Via my Snapchat (UN: Stillbreeze) pic.twitter.com/6TcEh4Qd5C— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) September 16, 2016
Jianlian will wear number 11 for the Lakers, so prepare to see plenty of dad jokes like this one this season:
September 16, 2016
It remains to be seen how big of a role Jianlian will play for Los Angeles, and it will be interesting to watch his battle to carve out minutes during training camp over the next few weeks.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.