When Chinese power forward Yi Jianlian was announced as the 6th pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in Thursday night's NBA Draft, the 7-footer wasn't smiling. Yi Jianlian and his representatives had made it known before the draft that he wanted to play in a city with a strong Asian influence. Milwaukee obviously is not that.
Yi is not traveling to Milwaukee today for the traditional post-draft news conference. It's uncertain whether he'll ever play in Milwaukee. Bucks General Manager Larry Harris said he expects Jianlian to be in a Bucks uniform next season. Yi himself told a national television reporter that he thought he would be with the Bucks.
But that doesn't mean Jianlian will follow through and the Bucks may be forced to trade him or force him to sit out of the NBA until he agrees to do his time with the Bucks.
Jianlian averaged 24.9 points and 11.5 rebounds a game in the Chinese Basketball Association last season.
Larry Harris also said contrary to reports, the Bucks have seen Yi play 20 times in the last four years and were quite aware of his game.