Yao becoming elite big man
[ 2006-11-22 09:08 ]
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming of China (R)
grabs a rebound in front of Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace
(L) and Rockets forward Shane Battier (C) during the first half of
their NBA game in Auburn Hills, Michigan, November 18,
Bill Walton first saw Yao Ming six years ago, at
the Sydney Olympics. Like everyone else gaping at the 7-foot-5 prodigy,
Walton said, "I was blown away
by the potential."
In his fifth season, Yao is blowing people away more than ever.
He is 11th in the league with 26.4 points per game, the best among
centers. With 10.4 rebounds per game and 1.6 blocks, Yao finally is entering the
stratosphere of elite big men.
At a time when the center position
is in serious decline in a sport that has given us Bill Russell, Wilt
Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon,, Yao's only peer,
Shaquille O'Neal, will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after knee surgery
O'Neal's slow start in defending the Miami Heat's championship, coupled
with the inevitable breakdown of his 34-year-old, 315-pound body, have
some projecting that Yao, 26, could overtake Shaq as the only dominant
Some say Yao's time is now.
But according to Walton, league executives, and scouts, Yao Ming is not
the best center in the NBA.
Not yet. Not as long as Shaq is still employed.
"Yao's numbers already indicate that he is at the top," said Walton, a
Hall of Fame center turned ESPN analyst. "But he has to learn how to turn
statistics into impact and control of the game. Because even at this stage
of Shaq's career, Shaq still has more stage presence than any player in
the game. "
block : 盖帽