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Can “Linsanity” sweep CBA to bring Beijing back to glory?

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BEIJING (Xinhua) – Following an intriguing nine-year stint in NBA mostly as a role player, Jeremy Lin opened a new chapter in career in the Chinese league with his move to the Beijing Ducks during the offseason.

Formerly dubbed “Linsanity” for his unexpected blowout performance in February, 2012, Lin lived up to his expectation since joining Beijing by scoring 40 points in his debut in a CBA preseason game.

“My goal and the team’s goal are the same. I’m coming here to touch my upper limit in CBA every day. I want to help the team to win more games,” the 31-year-old said.

Lin is expected to improve shooting performance of Beijing who were crowned three times in four years from the 2011-12 season, and can attack the basket more as a point guard with his dribbling ability.

After losing the quarterfinals to the Shenzhen Aviators last season, Beijing kept Justin Hamilton while recruiting another post player Ekpe Udoh as a reserve to protect the rim.

Injury can become a big factor to decide Beijing’s destiny in the upcoming season. Key domestic duo Zhai Xiaochuan and Zhu Yanxi failed to perform at full level due to injuries last season, and Ji Zhe missed the entire season through a knee injury. Keeping the team healthy weighs much for Beijing.

Fans can expect more drama in the Beijing derby in the new season as Stephon Marbury, who won all his three CBA titles with the Beijing Ducks, took charge of the Beijing Royal Fighters. Former Beijing Ducks’ guard Sun Yue also joined the Royal Fighters, who selected Wang Shaojie as the top draft pick.

As the nine-time CBA winners, Guangdong are the team to beat. They will embrace challenges from old rivals Liaoning and Xinjiang in defending titles.

Yi Jianlian will be the driving force of the Guangdong Southeast Tigers in marching on to another CBA title.

Yi celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday. Witnessing his performance at the FIBA Basketball World Cup on home soil, few people doubt his leading role in the current Guangdong squad.

Guangdong have undergone a rebuilding process in bringing up more young players in recent seasons. As a veteran player alongside Yi, Zhou Peng, who missed the FIBA World Cup due to foot injury, is someone to rely on, especially in terms of his contribution in defense.

Lester Hudson’s departure was the most significant move for Liaoning. The club recruited Lance Stephenson who now shoulders the responsibility to help Liaoning to win its second CBA title after Liaoning’s first title in 2018.

Liaoning can boost their chance of contending for glory with center Han Dejun’s return from injury, and hinge hugely on performance of their star point guards Guo Ailun and Zhao Jiwei.

Xinjiang center Zhou Qi, who was widely criticized for his below-par performance after the FIBA World Cup, seemed to be back to shape as the season approaches, and his dominance in the paint was pivotal to Xinjiang in both ends.

The Zhejiang Lions, having reached the finals in the 2017-18 season, is looking to become the eighth champion in CBA’s 24-year history as young players Hu Jinqiu and Zhao Yanhao have become more mature on court under the charge of experienced coach Li Chunjiang.

With talented player Shen Zijie in the paint, the Shenzhen Aviators are the other side that should not be overlooked as potential title contenders of CBA’s 25th season commenced by Friday’s contention between Guangdong and Liaoning.

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