Career: Guangdong (China-CBA, 2001-06).
Yi Jianlian has long been considered the next big prospect from China. He revealed himself in 2003, at the early age of 16, at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Greece, leading his team with 18.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He has been under the radar of the NBA since that competition and has to live with the pressure. He debuted in the CBA in 2002-03 with the Guangdong Tigers and won the Rookie of the Year award.
His excellent combination of size and athleticism as a 7-footer, and his decent strength, permitted him to dominate the CBA this season, averaging 20.5 points and 9.6 rebounds and being named MVP. With the Tigers, he won the last three CBA titles. He made his debut with the National Team at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, playing alongside Yao Ming.