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The Enigma of Yi

Every season that Yi Jianlian has been in the NBA, there seems to be a four-game stretch or two when he shows just what he is capable of.  Last season, there were two.  On returning from injury in December, he averaged 22.5 points  and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 54.1% over a four game stretch. There were left handed hooks and graceful moves in the post.  It was eye-opening.  Then at year's end, he had another four games where he averaged 17.5 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 52.0%. This time, it was more about rebounding and shot blocking.  He had 10 in four games. It was less satisfying than the first.  You could say frustrating, like his defense.

Ben Couch of the Nets quotes Yi's two biggest supporters on the team, as well as his teammates in a season-ending review.  Kiki Vandeweghe still believes in Yi, noting, "There’s always a ‘What about this…?’ Passing or doing something (else). The guy’s a player who has played half of two seasons and doesn’t have a lot of basketball background – I think he’s doing pretty well!"  Brett Yormark hopes he'll be around...for the obvious reasons. "As Yi has grown more popular, so has the Nets’ brand," Yormark says. "We are obviously his team, and I consider us China’s ‘home team,’ – and I hope that continues."  Will it continue is the question.  The Nets will no doubt target a power forward in free agency, meaning Yi will either have a new role or a new home.