Sixers like what they see in Yi

Posted: June 20, 2007

The 76ers have seen Yi Jianlian in playoff competition in China. They have seen him in a workout venue in Carson, Calif. They have seen him in a social/business setting at the Los Angeles-area home of agent Dan Fegan. Where they will see the 6-11 forward go in the first round of the June 28 NBA draft remains an open question.

The point is, president/general manager Billy King, holding Nos. 12, 21 and 30 in the first round, felt it was critical to glean as much information as he could. It's not as if the Sixers had been invited to take one more look at a fascinating prospect; they asked for the opportunity.

"[It was a case of] just making sure we see him," King said yesterday during a conference call with reporters. "We've had conversations with other guys we may need to see, just making sure we cover all our bases. Draft night, guys move around. Teams make trades."

King said yesterday's whirlwind trip to Southern California was valuable, " 'cause you're able to see a lot more things than you can see in games. He showed some things we didn't see in a game . . . shooting three-pointers, handling the basketball, just actually seeing him run. We got to see some of the same testing we do . . . the shuttle runs and sprints, vertical jump, those things."

In essence, the Sixers' contingent, including senior vice president/assistant general manager Tony DiLeo and director of player personnel Courtney Witte, saw a workout at the Impact Basketball facility that was similar to those at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.


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"I thought he had a good workout," King said. "Watching him and seeing a lot of the guys we've seen, it's going to make for some great discussions."

King said he viewed Yi as a power forward rather than as a center, explaining that, "He's fluid. He moves a lot like a 3-man [small forward], but I think he has skills. He can post up, he can shoot like a guard. I think he'll only get stronger; the better competition he plays in, that strength will come."

Earlier this week, Yi told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I guess I'm tall, but I can run and get down and shoot the ball and sometimes post inside. I'm working on post moves. I'm getting stronger."

Yi averaged 24.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30.7 minutes playing this season for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association; his team lost in the championship series in five games to Bayi, led by former NBA player Wang Zhi-Zhi. Yi, the Most Valuable Player in the Finals in 2006, was a member of China's Olympic team in 2004 and competed again in the 2006 World Championships.

Asked whether Yi would fit in with the Sixers, King laughed and said, "He'd fit in well. About 12 guys would fit in great with us. I wish we had 12 picks."

Six shots

The Sixers have scheduled Friday workouts for Oregon's Aaron Brooks, Texas A & M's Acie Law IV, Boise State's Coby Karl and Chinese guard Sun Yue. Florida State's Al Thornton, who canceled Monday's session because of a sprained ankle, will be in Monday, joining Duke's Josh McRoberts. *

The Sixers have scheduled Friday workouts for Oregon's , Texas A & M's , Boise State's and Chinese guard . Florida State's , who canceled Monday's session because of a sprained ankle, will be in Monday, joining Duke's . *

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