Bucks draft Yi Jianlian of China

Updated: 2007-06-29 08:29

The Milwaukee Bucks have drafted Yi Jianlian, a power forward from China, with the No. 6 pick in tonight's NBA Draft.

Yi Jianlian, a power forward from China, shakes hands with NBA chief David Stern after being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks on June 29, 2007. [Xinhua]

The 7-foot power forward will be the fourth Chinese player to make the NBA, but there's no guarantee he'l make the same impact as Yao Ming, selected by the Houston Rockets with the first pick in 2002.

Questions about his defense, strength and age surround Yi Jianlian, who has been protected by his handlers who wanted him in a city like Chicago, Los Angeles or the Bay area.

Yi has been in the United States for several weeks adjusting, and unlike the three Chinese who played before him, he was on hand to witness his selection.

"I played for a national team for a couple of years, I think I'm ready," Yi said immediately after the pick.

Yi has a deft shooting touch from the wing, soft hands and an athletic body, which is compared to Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Bucks, who have watched Yi over the last four years during the course of his development, are taking a gamble that Yi won't do what Fran Vazquez did.

Vazquez, the Magic's top draft pick in 2005 and 11th overall, was expected to make an immediate impact but surprised the club after the draft by choosing to remain in Europe.

Yi played on China's 2004 Olympic team and the 2006 world championship team. This season, he averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Guangdong Tigers.

The Bucks don't pick again until No. 56, which is the 26th pick in the second round.

Greg Oden was the No. 1 pick by Portland, and Kevin Durant went No. 2 to Seattle.

Top Sports News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours