Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thursday highly praised Chinese basketball player Yi Jianlian, saying the Bucks' rookie power forward continues to impress.
According to the Milwaukee daily newspaper, Bucks officials have to be smiling about the play of rookie Yi, who has adapted quickly to the NBA game and fit smoothly into the team's starting lineup.
The 7-footer from China has emerged as one of the league's best rookies in the early stages of the season, and already a few observers think he is the best.
Yi scored only six points in the Bucks' 102-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, but he grabbed 13 rebounds while playing 34 minutes. His shooting touch was off (3 of 12), but Yi still found ways to contribute, including grabbing seven offensive rebounds and contributing three blocks.
The newspaper quoted Bucks center Andrew Bogut as saying "Yi has done a great job. He's going to have games where he doesn't score the ball well. Once he learns that getting rebounds, blocking shots and playing 'D', you can still stay on the court."
Yi used his length to contest a right-handed hook shot by Pau Gasol down the stretch, forcing a key miss as the Bucks held on to a narrow lead.
"He looks very calm and confident; he knows his game and he doesn't hesitate very much at all. He goes a little bit like (countryman) Yao Ming; one step at a time. You never see him expecting so much from himself," the newspaper said by quoting from Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni.
"I'm not really good on comparisons," Iavaroni said of Yi and Grizzlies' center Pau Gasol.
"I see a poise in both of them. That's something you see from players who are going to be very, very good in this league. They start off with a poise, and now they build on that. They get respect from officials, they make successful plays and their confidence grows quickly."