The Yi Experiment has given way to Joe Alexander the Great.
Although I’m not sure which Chinese language Yi speaks, it may have helped having a teammate that can speak Mandarin.
Unfortunately, the pairing wasn’t meant to be. Yi became expendable as the Milwaukee Bucks selected the forward out of West Virginia with the 8th pick.
Alexander is one of those “…in a few years” guys. He’ll be ready… in a few years. He has a chance to be a great player… in a few years. He’ll be one of the best players in his class… in a few years.
I won’t disagree with his potential; the man can hold his on slam dunk contest topping it off with a Vince Carter “honey-dip” elbow slam. But can he play now?
I think he’s going to be real fun to watch. Some have billed him as a super athletic Matt Harpring. I don’t buy the Harpring comparison, which really comes up because the kid is white.
I see Alexander as a bigger Luol Deng with an established mid-range core competency. They were both freakish athletes in college. Both players have high release points, an ability to score in the post yet they both struggle with lateral quickness (compared to other pro prospects). Alexander, like Deng, put on a show in March. He averaged 23.8 points and 8.1 rebounds in the final month. Huge.
We’ve heard a lot about his gym rat tendencies. The guy is an extremely hard worker and he likes to hit the weights — much like every Bob Huggins recruit. I really think the guy can be a nice player early. The problem is the Bucks are crowded at the wing.
John Hammond isn’t done tweaking but they currently have Richard Jefferson, Desmond Mason, Michael Redd and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on the roster. Under Scott Skiles’ system, it may come down to who demonstrates a commitment to defense.
Mbah a Moute is a Ben Howland recruit, so you know he’ll work on D. Other than the former UCLA star, the other wings haven’t had to play a lick of defense in years. If Alexander can play NBA defense, he’s got a shot to shine early.
Photo credit: AP