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Where Are They Now: Yi Jianlian

We take a look at what the former Bucks’ first-round pick is up to

Houston Rockets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Okay, I understand this is not the most appealing Where Are They Now piece, but I feel some sort of obligation to do it. We all know how disappointing Yi Jianlian’s time in Milwaukee was. The Milwaukee Bucks had the sixth overall pick in the 2007 Draft and ended up selecting Yi out of China. It then became difficult to convince Yi to sign in Milwaukee, as he wanted to go to a city with a larger Chinese presence. Eventually, Yi and the team agreed to a rookie contract.

Yi’s time in Milwaukee failed to have many memories at all. One of the coolest moments was when he faced off vs. Yao, which resulted in over 200 million NBA fans watching over in China. That made it one of the largest watched games in NBA history. During his rookie campaign, Yi would play 66 out of 82 games for the Bucks, as a knee injury ended his season in early April.

A couple of months later, Yi and Bobby Simmons were sent to the New Jersey Nets for Richard Jefferson. He didn’t get much playing time under his belt before an injury to his pinkie sidelined him.

The next season, Yi returned back to the starting lineup for the Nets. He started every game he played in besides one, but ultimately, injuries derailed his campaign yet again. Several injuries made him miss 30 games.

In late June of 2010, Yi was dealt to the Washington Wizards along with cash considerations for Quinton Ross. During this season, he averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds. However, at season’s end, the Wizards decided to move on.

Yi then ended up in Dallas, which is where he saw his first NBA playoff action. Following that, he went back to China where he returned to his original club Guangdong. Yi would make his return to the NBA in 2016, when he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016. However, his time with the team only lasted through preseason, as he was waived in October.

Currently, Yi is still over in China playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball League. He was expected to play with China during the recent 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but withdrew due to injury concerns.

So, what was your thoughts on Yi? Were you expecting bigger things out of him when he was drafted by Milwaukee? Or were you anticipating a bust to occur? Let us know in the comments!