It sounds kind of funny to say a MVP is battling for minutes in the Summer league and hoping for a final two-way contract from the Mavs but that’s what 23-year old Ding Yanyuhang is doing.
On Tuesday, the 6’7 CBA (China) All-Star and regular season MVP played his third game with the Mavs Summer league squad and had his best game to date: 9 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and a steal in just 18 minutes.
“I love Ding,” said teammate Brandon Paul after the Mavs third straight win. “The language barrier is an issue at times, but once he gets it, he’s a great player and he can definitely put the ball in the basket. He’s all over the place. Having him is great.”
Not so great has been Ding’s outside shooting, he was 0 for 3 from three on Tuesday and is now 0 for 6 in the summer. He also turned the ball over 3 times in just 10 minutes in his second game and racked up 6 fouls to go with his 8 points in his 18-minute debut.
As for the language barrier issue, Ding is also having issues getting used to NBA rules. He’s already picked up multiple goal tends and tip dunked a ball when it was still over the rim since it’s allowed in international play.
Darrell Armstrong coaching Ding Yanyuhang after a basket interference: “You are in the United States now, can’t do that.”
Darrell = best
— Orlando Magic Daily (@OMagicDaily) July 3, 2017
Despite the communication issues, mediocre stats and his age, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ding end up with that final two-way contract from the Mavs. The team (and every team in the NBA) wants to increase it’s popularity with the Asian community and having one of the biggest stories of the CBA on it’s roster is a great PR move.
What made Ding’s story so interesting is how, after five seasons, he became an offensive force and had a breakout season for the Shandong Golden Stars, who was expecting former NBA champion Norris Cole to be the star of the team after a controversial decision to not bring back CBA great Pooh Jeter. Cole was a disaster and Ding became the savior, putting up 30+ on a regular and twice matching his career-high of 43. He isn’t going to be putting up big numbers like this in any boxscore for the Mavs but Cuban is hoping he can help bring in big numbers in the form of international fans.
This isn’t the first time the Mavs tried to tap into the Asian market. Back in 1999, they drafted the first Chinese player (Wang ZhiZhi) in NBA history. They also had an unknown Jeremy Lin on their Summer League roster back in 2010; You might remember the stories about how he was “killing” #1 pick John Wall during one of the games.
Source: Dallas News