Intriguing Import

SI.com: In 1979, the Los Angeles Lakers shocked no one when they selected Earvin “Magic” Johnson with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Twenty eight years later, the Lakers picked Magic again — only this time they waited until the second round to acquire China’s version, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process.

Sun Yue, affectionately known as the “Chinese Magic Johnson,” does not come to the NBA with the same hype as Johnson — at least not Stateside. There is no NCAA championship on Sun’s résumé, and his personality will never be compared to the charismatic Johnson’s. In fact, in many ways Sun is more Tony Parker than Johnson, as his girlfriend is one of China’s top models. But whenever you have a point guard who looks like a power forward, the comparisons to Johnson are inevitable. Just ask Penny Hardaway.

“I have a different style [than Johnson],” Sun said. “Yes, I’m like him because I pass more than score. Maybe I play kind of like him, but he was a superstar.”

What the 22-year-old Sun does bring is a pretty impressive skill set. Sun, along with countryman Yi Jianlian, is part of a new generation of Chinese basketball players, a flashy ball handler and aggressive dunker who at 6-9 towers over opponents at the point-guard position much the same way Johnson did two decades ago.

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Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • http://Lakers.com Ed24

    I read this article 4 hours ago.

  • http://www.youtube.com/darkice18 darkice18

    i read this yesterday..

  • http://Lakers.com Ed24

    Can’t you guys come up with something new that is worth reading?

  • RoWyN

    This guy is very interesting. If he turns out to be a bust, who cares, we wouldn’t have gotten solid at 40 anyway. If he turns out to be pretty good, mitch will redeem himself from his critics.

  • http://twitter.com/nugge7 The Nugget

    [quote comment="5515"]Can’t you guys come up with something new that is worth reading?[/quote]
    Sure. Write something for us and will post. :) Slow news day…

  • Clutch 44

    Why can’t we put him on the D league roster? Isn’t that one of the reasons we bought a D league club?

  • Fatty

    I thought for sure, the Phoenix Suns would have drafted him. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. Or at least the Miami Heat. But, what do I know?

    I’ll be watching him on Sunday in Las Vegas to see what this kid can do.

  • kobeguru

    how does this fake article look
    http://sleightartists.com/story.html

  • Rpoc

    “If you ask me which skill Sun needs to improve in terms of playing in the NBA,” Chinese national team coach Jonas Kazlauskas said recently, “I’d tell you he needs an all-around improvement, because he is not strong enough to join the games there.”

    Sweeeeeet. He needs to improve EVERYTHING. Genius Mitch, genius.

  • lakerfan81

    Its the 40th pick why not take a gamble. Chances whoever is taken at 40 will not play in the nba anyways.

  • Rpoc

    Loser mentality. Paul Millsap #46 Utah. #49 Monta Ellis. Ryan Gomes #50.

    Should of taken Byars.

  • Fatty

    Slow news day? What are you talking about?

    Jul 5, 2007 3:28pm ET
    Cavs Sign Zips’ Travis for Summer
    Brian Windhorst of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL reports, “The Cavaliers have had some success in the past with players from Akron. Now they are giving another one a shot. The team has signed former St. Vincent-St. Mary and University of Akron star Romeo Travis to a summer-league contract. He will join the Cavs as they begin play at the Las Vegas Summer League this weekend.”

  • “Billy” Kupchak

    Sun Yue will shut up all you fools that doubt his potential in the NBA!

  • lakerfan81

    [quote post="483"]Loser mentality. Paul Millsap #46 Utah. #49 Monta Ellis. Ryan Gomes #50.

    Should of taken Byars.[/quote]
    Call it what you want. The fact is that whomever the lakers took at 40 and 48 were not going to make the team this year. By choosing two international players it allows the lakers to hold their draft rights and let them play with their former teams.

  • Fatty

    lakerfan81

    Draft late and send overseas to play and develope.

    Sounds an awful lot like the San Antonio Spurs way of doing things. Its like putting money in the bank and let it grow some interest. And best of all, we don’t have to pay them anything till they actually sign. Put them on the bench this year and we got to pay them to watch games.

    Whether its good or not. The stategy is very interesting.

  • Rpoc

    Oh yeah, Marcus Douthit is sure paying off.

    How many more years in Europe does he need?

  • lakerfan81

    It does not matter whether they make it to the NBA or not. Its a risk free gamble why not make it.

  • Rpoc

    Wasted draft picks start to stack up.

  • lakerfan81

    Like I said before anyone chosen at 40 and 48 would not have made the roster anyways. Then they would have been cut and playing in the D-league or in Europe. So what difference does it make.

  • Rpoc

    As I said, that’s the wrong mentality to have.

  • lakerfan81

    Thats not the wrong mentality its just a fact. Would taking any of those other guys have been any less of a risk than taking Gasol and Sun. Maybe a tiny bit, but the draft is a gamble to begin with. You take a chance and hopefully it pays off.

  • Rpoc

    Loser mentality. Mitch mentality. It’s a fact that this player selected here will not be in the NBA anyway, so let’s take whatever that’s interesting!

    Sun has marketing possibilities even if he needs to improve everything.
    Let’s get him.

    Pau is good, so let’s get his brother! Who cares if he’s limited in athleticism and needs another year. Let’s get him.

    Mitch – “I wish I had a magic wand so everything is guaranteed. I think I will fail anyway, but I’ll try. Can’t fault me for the effort.”

  • lakerfan81

    You are missing the point, the chances are that you are not going to do any better than what was picked at the #40 and #48 pick. Gasol was a good pick at 48. He will never be a star but ina couple years he could be a reserve center. Sun is a gamble but at 40 everyone you pick is a gamble.

  • Rpoc

    Point is, if there’s talent you take it. What did the Lakers do when Javaris who was projected to go earlier fell to them? They selected him. Too bad they didn’t do the same for Byars. Other examples for the books, Arenas, Gibson, etc.

  • lakerfan81

    True, but cahces are that Byars will not do much more then those two players picked do. Its not like they drafted Olawakandi at #1.

  • Fatty

    Let me chime again.

    Very rarely does a 40 and later pick make it. Mitch was hoping our 40 would’ve been a 33, but charlotte didn’t cooperate.

    If you sign a pick to camp and they don’t make it you lose all rights to them. How many 40 and ups would make any NBA team? Very few indeed. This way, both players have a place to play next year, but we still hold the rights. If they develope as hoped, you have a guy that could step in and play. Unfortunately, unlike baseball, we can only hold onto a few guys.

    Byars? You’d have to ask Mitch why he passed on him. Sun took me by surprize as well, but some scouts think he’s starting to develope and is at least 1-2 years away.

    I’ll watch him on Sunday in Vegas and let you know what I think.

  • eric

    negative mentality. you have it, you havnt even seen sun play in summer league, check him out first then criticize. dont say he sucks because he isnt the draft pick you wanted at 40. i go on lakerfans81 side. the draft is a whole gamble in the second round and in some cases first round. michael jordan never guessed kwame brown would suck this much. he said he saw talent, im sure he did, but kwame brown just isnt that good in the nba compared to high school.

  • Rpoc

    Jordan sucks at management. His latest is the Jason Richardson trade. That is why he is with the Bobcats and not anywhere else.

    Yes, I will put faith in someone who needs to improve everything including physical conditioning. That’s rational.

    That is why the Lakers are where they are for the past 3 years. Taking the wrong gambles.

  • RC

    [quote comment="5657"]Jordan sucks at management. His latest is the Jason Richardson trade. That is why he is with the Bobcats and not anywhere else.

    Yes, I will put faith in someone who needs to improve everything including physical conditioning. That’s rational.

    That is why the Lakers are where they are for the past 3 years. Taking the wrong gambles.[/quote]

    The Bobcats were SMART to take J. Richardson, look at some point, the Bobcats needed to start drafting rookies and projects, the Bobcats now have a great backcout in J. Richardson and Felton, along with Wallace, Okafor and their PF, they will be a playoff team in the East.

    So I think Golden State will drop as a result of J. Richardson departure and I think Bobcats will rise and make playoffs. Give Kudos to Jordan.

    The same thing was said about Golden State acquiring Steven Jackson and Al Harrington, people said Indiana would rise and Golden State would fall, I predicted that the Lakers or The Warriors were going to beat the mavs in the playoffs whoever would fact the mavs.

    Now with the departure of J Richardson, I see Golden State NOT making the playoffs, J Richardson is a STARTING caliber player and will be in his prime for the next 4 YEARS!!!

    So again Kudos to Jordan, I wish we had Jordan running the Lakers!!!!

    Yes he made a mistake on Kwame, but his other moves have been marvelous, Jordan has only made one mistake, mitch makes MULTIPLE mistakes annually!!!!!!

  • Rpoc

    Cmon RC, J-Rich is cool, but he’s not even the same class as the wheel chair boy in Florida. He is their franchise player now until Emeka Okafor actually becomes a force. He can’t carry that young team.

    Baron Davis was the heart of that Warriors team. Too bad he always gets injured.

  • RoWyN

    About the 40th and 48th picks:

    Drafting Byars and not playing him would send him to the D-League where he can eventually sign-up when called by other teams.

    Now, drafting foreign players and letting them play overseas, allows the lakers to keep the rights to those players.

    This strategy allows you to pick the best foreign player that suits your team without the pressure of putting them in the roster.

  • Rpoc
  • Rpoc

    LOL Wang. Can you brick it any worst?

  • Rpoc

    Yue had a couple of good blocks. First was clean. Stupid refs.

  • RoWyN

    That’s why they kept comparing Yue to Lamar. He doesn’t use his right!!!

  • RoWyN

    By the way, he doesn’t look 6’9″…. I think he’s about 6’7″.

  • Rpoc

    He needs to improve conditioning and his shot but at least he doesn’t play like a doofus like Sasha.

  • lakers4life

    sun yue had 9 assists today in the summer league

  • Rpoc

    Sun has been sucky these last few games.

    He’s better than Sasha but that’s not the best accomplishment you want to have.

    Had trouble against pressured defense.

    Not gonna help this year.

    The China team is a joke btw.