Get to know the newest Laker in our our interview with Yi Jianlian, who spent the past four seasons playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, but always had confidence he’d return to the NBA. When general manager Mitch Kupchak announced the Lakers signing about three weeks ago, NBA fans were reminded of Yi’s first five seasons in the NBA after being drafted with the sixth pick in the 2007 NBA draft. Since then, Yi says he’s gotten stronger and continued to expand his game, and is “very excited” about his NBA return.
Yi has been working out at the Lakers facility for about two weeks now and has had several conversations with the coaching staff, including Luke Walton, and has gotten a strong sense of what this team is about.
“The main thing is, we know for the new season that we have to win and try to be a success, to help the team,” Yi said in an interview with LakersNation.com. “Every player talks about that, the coaches talk about that. We know how the fans feel, what the fans expect for the team. So, for me the main thing is I have to try hard myself to help the team win games.”
Though Yi said he fits well in Walton’s system, he’s still uncertain whether that will be at the forward or center position. Yi also has a special message for the fans. Check it out in our interview above.