During the 2017-2018 CBA season Guangzhou emerged onto the scene with some impressive new faces. The team had been struggling in recent years, but a new pool of young Chinese talent gave their fans a glimpse at a bright future. After drafting Chen Ying-Chun, with the first pick in the CBA draft and signing Kyle Fogg as well as Tyler Hansbrough, expectations were higher than ever for Guangzhou at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
Last year the team finished with a 21-17 record, good for ninth place overall and their first playoff berth since 2008. They beat top teams throughout the season such as the Shanghai Sharks and last year’s CBA champs, the Liaoning Flying Leopards. Now, the Long-Lions are looking to capitalize on the momentum after winning Asia League’s Summer Super 8. New star Guard, Shirelijian Muxtar, acquired in a trade with Xinjiang learned quickly and played well in new head coach Juan Antonio Orenga’s offense. Last year, first overall pick in the CBA draft, Chen Ying-Chun, stepped into an immediate leadership position. He averaged nearly 11 points and 2 assists per game. Kyle Fogg also set the net on fire, shooting nearly 40% from behind the arch and averaging nearly 36 points per game. The team now has one of the strongest backcourts in the league and will look to make it two straight Asia League event championships.
Guangzhou has made trades to put them in a position to win now. They traded young big man, Fan Ziming, to the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in exchange for Shirelijian Muxtar and other guard help. They brought in elite Spanish coach, Juan Antonio Orenga, to take over head coaching responsibilities. Coach Orenga is a retired professional, with experience on top Spanish teams such as Real Madrid and Unicaja. He led the Spanish National Team to the Quarter-Finals in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and runs a fast paced, dynamic offense. The moves have already paid off after they took home the Summer Super 8 Championship this past July.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The team is in a strong position in regards to developing young talent. After one year in the league, Chen Ying-Chun looked like a veteran all-star at times. He’s been sharpening his tools with the Chinese Taipei men’s basketball team over the summer and is ready to take the next step to become an elite Guard.
Ray is joined by one of the sharpest shooters in the CBA, Kyle Fogg. Kyle returns for his second year with Guangzhou. This past CBA season, he was in contention for scoring champion had he not been injured. Fogg’s success is such that he can command looks from NBA teams. The Guard worked out with a few of them over the summer before the Long-Lions exercised their option to bring him back for a second season.
Finally, there’s the new big man in town. The Long-Lions went after the Philadelphia 76ers’ 16th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Marreese Speights, this offseason to complete a re-tooled roster to make a championship run. Speights makes his debut with the team during The Terrific 12. He won the NBA Championship with Golden State in 2015 and will look to bring Guangzhou many more championships.
|0||Tian Yuheng||Shooting guard, Point guard||22/6/1996|
|2||Chen Ying-Chun||Shooting guard, Point guard||9/6/1993|
|5||Marreese Speights||Centre, Power forward, Small forward||4/8/1987|
|6||Si Kun||Power forward, Small forward||27/2/1995|
|7||Gu Yuezhuo||Shooting guard, Point guard||3/3/1993|
|8||Ju Mingxin||Power forward, Small forward||10/3/1993|
|9||Yao Tianyi||Shooting guard, Point guard||1/9/1994|
|14||Guo Kai||Power forward, Small forward, Centre||5/7/1993|
|18||Kyle Fogg||Shooting guard, Point guard||27/1/1990|
|21||Heng Yifeng||Power forward, Small forward||27/1/1995|
|24||Shirelijian Muxtar||Shooting guard, Point guard||4/1/1991|
|30||Liu Fengbo||Power forward, Small forward, Shooting guard, Point guard||22/8/1993|
|33||Zhang Yongpeng||Power forward, Small forward||12/3/1990|
|Juan Antonio ORENGA||Head Coach|