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Celtics targets in Chinese Basketball Association

02.15.13 at 6:01 pm ET
By
Von Wafer

Von Wafer

Celtics coach Doc Rivers told Dennis & Callahan he and team president Danny Ainge received a list of Chinese Basketball Association imports who might fill two needs: 1) a guard who can play both backcourt positions, shoot and bring toughness and 2) a big who can stretch the floor and/or rebound.

After scouring the CBA’s 17 rosters, here are 10 guys who might be on that list of players who will begin to be available once the regular season ends Feb. 17.

GUARDS

Von Wafer: The 6-foot-5, 209-pound shooting guard just captured Asia-basket.com’s Player of the Week honor after scoring 51 of his team’s 112 points on 19-of-25 shooting (9-13 3P). Of course, Wafer, 27, has experience in the Celtics system, averaging 3.2 points in 9.5 minutes over 58 games during the 2010-11 season. A disappointment in Boston, he was thrown into the deal that sent Glen Davis to the Magic for Brandon Bass. Just don’t sign Wafer alongside Delonte West, the combo guard who Rivers and Ainge admitted was on their list of potential signees. Wafer and West reportedly exchanged blows after a C’s practice two years ago.

Stephon Marbury: After leading his Beijing Ducks to the CBA title last season, the 35-year-old veteran has averaged 29.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game this season. He too has experience under Rivers in Boston, where he finally played his way out of the NBA during the 2008-09 season. Marbury averaged 3.8 points, 3.3 assists and 1.2 boards in 18.0 minutes a night over 23 games for the C’s.

Tracy McGrady: Despite being suspended a month ago for calling CBA officials “three blind mice,” the 33-year-old wing has averaged 24.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 31.7 minutes a night during his first season in China. A decade ago, Rivers coached McGrady on the Magic, and the C’s coach praised his former player in his facilitating role off the bench for the Hawks last year.

Pooh Jeter: Besides possessing the exact name most Boston fans call a certain Yankees shortstop, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound point guard has averaged 25.0 points, 5.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 34.8 minutes a night for the CBA’s second-ranked team. Undrafted out of the University of Portland, Jeter averaged 4.2 points, 2.6 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 13.8 minutes over 62 games for the Kings two years ago.

Gary Forbes: After unsuccessful seasons for the Nuggets and Raptors, the 27-year-old shooting guard now ranks sixth in the CBA in scoring (29.6) and eighth in assists (4.7). The 2008 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Forbes (6-foot-7, 220 pounds) averaged 19.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists as a UMASS senior in the C’s backyard.

Others: Former UConn standout Marcus Williams (although, he was banned from the CBA for sixth months after a positive marijuana test in January) and one-time Connecticut prep star Quincy Douby.

BIGS

Shavlik Randolph: Dubbed the biggest recruiting bust of the 2000′s, the 6-foot-10, 236-pound power forward leads the CBA in scoring (32.8) and ranks third in rebounding (14.7). Randolph never averaged more than 7.4 points or 4.5 rebounds in three seasons at Duke, and then played just 95 games for three teams over five NBA seasons. A McDonald’s All-American, his 70-point game for Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.) High broke Pistol Pete Maravich‘s single-season school record.

Charles Gaines: Perhaps best known for knocking out a Chinese opponent in 2010, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Gaines has played everywhere from the D-League to Europe to China. He ranks third in the CBA in scoring (31.5) and second in rebounding (15.1). Almost five years ago, NBA Draft Express declared Gaines lacked “the size, consistent jump shot, steady free throw stroke and the on-court discipline needed to earn an NBA contract.”

Marcus Haislip: The Bucks selected the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Tennessee product in the lottery of the 2002 NBA draft, and he spent two separate stints in the association (from 2002-04 for the Bucks and Pacers, and in 2010 for the Spurs). At age 32, Haislip’s averaging 27.8 points on ridiculous shooting from everywhere on the floor (55.5 FG% on 328 FGA, 67.6 3P% on 139 3PA and 88.1 FT% on 151 FTA). He also grabs 5.9 boards a game.

Donnell Harvey: Somehow, a guy who was demoted to the bench in his only college season at Florida after battling homesickness is thriving in China. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Harvey, 32, leads the CBA in rebounding (16.6) while adding 20.8 points per game. He enjoyed some success during his five NBA seasons, averaging 7.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.9 minutes over 77 games for a Nuggets team that finished 17-65 in 2002-03.

Mike Harris: An undersized forward (6-foot-6, 240 pounds), the Rice product ranks in the CBA’s top 10 for scoring (27.8) and rebounding (12.5). He’s efficient, making 58.0 percent of his shots and 84.6 percent of his free throws, forming a formidable backcourt alongside fellow former NBA talent Garrett Siler (18.2 points, 11.2 rebounds).

Others: Siler, CBA blocks leader Hamady N’Diaye (4.0 BPG), Rajon Rondo‘s Kentucky teammate Randolph Morris and Darnell Jackson, a second-round pick by the Heat who helped lead Kansas to the 2008 NCAA title.

It’s important to note that the CBA playoffs last well into March, so guys like Yi Jianlian, Terrence Williams and Ike Diogu on first-place Guangdong, Jeter on second-place Shandong, Marbury on third-place Beijing and Wafer on fourth-place Xinjiang may not be realistic options for the Celtics.

Here’s the complete list of the CBA’s import players (h/t @NiuBBall).

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