SHANGHAI 2020-21 CBA PREVIEW


2019-20 REVIEW

Last season expectations were very high for the Shanghai team, as the new ownership spent big money on imports and made several high profile off-season domestic acquisitions, including Li Gen, Zhang Chunjun, and Ju Mingxin.  However the team fell far short of their lofty expectations. An injury during the preseason CBA fitness testing kept starting center Zhang Zhaoxu out for most of the season, the newly signed players underperformed relative to their reputation, and the team failed to sign a marquee import guard to replace the departure of star scorer Jimmer Fredette.  They ultimately finished the season in 16th place with a disappointing 16-30 record.

When you don’t make shots, and allow opponents to make shots at a high rate the results will usually be losses, as making shots and forcing misses is the most important factor in winning basketball games. On top of that Shanghai is also one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league therefore ending most games with less shot attempts than the opponent. The only positive factor last season was that they were very good at not allowing opponents to score from the free-throw line, unfortunately the least important factor in terms of helping a team win.

Most fans would know that Shanghai is a poor 3-point shooting team, having the lowest 3-point ratio in the league. Many players don’t even attempt open 3’s, but rather attempt to drive to the basket or attempting bad mid-range jumps shots. We could assume that poor shooting teams are usually have good finishers at the rim, however this is not the case for Shanghai last season as they were the 3rd worst in the league finishing when contested at the rim. On the defensive side they were the 2nd worst rim protection team in the league. We have made strong conclusions that rim protection is one of the most important factors to winning in the CBA, therefore explaining Shanghai’s poor season.

Many of the offensive struggles last season can be chalked up to lack of an elite scoring and playmaking import to fill the shoes of departed Jimmer Fredette.  Shanghai had more frequent shot attempts out of this offensive action than nearly any other team in the CBA.  However without an elite player to score the pick and roll, they posted one of the worst scoring efficiencies in this category.  Furthermore, when half court offensive sets fail to result in a good scoring opportunity, the responsibility frequently falls on the team’s best player to try to create a shot in an isolation situation. Both situations can also be affected by bad spacing, which occurs when a team does not have good 3-point shooters on the floor and opposing teams can help off their man more and clog the paint making it harder for the offensive player to score or forcing him to pass. Shanghai was the worst at scoring in the CBA in these types of situations. The only positive was that the team was above average in Transition opportunities, but were also below average in defending transition situations.

They were far below league average defending most types of offenses attacking the basket (Including postups, catch and drives, putbacks and cuts).  This makes sense when you consider the loss of starting 7 foot center Zhang Zhaoxu, one of the best rim protectors in the league.  This is even more egregious when you consider Zhang’s backup, Dong Hanlin, is one of the worst rim protectors in the league at the center position. Many defensive failures will fall back on poor rim protection, which is exactly the case for Shanghai. (Please see Rim Protection article for further details)

OUTLOOK

The roster has been completely overhauled compared to the previous season.  Fans will rejoice at the return of heralded scorer and elite shooter Jimmer Freddte, who took the CBA by storm three years ago before playing in Greece last season.  He will be playing alongside another tier one import guard Marcus Dennmon.  These two elite players will provide an impressive one-two punch.The return of defensive centerpiece Zhang Zhaoxu will give the team much needed rebounding and rim protection.  As far as new domestic signings, the biggest move Shanghai made was acquiring Taiwanese combo guard Liu Zheng from Guangsha.  Liu Zheng is one of the best two-way players in the CBA, providing solid offense with elite perimeter defense.  Another important signing is veteran Kelanbaike Makan, an elite three point specialist and former captain of Xinjiang.  Kelan is well known throughout the CBA as a capable defender, elite shooter, and brings positive lockeroom presence and leadership.  The forward and center positions have also been shored up with additional depth by signing Zong Zan (Beikong) and He Zhongda (Fujian).  Both players are capable bigs that have 3-point range and protect the rim well, which will improve spacing on defender and rim protection on defense.  The only core player to depart this season is Li Gen, who signed last season with much fanfare, but performed terribly and shouldn’t be missed with the new additions Shanghai made.  Shanghai receives much deserved praise for their off-season work. They have by far the most improved roster in the CBA.  Expect this new core to play a different style of basketball from last season, with a high powered offense and excellent three point shooting.  We predict Shanghai will go from being a bottom 5 team to a top 6 team this coming season

The roster has been completely overhauled compared to the previous season.  Fans will rejoice at the return of heralded scorer and elite shooter Jimmer Freddte, who took the CBA by storm three years ago before playing in Greece last season.  He will be playing alongside another tier one import guard in Marcus Dennmon.  The return of defensive centerpiece Zhang Zhaoxu will give the team much needed rebounding and rim protection.  As far as new domestic signings, the biggest move Shanghai made was acquiring Taiwanese combo guard Liu Zheng from Guangsha.  Liu Zheng is one of the best two-way players in the CBA, providing solid offense with elite perimeter defense.  Another important signing is veteran  Kelan Makan, an elite three point specialist and former captain of Xinjiang.  Kelan is well known throughout the CBA as a capable defender, elite shooter, and brings positive locker room presence and leadership.  The forward and center positions have also been shored up with additional depth by signing Zong Zan (Beikong) and He Zhongda (Fujian).  Both players are capable bigs that have 3-point range and protect the rim well, which will improve spacing on defender and rim protection on defense.  The only core player to depart this season is Li Gen, who signed last season with much fanfare, but performed terribly and shouldn’t be missed with the new additions Shanghai made.  Shanghai receives much deserved praise for their off-season work. They have by far the most improved roster in the CBA.  Expect this new core to play a different style of basketball from last season, with a high powered offense and excellent three point shooting.  We predict Shanghai will go from being a bottom 5 team to a top 6 team this coming season


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