is certainly not a common player. The exception is the rule for him: the 6-9 player with the skills of a point guard is a youngster from China playing in an obscure professional American league, the ABA.
Not a top prospect at this point, its still extremely interesting to watch him considering his peculiarities and the hype he enjoys in China. Its gotten to the point that several ABA games, obviously featuring Sun Yue
and his team Beijing Aoshen have been broadcasted in his homeland. Yue appears to be the biggest reason that Aoshen somehow made it to the States, as his team was suspended from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for refusing to release him to play for the under-20 national team. Or at least thats how the legend goes. 1123
Hyped or not hyped, Yue features rare abilities for a player listed at 6-9. He plays like a true point guard, and a talented one at that. Hes one of those extremely smooth players who evolve on the court with a certain flair, for whom the game comes naturally and just flows with the ball in his hands.
Very much left-handed, Yue is a remarkable dribbler with his good hand, while improvable with his bad one. Already an excellent passer, he takes advantage of his size to see the entire floor, while its a pleasure to see how the ball leaves his fingertips towards an open man. Displaying solid athleticism, he slashes well to the hoop, primarily looking to dish the ball or sometimes finish with an elegant finger roll. He plays under control and appears to have an excellent feel for the game, being highly unselfish, almost to a fault at times.
All in all, the game looks easy for him, particularly playing in the ABA. This third-tier competition severely lacks any kind of serious defense and intensity. Yue saw some action already with the Chinese National Team last summer and things were definitely tougher whenever the rival had a minimum level. Of course he didnt have the same leadership role that he enjoys in Aoshen, but his flaws were better exposed, like his right-handed dribbling (theres next-to-no pressure on the ball in the ABA) or his ability to penetrate, as his quicknessalbeit good for his size--is not incredible for a guard. He does move his feet fairly well on the defensive end, probably not quite being quick enough to defend guards in upper level competition, but certainly leaving some room for optimism at the small forward position considering his excellent length and decent footwork--especially once he adds some bulk to his frame.
Anywhere he plays, theres one glaring weakness screaming to get addressed: his shooting. Yue looks far from becoming an adequate shooter. He doesnt show any reliability, delivering awful jumpers from time to time, and his mechanics dont look particularly consistent. It would also be nice to see him develop more of an in-between game, having the ability to pull up sharply off the dribble for a mid-range jumper, something that is clearly not in his repertoire at the moment.
Hes rather slow with his release, so even if he improved his accuracy he still would have troubles creating his own shot, although he usually takes advantage of his size here. Its something he can do playing the point, but its not clear at all that he will be able to reproduce his current role at a top level.
Thats the biggest problem for Yue when you think about a hypothetical NBA future, his position on the court. Hes probably not quick enough for a point guard and he doesnt have the shooting touch that you look for in a wing. Besides, his physical build, although not nearly as bad as what some of his countrymen exhibit, still needs serious work.
Its hard to imagine an NBA team putting the ball in the hands of a 6-9 player exclusively and asking him to be their point guard, since were not talking about a Magic Johnson
type talent. Yue would certainly be the target of intense ball-pressure from the most athletic 6-2 guards in the world, which would make even the best 6-9 ball-handlers turnover prone considering the sheer physics involved. With that said, there are many ways for a creative coach to take advantage of the talent Yue possesses passing and handling the ball, possibly in a role similar to the one Boris Diaw
plays with the Suns. He will have to work on his small forward skills extensively first, particularly his outside shooting, mid-range shot, defense and adding some weight to his lanky frame.
Even if Yues future at the top level is very much still in question, his intriguing characteristics will surely make us keep an eye on him.