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China MVP Ding Yanyuhang learning the NBA rules as a Mavs Summer Leaguer

Dallas Mavericks

China MVP Ding Yanyuhang learning the NBA rules as a Mavs Summer Leaguer

Former NBA players may be able to take their talents to China and dominate, but that doesn’t always translate for Chinese players when migrating to the NBA. For example, Russ Smith, former member of the Pelicans and Grizzlies, is averaging 61.4 points per game over the first five games with Luoyang of the National Basketball League (NBL), China’s second-tier professional basketball league. But for the 2017 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) MVP Ding Yanyuhang, the transition to the NBA game has a definite learning curve.

Yanyuhang came on strong to NBA radars after his CBA MVP campaign in 2017. He improved his scoring from nine points per game to almost 24 points per game over a year span while leading the Shandong Lions to the playoffs. Ding is a prolific playmaker who loves to drive the lane and finish at the rim. He’s able to find his teammates with nifty passes while attracting multiple defenders. The CBA MVP’s 2017 campaign undeniably proved that his skill-set is NBA worthy.

Through the first four games of the Orlando Pro Summer League, the Mavs have been on a roll. Sporting a 4-0 record lands them atop of the standings in Orlando; Ding has continued to become more comfortable with the NBA rules each game. The differences in the rules has caused some rookie mistakes, such as goaltending and basket interference.

As Brandon Paul stated:

“I love Ding. The language barrier is an issue at times, but once he gets it, he’s a great player and he can definitely put the ball in the basket. He’s all over the place. Having him is great.”

Starting in all four of the Mavs Orlando Summer League games, Ding has shown bursts of potential at the NBA level. His basketball IQ and ability to penetrate the lane remains at a high level. He has shown great court vision and fearlessness as he flies all over the floor. His shooting has been inconsistent and continues to look for his outside shot .

As Orlando Pro Summer League comes to an end, Yanyuhang has left an impression that leaves more to be seen by the Mavs coaching staff. He has been extended an invite to join the NBA Las Vegas Summer League roster which will come against more well-rounded competition, as more prominent first round draft picks will be competing. With a continued productive NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Yanyuhang can make it tough on the Mavs to send him home without a contract, whether that is with the Mavs or a two-way deal between the Mavs and Texas Legends.

Ding Yanyuhang has begun his journey to transition his MVP career in China to become an NBA player and seems to be on the right path with the Mavericks.


Lead editor and credentialed media member covering the Dallas Mavericks | Born & raised in the Dallas area. UNT graduate. Sports writer with a hefty beard and a smooth jump shot.

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