Playing for the Foshan Long Lions is kind of like playing on an expansion team. Well, not like an expansion — after picking up and moving from Shaanxi (not to be confused with Shanxi) in the summer of 2010, the Long Lions, who not only changed their home city, but also their name, logo and several of their players, essentially are an expansion team. Since the move, they’ve finished in the bottom four in each of the last two seasons despite their ability to attract some pretty nice foreign talent, including Stephon Marbury, Gerald Green and Marcus Haislip.
But this season, things are a little brighter in southern China due to a complete overhaul of the team’s Chinese roster, significant improvement from some of their young stay-overs, and the arrival of a solid trio of imports, lead by Shavlik Randolph.
Randolph, who many know from his days at Duke, spent five years in the NBA with Philadelphia, Portland Miami before landing wit the DongGuan New Century Leopards last season. After enjoying a successful year and a playoff berth, Randolph stayed in Guangdong province to play for Foshan, where is having a huge impact: 28.8 points and 14.3 rebounds on a sort-of-challenging-for-the-post-season Foshan squad, who at 7-11, have looked much improved from one season ago.
And in addition to all of that, Randolph — as he showed everybody in the lobby of the Beijing Holiday Inn last week — also plays a mean rendition of John Legend on the piano. Who says CBA imports only watch DVDs and go on Skype?