Solid defense to lift offense: China’s basketball head coach

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/24 3:56:24

Chinese national basketball team head coach Li Nan believes defense is the priority for his team in the buildup to the FIBA World Cup to be hosted by China.

"Our foundation is built on defense," Li told reporters on Thursday, marking the 100-day countdown to the World Cup. "We hope to verify our defensive tactics to improve our offensive methods."

A total of 20 Chinese players were due to attend the team's training session on Thursday, but only 14 of them showed up as six are either on vacation after the CBA finals or are recovering from injury.

One of the six players who skipped Thursday's session was star center Yi Jianlian of the Guangdong South China Tigers. He is still on vacation after winning the CBA finals at the beginning of May.

Li noted that the World Cup will be a more physical tournament for China compared to intra-continental games in which China has dominated tactically.

China's best result at a basketball world championship is an eighth-place finish in 1994.

The national team will begin its home World Cup campaign in Beijing at the end of August, as it is grouped with Cote d'Ivoire, Poland and Venezuela in Group A.

Yao Ming, President of Chinese Basketball Association, said he wants the team to be the best Asian team at the World Cup. China is one of five Asian teams. The other four are Iran, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

Yao also said that the aim is for the national team to finish in the top four, saying he hopes to "return to Beijing."

The World Cup will be played in eight cities across the country, with the winning teams from each group returning to the Chinese capital for the semifinals.

Promising Uyghur forward Abudushalamu Abudurexiti, who rose to prominence last year, attended Thursday's training session after cutting his vacation short.

As part of its preparations in the build-up to the World Cup, the 20-man squad is slated to play NBL teams from Australia in June in China, before traveling to the US to compete in the NBA Summer League in July.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup runs from August 31 to September 15.


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