Evaluating Yongxi Cui and Hansen Yang in a 2024 CBA Playoff Game

May 29th, 2024

By Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to take the time to watch Guangzhou’s Yongxi Cui play in an April 14th Chinese Basketball Association playoff game against Hansen Yang and Qingdao, with thanks to YouTube via Yiku Sports Basketball Channel【CBA Live】LIVE.  Cui was recently invited to play in the 2024 G-League Elite Camp, so I wanted to take the time to assess his skills.  Also, it was an opportunity to watch Yang play in a full basketball game.  Without further ado, here are my thoughts on how Cui and Yang fared, as well as how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Guangzhou’s Yongxi Cui is an athletic, energetic swingman that could be a potential second round pick if he decides to stay in the 2024 draft, but it is not certain if he would be drafted if he keeps his name in the pool. (Photo: FIBA.basketball)

Yongxi Cui had a strong showing to help lead his team to a double-digit win over Qingdao.  He is an athletic, energetic swingman that scored the basketball in a variety of ways, and he turned in a very good all-around performance to help get his team the victory.

Cui shot the ball very well, especially from beyond the arc.  He was able to make an open three after dribble back off of an offensive rebound early on.  He also pulled up to make a deep three another time.  In addition, Cui was able to draw free throws on a pull-up three, as opponents had to really respect his shot in this game.  He also would’ve made a quick pull-up three in transition, but his teammate was called for a moving screen beforehand that led to the basket being waved off.  He also would’ve made a quick spot-up three that also didn’t count because his teammate drew a foul before he could get his shot off.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to score out of the post.  Cui ran off of a ball screen to get the ball in the post, and he managed to pivot and score on a fadeaway jumper.  Plus, he also would look to score on hustle plays.  He was able to push the pace off of a rebound to score on a quick, smooth drive in transition.  He also drew free throws off of a cut as well as off of a put back.  Cui also was able to drive hard and use a jump stop and pump fake, as he then took a big pivot move to score.  There were times where he took some very tough, contested shots, but more times than not, he was able to either make them or draw fouls to get to the free throw line.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills. Cui is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball.  He ran the floor and was able to make a touch pass on a give and go to notch an assist.  He also showed the knack to make passes off the dribble and in transition to get the ball to his teammates.  On one play though, when handling the ball, he was called for a traveling violation that led him to commit a turnover.

Cui also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and Cui would aggressively leap up to snare down defensive boards.  He also was able to push the pace off of a defensive rebound once.

He also showcased satisfactory defensive skills in this game.  Cui would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also jumped on a loose ball to help his team get another.  He makes quick rotations and moves his feet well, as he would close out on shooters and actively contest shots to force misses.  On the other hand, sometimes he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to be out of position.

Overall, Cui played very well, and his play was instrumental in helping to get his team the win in this game.  As for his likely NBA role, he would probably end up playing a 3 and D role in the NBA in the future if he ends up there. In the two G-League Elite Camp scrimmage games, his performance was up and down, as he shot the ball well in his first game, and he didn’t shoot well but defended well in the second game there, but it wasn’t quite enough to net him an invite to the 2024 NBA Draft Combine. If Cui stays in the 2024 draft, he would probably be expected to go at highest in the mid second round range, and most likely either in the late second round or wind up going undrafted. Cui is a skilled player that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to Miami Heat guard, Josh Richardson in the league.

7-1 center Hansen Yang is a skilled big man that can score, rebound, and pass out of the post, but there may be significant concerns regarding his athleticism and defense. (Photo: OSPORTS/XINHUA, via China Daily)

Qingdao’s Hansen Yang had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Guangzhou.  The 7-1 center is a strong, physical player that can score and rebound in the paint, but his lack of mobility and unwillingness to defend shooters out on the perimeter made him a defensive liability in this game.

Yang didn’t shoot the ball very often, but he showed that he can effectively score in the paint.  Yang was able to use a subtle spin move from the high post to score and get fouled.  He also drove to the post and scored on a crafty, up and under move.  On the downside, he’s not particularly fast or quick, so he can sometimes struggle to score in traffic.  Yang was able to make an open mid-range jumper from the baseline.  He even attempted a three after being unable to seal his man in the post once, but Yang missed his lone three-point attempt that time.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Yang is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to find the open man to notch assists.  He also would make timely passes to find teammates on the move, and he also can pass out of the post.  On the other hand, sometimes he have trouble protecting the basketball, which would lead him to getting the ball stolen away from him.  He also tried to throw an interior pass to a cutter once that got intercepted.  He also would show questionable footwork when handling the basketball that would look like he would be traveling, and he also would run in to try to tip balls off the rim on the offensive end that would be basket interference in the NBA game.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  Yang would chase down balls to help his team get numerous boards on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, Yang would rotate to block and alter shots in the paint, and he would play passing lanes, which enabled him to get a steal and force passing turnovers.  He would use his length to contest shots off the dribble and in the post, which would enable him to wall off the paint to force misses.  On the downside, he is a lumbering big man that would sometimes not be willing to defend out on the perimeter, and he would give up wide open threes to allow opponents to score from beyond the arc.  He also would be too slow to rotate, which would enable opponents to score on mid-range jumpers and floaters.  Other times, he would get beat quickly off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  In addition, there would be times where he ad his teammates would be confused on who to guard in screen situations, which would lead them to allow opponents to score on open shots.

Overall, Hansen Yang is an old school, throwback type of center that can be the anchor in the post, as he can score, rebound, and pass the ball from the block to help his team.  On the downside, his lack of mobility makes it tough for him to defend quicker players, and he will need to improve his ability to defend opponents out on the perimeter.  He will also need to extend his shooting range and add a reliable outside shot that can extend to beyond the arc.  He did not declare to enter the draft, so he currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate for the 2025 draft.  Yang has the skills to be a backup center in the NBA, but he will need to make improvements to his game if he wants to ascend to greater heights.  If he stays as is, he could end up being a fringe backup center in the NBA similar player to former center, Aaron Gray in the league.

Other Notes:

Qingdao’s 6-4 guard, Angjun Duan had a sastisfactory showing in his team’s loss to Guangzhou.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he is an agile, skilled combo guard that can knock down shots to help his team on offense.

Duan shot the ball well, and he excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls when driving to the basket, which would enable him to get to the free throw line.  Plus, he also ran the floor and caught a long pass to score later on.  On the downside, he would sometimes miss on contested pull-up jumpers, as he didn’t always shoot well off the dribble.

He would sometimes look to handle the basketball, but Duan committed an offensive foul and a turnover once by colliding into a defender when driving to the hoop once.

Also, Duan didn’t get many rebounds in this game, but he was able to quickly chase down a ball to get an offensive board.  Defensively, he struggled in this game.  On one good play, he was able to go around a screen and challenge a three-point shot to force a miss.  On the other hand, he had trouble fighting through screens as his team would struggle to defend in those situations, which would lead them to give up open shots that would lead to baskets.  He also would tend to commit reach-in fouls in inopportune situations.  Another time, he didn’t move his feet very well and got beat off the dribble, which lead him to commit a reach-in foul when defending out on the perimeter.

Overall, Duan is an agile, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball.  He will need to show NBA teams that he can reliably run the point and defend upper-echelon opponents, but if he keeps working hard, he get end up on the radar of NBA teams as a possible draft prospect sometime in the future.

Other Notes, Part II:

They also showed highlights of previous games both before the April 14th game, and during the halftime of this game. Here are my thoughts on how Cui and Yang looked in those highlights.

From these highlights, Cui showed a decent ability to score off the dribble. He was able to get a crafty score on a dribble handoff off of a screen. Another time though, he missed on a contested floater in traffic. He also was able to run the floor and catch a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk to show some leaping ability.

He also passed the ball well in these highlights, and Cui showed a knack for throwing accurate passes to find teammates in stride to set up scores for them on the break. He also was able to leap up to get a defensive board in one of these highlights. Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. He was able to poke a ball away from an opposing ball handler and dive on the ground for a loose ball to get a steal. On the other hand, there was one play where he was out of position and tried to go for a steal, but missed and ended up allowing his man to score on a drive. Overall from these highlights, Cui was much more of an athletic, energy player than a shooter. He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter in games, but his solid skill level and versatility could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider late in the 2024 draft.

In these highlights, Hansen Yang looked considerably better than how he fared in the April 14th game. He also looked much more aggressive and athletic in these highlights, and the halftime show of the April 14th game consisted of mostly Yang highlights.

He showed off a satisfactory ability to score out of the post. Yang was able to use a shoulder fake to score on a jump hook. He also used a drop step to score on a powerful dunk. He also was able to score on an up and under move, though his move looked mechanical and not very fluid. On one play though, he used a spin move but missed on a jump hook another time. There was another play where he was able to set up down low, but missed it short.

He also excelled as a finisher around the basket. He tended to throw down powerful dunks on rolls to the rim, and Yang looked to be at his most athletic when throwing down strong jams after getting the ball on rolls to the basket. He also was able to run in to score on a tip-in, and Yang also was able to throw down a dunk another time.

Also, Yang showed a decent ability to score off the dribble. His moves didn’t look very fluid, but he was able to score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also was able to use a pump fake to get to the rim once. He was able to accelerate and score on a powerful dunk on a strong drive once. He also can use subtle dribble moves to score and finish plays at the rim. On the other hand, sometimes he showed off very questionable footwork where it would look like he was getting away with traveling, but as they didn’t call it traveling, Yang was able to score in those situations.

He also looked to be a solid passer in these highlights. Yang would throw solid interior passes to find cutters on the move, and he threw solid touch passes to notch assists. He also was shown as having been able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, as he will go and grab rebounds.

In addition, he looked to be a solid rim protector defensively in these highlights. In these situations, he would use his length and timing in order to rotate and block shots, and sometimes he would be able to swat balls to his teammates. Yang would use his great length to wall off the paint, which would make it difficult for his opponents to get their shots off around the basket.

Overall, Yang looked considerably better in the highlights than he did in the April 14th game. In the April 14th game, he looked sluggish and immobile, and his lack of aggressiveness and unwillingness to defend shooters out on the perimeter would raise major questions about his ability to play well in the NBA, as his athletic limitations could potentially be a significant hindrance at that level. In the highlights, he looked considerably more athletic, as he showed that he can be a rim runner and rim protector on both ends of the floor. He will still need to add a reliable jump shot to his arsenal out to beyond the arc, and he will need to improve his mobility and ability to defend out on the perimeter. Right now, he is a second round prospect for the 2025 draft, but he will need to make these improvements to improve his chances to succeed in the NBA in the future.

All in all, those are my thoughts on Cui and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

NBA Scouting Live
error: Content is protected !!