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Jeremy Lin has joined the Beijing Shougang Ducks basketball team for the 2019/20 CBA season. Photo: Simon Song

Beijing Ducks’ Jeremy Lin can break Chinese Basketball Association records while CBA championship would bring Stephon Marbury status

  • All eyes on NBA champion expected to make debut against Tianjin Pioneers on November 3 as new team aims for play-offs
  • US imports have dominated the record books and there’s no reason 31-year-old can not add his name with career highs
Jeremy Lin is already the face of the Chinese Basketball Association, having appeared on stage with president Yao Ming at the season-opening event in Beijing last week.
This is before Lin has even played a game for the Beijing Shougang Ducks.

His first is on November 3 against local rivals Tianjin Pioneers in the city that Beijing is slowly swallowing up into its suburbs.

What can we expect from Lin in Beijing? He is excited by the prospect of leading a team and the workload will undoubtedly be easier than the slog of the NBA regular season’s 82-game marathon. There is an expectation on a player of his talent, one who has an NBA championship ring, to deliver. He has promised to “make history”.

If preseason is any indication, there will be no disappointment on that count.

Lin’s game-high score in the NBA is 38 points. He did it against the Los Angeles Lakers at the peak of “Linsanity” in February 2012, as he inspired the New York Knicks to a win over Kobe Bryant’s Lakers, and he did it again in December of the same year against the San Antonio Spurs.

He never reached those heights again in the NBA, but has already bettered it in a Ducks uniform. Lin dropped 40 points in a preseason loss to Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in October.

Once the regular season starts, there’s no reason to expect anything other than career bests, but what about the best marks in the CBA?

The high point remains Erick McCollum’s 82-point mark in 2015, a game where he scored 74.5 per cent of his team’s points on the night. Despite the high bar, his Zhejiang Golden Bulls lost 119-129 to the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Jimmer Fredette has come closest since. The Shanghai Sharks man lit up last season with a monster 75 against the Beikong Fly Dragons, a total that matched CBA legend Quincy Douby for joint second on the list.

Douby dropped his 75 when with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in 2013, and it came as part of a 154–129 win over the Shanxi Brave Dragons.

Jared Cunningham was at the Tongxi Monkey Kings when he scored 74 in a 129–148 loss to the Fujian Sturgeons in 2016, while Fredette also had a 73-point game back in 2017, when the Sharks lost 132–135 to the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions, although that came after two overtimes.

The highest single game score by a Chinese player is Sun Yun’s 70 for the Jilin Northeast Tigers in 2000.

Lin has spoken of his basketball philosophy and how he wants to lead his team offensively, while still playing down the importance of shouldering the burden of points scoring.

Instead, he would like to assist others. Again, his own benchmark from the NBA comes from the Linsanity era and 14 assists against the Dallas Mavericks in February 2012.

Are China leagues relying too much on foreigners to score points and goals?

The CBA record is double that: Li Qun’s 28 for the Guangdong Southern Tigers against the Nanjing Army side in 2000. Li’s team won 110-101.

Similarly, Lin’s nine three-pointers against the Philadelphia 76ers in November 2013, when he was with the Houston Rockets, is his NBA career high.

That’s fewer than the 15 made by Leon Rodgers for the Jilin Northeast Tigers in a 124-110 win over Shanxi Brave Dragons in March, 2009.

Another record the highest-profile player in the league might aspire to is making shots from the foul line. Lin’s career record in the NBA peaked with 16 against the Boston Celtics when at the Brookyln Nets in 2017.

The CBA record is somewhat larger. Unsurprisingly, it happened in the same game in which McCollum dropped 82 against the Guangdong Southern Tigers. He shot 25 of those points from the foul line.

After a few good games, and maybe a few of these records, Lin fans can start to dream of breaking CBA season records.

Most points in a season was set by Darius Adams with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers last season. Adams scored 1,648 points as the team finished third in the regular season and made it to the play-off finals. He was also named International MVP. Jimmer Fredette scored 1,620.

The assists record was set by Courtney Fortson the season before. His 563 was set in a season where he too was named International MVP as Zhejiang Lions finished top of the regular season table and reached the play-off finals.

It was the season before that where Lester Hudson set the bar with 252 three-pointers. That haul helped the Liaoning Flying Leopards to the play-offs, where they reached the semis.

Going deep into the play-offs is the reason that the 31-year-old was recruited. The dream is for the team to win a first CBA championship since 2015. If Lin can deliver that then he will be held in similar esteem to the man who inspired the first title in 2012 and the back to back wins of 2014 and 2015.

Stephon Marbury is the benchmark for success on and off the court in Beijing. He reinvented himself in the Chinese capital. He not only has three rings but a museum dedicated to his exploits, as well as being given the freedom of the city.

Marbury has since become coach of the Ducks’ rivals, the Beijing Royal Fighters. Who knows what the future holds for Lin?