The East Asia Super League Terrific 12 will feature some of the best pro clubs in Asia starting on September 17, and they’re absolutely loaded with great talent.
Vying for Asia’s supremacy in a competitive playing field, these teams have gone out of their way to pick out some top-caliber imports — including some former NBA standouts. Three teams from the PBA — the San Miguel Beermen, TNT Katropa, and Blackwater Elite — have already tapped their reinforcements for the upcoming tourney.
Today, FOX Sports Philippines previews some of the other notable reinforcements that will suit up in Macau.
Shenzhen Aviators — Pierre Jackson and Shabazz Muhammad
One of the participants from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), the Shenzhen Aviators are set to field in NBA standouts Pierre Jackson and Shabazz Muhammad to their already-deep lineup.
Pierre Jackson was a former second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He has played in the G-League, Turkey, Croatia, Israel, and in China where he initially found his home playing for the Beijing Fly Dragons.
The diminutive guard can drive to the lane well and can shoot from outside. He will be the primary facilitator for the Aviators.
Shabazz Muhammad, on the other hand, is an another NBA addition after failing to find his place in the said league. The hefty wing has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks in a six-year span. He last played for the Shanxi Brave Dragons last season in the CBA.
The UCLA product can light up the scoreboard when needed. He can create shots off the bounce and can shoot well from distance too.
Liaoning Flying Leopards — Lance Stephenson, Brandon Bass, and Salah Mejri
The pair of Lance Stephenson and Brandon Bass makes the Liaoning Flying Leopards one of the favorites in this tournament. After all, the two have had extensive experiences in playing in the NBA.
After failing to secure an extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, Stephenson is set to bring his act to China — bolstering their wing depth. The mercurial guard is an adept playmaker and facilitator as he can set up his teammates for an easy bucket.
The 2010 NBA draftee played for the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to joining the LeBron James-led Lakers last season.
Meanwhile, Brandon Bass shores up the Leopards’ interior thanks to his heft and physical nature. Despite being undersized, the 6-foot-8 power forward can bang bodies against the best of them and he can shoot the midrange jumper as well.
The LSU alum played for 12 years in the NBA before going over to China. All in all, he played for the New Orleans Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Manning the center spot is former Dallas Maverick Salah Mejri. The Tunisian slotman will join the already-loaded squad in the Terrific 12 fresh from his strong performance in the FIBA World Cup. In five games of the tournament, he posted norms of 16.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game.
Mejri will be a handful to defend as he can bang bodies in the interior and he can knock down threes when needed. The 33-year-old center is also an adept shot blocker and defender given his height and heft.
KJ McDaniels — TNT KaTropa
TNT KaTropa is set to bring in another former Houston Rocket in KJ McDaniels. Like Terrence Jones, McDaniels spent a considerable amount of time playing for the Texas-based club.
His skills will be put to the test right away as he will lead the MVP-backed squad in the Terrific 12 against star-studded teams. McDaniels’ mix of athleticism and perimeters skills will be a huge addition for Coach Bong Ravena.