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Mavericks Use Final Roster Spot On Yi Jianlian

A day after reporting that the Mavericks would likely sign center Kyrylo Fesenko, Marc Stein says that they will opt for forward Yi Jianlian instead.

After flirting with various spare centers, including Kyrylo Fesenko, the Dallas Mavericks opted to use their 15th roster spot on enigmatic Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Jianlian has been in China, and Stein says that he'll spend some time with the Mavs' developmental league affiliate up in Frisco for conditioning before joining the team.

Jianlian is skilled for a seven-footer and was the sixth pick in the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks with the thought that he could develop into a Dirk Nowitzki style of player, but his game hasn't developed. After averaging double figures for the first time in 2009-10 for New Jersey, he moved to Washington last season and saw his minutes nearly cut in half.

He isn't a bad rebounder, with a 5.3 career average in 24.1 minutes, but he isn't a great defender, and his offensive efficiency still lags. He's still just 24, though, so Dallas will take a look at him on the one-year deal and hope that he can provide them with forward depth.

The decision to use the final spot on a forward presumably was made easier by solid performances from Sean Williams and Ian Mahinmi at center in the team's first few games.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.