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Asia Cup's best scorers since 2007

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Only 43 days remain before the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, and as excitement continues to build up, it is worth looking back at some of the best players to ever grace the competition.

In particular, let us remember a few of the most phenomenal scorers to ever play at the FIBA Asia level. Here are three players who are considered superstars not only in their own countries but all over Asia as well. These are three studs who, since 2007, have ranked among the continent's most dangerous and explosive offensive weapons.

Players with most points scored since FIBA Asia Cup 2007
Yi Jianlian (China)
Let's begin with the best player produced by China since Yao Ming - Yi Jianlian. The 2.13m big man from GuangDong has been China's main man since the 2.29m Yao played his final international game at the Beijing Olympics. Yi missed the FIBA Asia Championship 2007 because China sent a B Team, but had he played, he would have certainly been the squad's best player and would have added to his already impressive overall point total of 551 points.

Nevertheless, Yi remains the toughest assignment for any of China's opponents, given his size, his ability to finish around the basket and his range. His mobility, basketball IQ and experience also give him quite the edge when playing for Team Dragon, and it should not be a surprise if he averages close to a 20-10 line for their national team's next tournament. Should that happen, Yi will easily pass the next guy on this list.

Samad Nikkhah Bahrami (Iran)
Bahrami's legend has been built on his consistently strong performances over the last decade. Ever since debuting for Iran at the FIBA Asia Championship 2007, the 1.98m wingman has been a nightmare matchup for anyone unfortunate enough to be assigned to guard him. What makes Bahrami so good is his versatility. He is bigger than most Asians who play his position, and yet he is just as quick and agile.

His great ball-handling combined with his aggressiveness and range have helped him regularly slice and dice opposing defenses to shreds. Remember how he tore Japan up by scoring 35 points at the FIBA Asia Championship 2015 battle for third place? That was exhibit A in just how potent Bahrami is. It's too bad we probably won't see him at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, but we cannot discount a possible return, especially for someone as revered as him.

Hamed Haddadi (Iran)
As good as Bahrami is, perhaps the biggest reason (quite literally) for Iran's rise in the Asian basketball scene in the past decade has been the presence of gargantuan center Hamed Haddadi. Yi may have inherited Yao's mantle of leadership for China, but Haddadi has become the continent's most immovable force in the paint since Yao retired from Asian play. One of his best games, of course, came in his very first senior level tournament when he tallied 31 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 13-of-17 from the field against Lebanon to win Iran's first Asian crown at the FIBA Asia Championship 2007 in Tokushima.

At 2.18m, Haddadi towers above nearly everyone else in Asia, but his size is not the only element that makes him so unstoppable. The Ahvaz, Iran native is surprisingly agile relative to his size, and he finishes really well around the hole. Early on, all he did was back his foes down in the low block, but Haddadi has also learned to move well off the ball and score from as far out as three-point range. That's what makes the hulking slotman so dangerous - he has found ways to adapt to the evolution of the way the Iranian national side plays. That's a big reason he is still one of their main cogs to this day, and it's why he will continue to play a major role for them this year.

Source: http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/news/asia-cups-best-scorers-since-2007

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