"It would be unfair to Yi, unfair to Charlie Villanueva, unfair
to a lot of people because nothing is being handed to anyone coming
into training camp," Krystkowiak said during the Bucks' annual
media day. "I think what happened was that after he was signed,
there was such pressure that he wouldn't play here after the draft,
that a certain amount of face had to be saved."
Bucks general manager Larry Harris, who took part in the
negotiations with Yi and his representatives from China in August,
confirmed there "were no commitment or promises made about
"The only commitment made was that we would develop him,"
Harris said. "He did not want to come to a team where he would
languish on the bench. You make a pick that high, of course, we had
visions of him playing. We knew the talent he had and we knew the
kind of upside he has."
Harris said Yi's representatives understood the significance of
him agreeing to play for the Bucks.
"It is much different than most any other country in the
world," he said. "We promised that we would make him the player
we think he can be, he thinks he can be and his whole country, all
1.3 billion of them can be proud of."
On the other hand, Krystkowiak expects Yi to be a big part of
the team this season because of his basketball skills.
"We wouldn't have taken him if we didn't want to develop him to
be a major part of our team," he said. "We are going to do what
we are supposed to do and that is make him as good as he can
Yi, who arrived in Milwaukee for Thursday's practice after a
15-hour flight from Shanghai, was followed around the court at
media day by a pack of reporters and photographers. His every move
was captured and recorded by a group of Chinese journalists, who
had followed him to Milwaukee.
Yi said he was anxious to compete against NBA players.
"I am looking forward to beginning my NBA career and learning
how to play in this league," he said through an interpreter.
Krystkowiak and several players said they are not concerned
about being able to communicate with Yi because he already
understands a lot of English. Krystkowiak said he initially was
going to learn some Chinese or put a translator on the team's
"It was [Yi's] decision that he wants to learn more English,"
Krystkowiak said. "He's the one taking the bull by the horns."
Krystkowiak said the team may use more hand signals to call
plays or use play cards to ensure there is no chance for a
Guard Michael Redd said Yi is already pretty good about
communicating on the basketball court.
"We were in the locker room yesterday and he said, 'What's good
Mike,' " Redd said. "He's got a little bit of style and swagger
Guard Mo Williams said the increased national and international
spotlight because of Yi's presence would help other players on the
"Being a small market, we are never on television and never get
publicity," he said. "But now the spotlight will be on us. We
have to come out and compete and show the world that we're a good
Added Redd: "I'm glad to have him on the team. I gave him a big
old hug when I saw him yesterday. He's a joy to be around so far.
He learns quickly."
"This is the most talented team we have had in my five years as
general manager," he said. "I expect us to be good this year and
for many years to come."