Liaoning ranks second in the Chinese league in wins at the moment, having won 30 of its 35 games. Lester Hudson’s volume shot making has been the driving force for such a successful campaign but Han Dejun’s interior scoring has also played a role. The “Chinese Shaq” is having a very efficient season, averaging 1.76 points per shot on 294 attempts – according to realgm.com. In his 961 minutes, Liaoning is averaging 123 points per 100 possessions.
Han does most of his work out of the post. He uses the strength in his seven-foot-one, 299-pound frame to establish deep position and back opponents down to neutralize a potential block attempt. Often managing to get separation for his right-handed hook within close range, Han has good touch on his finishes, converting 63% of his shots.
Due to the physical nature of his style of play, he’s also managed to draw shooting fouls in volume and has averaged 7.1 free throws per 36 minutes, converting 73.6% of them. That is not to say Han is a black hole, though. In fact, his court vision scanning the floor with his back to the basket is quite impressive, as he’s proven able to identify teammates sliding to the rim behind the defense or rotating to an open spot around the perimeter.
More athletic types give him a lot of trouble, though, as Han struggles to finish and pass around length due to his limited athleticism. His 17.4% turnover rate is quite high in the context of his 21.1% usage rate. His lack of quickness and elevation keep him from being a good option out of the pick-and-roll and making an impact on the offensive glass. He also rarely even looks at the rim when he catches the ball above the foul line.
Han is a good screener whose big frame makes it a chore for on-ball defenders to navigate his picks and has soft hands to catch the ball on the move but can’t dive down the lane with much speed or finish strong in traffic. He’s able to establish inside position below the basket but can’t reach the ball at a high point for putbacks or track the ball off the rim quickly enough to rebound outside of his area. Whatever catch-and-score opportunities he gets come from sneaking behind the defense on the baseline and getting a dump-off from Ailun Guo or Lester Hudson out of dribble penetration.
Han has looked a bit more nimble within short range on the other end, exhibiting some friskiness guarding the pick-and-roll flat and lateral mobility to stay in front of less athletic big men when they tried taking him off the bounce. But he does not play above the rim as shot blocker and is not suited to defend in space under any circumstance, lacking the feet agility to hedge-and-recover on the pick-and-roll and closing speed to contest shots outside the lane.
His general size clogging the lane is nonetheless effective and Liaoning is preventing scoring more successfully on a per-possession basis with him on the court. His big rebounding area is more of a factor on the defensive glass, as he looks to boxout diligently and has collected 22.8% of opponents’ misses, which ranks him in the top 20. An issue is that Han is quite the target for opponents to seek contact and as a result, his minutes need to be managed. He’s averaging 5.3 fouls per 48 minutes, which is limiting him to just 27.5 minutes per game this season.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here and at BballBreakdown or at Upside & Motor, a couple of websites where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.