"I'm happy to be here," Yi told reporters through a translator before the game.
"I know there's a lot of Chinese people watching this game and that makes me really happy."
Larry Krystkowiak, Milwaukee coach, said there was room for improvement as Yi grew stronger and more confident going to the hoop, but he said the young Chinese had more than satisfied expectations.
"More than anything I love his work ethic and I love his ability to be coached."
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks star on his teammate Yi.
"When you draft a rookie, you never know exactly how that person is going to respond when they come into the NBA," Krystkowiak said.
"I think it's safe to say he's one of those people who has surprised some people, opened some people's eyes."
Yi was the Bucks' first-round pick, and sixth overall in last year's draft after helping the Guandong Tigers win three Chinese Basketball Association titles in a row.
"He's very impressive," said Michael Redd, Milwaukee's leading scorer.
"More than anything I love his work ethic and I love his ability to be coached.
"He can shoot the basketball and take you off the dribble. A 7-footer doing that, he can eventually be a match-up nightmare."
Big future for Yi
Andrew Bogut, Bucks starting center, said Yi was a big part of the team.
"He's fitting in fine," Bogut told Reuters in the Milwaukee locker room before the game.
"He's ready to play in the league, no doubt about that. He's very athletic and very, very fast."
Despite falling to their sixth loss in seven road games, Yi said there was a lot of time for the Bucks to improve.
"This leaves a strong impression in our minds," the lanky Yi said.
"I had two fouls early in the game and it was hard to avoid because (Zach) Randolph is a really strong guy and that contributed to my play later.
"But we still realise we have more than 60 games to play. This is just an opportunity for us to think about how to play better in the future."