Houston Rockets 2015 NBA Draft: What if… Zhou Qi?
By Trey Oursler
Houston Rockets 2015 NBA Draft Prospect: Zhou Qi
What if the Rockets drafted Zhou Qi with their second-round pick to add some extra height to the front line, or at least add him to the roster for the future?
This year’s NBA Draft will be held on Thursday June 25th, where many college students and international hopefuls will get their chance at an NBA roster. Last week we highlighted shooting guard Justise Winslow from Duke to add to the bench as the Rockets more than likely won’t draft anyone to start, barring any major collapses in the playoffs.
Zhou Qi is 7’1 center that played for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, the CBA team with the highest payroll this season, and they were sucked out of the playoffs losing two games days before the season ended. Qi is 18-years-old and averages 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks a game against grown men, which he will see in the NBA. He has some interesting abilities on the court including:
- Fantastic passing out of the post
- Although he is only 220lbs (extremely skinny for his height), he can block shots with the best of them
- Solid ball handling
- Offensive game is polished, much like when Donatas Motiejunas came in and improved from working with Rockets’ staff
Credit: Paul Kane View image | gettyimages.com
Photo credit: Paul Kane – Getty Images Sport, gettyimages.com
With Qi backing up Dwight Howard and Motiejunas sharing time with Terrence Jones/Josh Smith at the PF, the Rockets could have a stable in the front court. It would also give teams a different look when he comes into the game compared to guarding Howard who keeps his back to the basket for the most part.
I know the video down below says it and a lot of talk is going around that Zhou Qi is the next Yao Ming, but Yao entered the 2002 Draft as a solid, 22-year-old that was bred to play the game from a young age.
Zhou Qi is very skilled and has all the potential in the world if he can get together and learn some things from the eight time All-Star.
Hakeem Olajuwon is the Rockets consultant that helps groom some of the player’s in the locker room as of the last few seasons, but I’m sure a newcomer from the same country could help intrigue Yao to show him a few tips.
Yao was a Technical Consultant for the recent Chinese National Team, but this young star still needs a little personal training.
On top of being invited to this year’s Nike Hoop Summit 2015 along with the world’s best players, Qi signed a shoe deal with Nike along with other fellow Chinese National center and possible prospect Wang Zhelin.
Qi will train in the states prior to the Summit in mid-April so that his skills will be top-notch come the showcase.
Many thought Qi was going to clearly sign with Li Ning, a trending brand in the states, but once the offer for the Summit came, everything else played itself out between Qi and Nike.
Rockets won’t exactly get the cream of the crop in the draft considering everyone in Houston expects a solid playoff run, however not everyone expects Qi to declare for the 2015 Draft either. Depending on his showing at the Hoop Summit, Qi is liable to raise or blow his stock tremendously.
DraftExpress.com has Qi ranked at pick 15 in next year’s 2016 NBA Draft, but others such as USA Today Sports’ Sam Vecenie have him rated at pick 50 overall in this year’s draft which could leave him right in the mix for the Rockets. Draft Express assumes the Rockets will get the early pick from the Pelicans and draft Jerian Grant at pick 13, only to draft Cliff Alexander at pick 31 after trading picks with the New York Knicks.
Maybe the right thing for him to do is stay in China another year and try to get more physical? Or he could drop 30 in Portland during the Hoop Summit and someone could scoop him in the second round, right now he is very on-the-fence as far as entering the draft. If anything, the Rockets could at least grab the rights to him in the second round and let him progress overseas, once again assuming we have a respectable playoff run.
What about the D-League? Wouldn’t coming over to America to learn terms, chemistry and other necessary changes benefit him in the long run. Going to a D-1 college wouldn’t help much as he probably wouldn’t see many minutes, and any lower college level would be under the level he plays at in China. A D-League stint could give him time to get acquainted as well as let him get use to the humidity in the state.
Next: What about JustiCE Winslow?
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