Zhou Qi showcases solid play in loss to Venezuela

By Coty Davis

With Team China down 0-3 in Olympic play, with Houston Rockets rookie Zhou Qi showcasing solid play.

Houston Rockets‘ second-round pick, Zhou Qi had another solid performance despite a third straight loss by Team China. In their third game China fell to Team Venezuela 72-68 during Day five of Olympic play.

Game Stats:

25:43 Minutes,11 Points, 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, 80% Field Goal Percent.

Zhou’s positives:

For the first time in the 2016 Rio Olympic Zhou Qi showcased the skills that made him a 2015 CBA Champion. Despite Team China losing a third game in a row, Qi showed glimpses of a solid NBA player. Similar to the way he played against Team USA earlier this summer.

Much like Qi did against Deandre Jordan and Demarcus Cousins, Qi did an impressive job holding his own against Venezuela’s big men.

Qi has a solid post game, but it’s his ability to shoot that makes him an offensive threat. With his mid-range game, Qi was a consistent scorer throughout the night for Team China.

In fact, if it was not for the high volume scoring from former NBA player Jianlian Yi, Qi may have scored over 20 points. Qi’s performance included strong ball handling skills.

Few players over 7’0″ can handle the ball and create shots for himself. Watching Qi create space between himself and his defenders. It feels like watching a guard who is trapped in a big man’s body.

Areas to improve:

Unfortunately, the same lack of physicality made Qi a defensive liability as he repeated got exposed  by Venezuela’s big men. The main benefactor of Qi’s defensive short comings was  Venezuela’s Nestor Colmenares.

Not only was Qi getting killed in the low post, but his rebounding was atrocious. For his size, it’s inexcusable to finish without a single rebound. For Qi to gain playing time with the Rockets he’ll need to improve his defense and rebounding skills.

With his national team 0-3 in Olympic play, Qi’s time in Rio is quickly coming to an end. It’s sad because he should have used this stage to prove to the Rockets that he deserves a contract.

If he continues the inconsistent play this summer, expect Qi to spend another year developing in China before making his mark in the NBA.

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