Rockets News

Zhou Qi Reportedly in Houston to Train with Rockets

Aug 10, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; China center Qi Zhou (15) and Venezuela center Miguel Marriaga (4) go for the ball during the men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; China center Qi Zhou (15) and Venezuela center Miguel Marriaga (4) go for the ball during the men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
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Per multiple sources, Houston Rockets 2016 draftee Zhou Qi is in Houston to train with the team in hopes of securing a contract for the 2017-2018 season.

The Houston Rockets’ decision to draft Yao Ming in 2002 was risky but turned out to be genius. Like many other teams who have drafted transcendent talent before, however, the Rockets will probably waste picks in the future trying to repeat their past success. In the 2016 draft, the team used its second round pick to claim Zhou Qi, an up-and-coming Chinese stretch big.

Zhou played for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers this past season in the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. The 7’2″ center had a soft shooting touch as well, connecting on 36% of his threes this year. Upon first glance, he seems like the kind of talent who could fit right alongside the Rockets right now. Indeed he does possess the basic skill set to succeed in today’s NBA, but he lacks the strength and physicality to be able to body up with the league’s average big man.

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Fortunately for both parties, Zhou is in Houston to train with the Rockets, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. He hopes the workouts will lead to a contract offer for next season, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Now before anyone proclaims that Houston found the next Yao Ming, let me make it clear that Zhou is not that player. There’s a reason he was drafted a full 42 spots further down in the draft than his supposed predecessor. Barring an unforeseen stroke of luck, Zhou’s realistic ceiling is as a midlevel supporting cast center. Unlike Yao, he has little hope of ever seeing the Hall of Fame.

However, Red Nation can still look forward to watching Zhou’s development. Stretch bigs will be in high demand for the next few seasons, Houston is sitting pretty.

Next: Trevor Ariza: Houston's Quiet Leader

Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for more updates on Zhou Qi’s progression with the Houston Rockets.

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