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.
More from Space City Scoop
- Rockets: Time to return the slander towards Rachel Nichols
- What the Rockets must do with the second overall pick
- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
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.
Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for more updates on Zhou Qi’s progression with the Houston Rockets.