The Houston Rockets chose the 7-foot-3 Zhou Qi as the 43rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night.
Zhou Qi, often considered as “China’s Hope”, was frequently compared to Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas Mavericks. He has the ability to shoot from the perimeter despite his towering height. The Chinese big man was predicted to be picked in the late first-round but was selected in the second round.
There were speculations in the past that Zhou Qi’s physique should be enhanced for him to be fitted in the center position. This might be the reason why the other teams decided to pass on him in spite of his towering height and accuracy in the perimeter.
Zhou Qi was also considered as the Yao Ming 2.0. Yao Ming was also drafted by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in 2002. According to SB Nation, the Rockets are expected to keep him in China for the upcoming season and will bring him over for the 2017-18 NBA season. Zhou Qi should use this time to enhance his physique to be able to fit for the center position.
There two possible factors that affected the Houston Rockets’ decision to choose him in the draft. One is the decision of Dwight Howard to leave the team and become a free agent on July 1. Howard did not work well with the Rockets in the past season because of his dispute with co-star James Harden regarding being the main focus on the offensive end.
The Rockets might have seen the potential in Zhou Qi so they decided to pick him. Another thing is the influence of Yao Ming. Yao Ming and Zhou Qi have similarities based on their height and built. Zhou Qi’s accuracy in the perimeter could also be a major factor.
The Houston Rockets also used their 37th pick to acquire 6-foot-10 Chinanu Onuaku. The Rockets seemed to be serious in filling up the position that Dwight Howard left. The two second-round selections may not be as good as Howard but they have shown the potential to be big contributors in the future.
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