The Houston Rockets this offseason have made a concerted effort to revamp their roster with a plethora of new talent.
One of those incoming pieces to the puzzle is big man Zhou Qi, who the Rockets selected with the 43rd overall pick in last year’s draft. He officially inked a four-year deal with the team on Thursday afternoon to which general manager Daryl Morey wasted little time in placing the huge weight of expectations on his shoulders.
Daryl Morey: "We feel that Zhou Qi has the potential to be the best Chinese player since Yao Ming." Rockets made Zhou's signing official.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 6, 2017
The comparison to Yao Ming is some big shoes to fill for the 21-year-old as the Hall of Famer was an elite talent in the league during his heyday before foot injuries cut his illustrious career short. Zhou has quickly made a strong impression on the organization through his Summer League workouts.
The 7-foot-2 big man demonstrated during his stint in the Chinese Basketball Association that he can be a major factor on both ends of the floor as he led the league with 3.2 blocks per game while showing to have an outside shooting touch that can stretch out to the 3-point line.
His ability on the offensive end of the floor could lend well in the NBA especially with the Rockets’ All-Star backcourt duo of James Harden and Chris Paul, who both operate extremely well out of the pick-and-roll. Zhou could become an effective pick-and-pop option offensively while being a valuable asset defensively as a rim protector.
If Zhou can become an essence of the player that Yao was during his NBA career, it would tremendously benefit to the Rockets in helping lift them into NBA title contenders over the next few seasons.