Zhou Qi made his NBA Summer League debut on Friday, and more than impressed, scoring 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting, hitting a couple of three-pointers (on six attempts), and grabbing 6 rebounds. Not bad for a wispy 21-year-old Chinese kid with a funny haircut.
We barely need to say it, but the caveat is this was summer league, filled with rookies and minor league players, where the competition is fringe-NBA level at best. But it Zhou looked legit in the highlight video above, or at least like he belongs. He moved fluidly, filled the right spaces, made the right passes, and took the right shots (of course, all shots look good in a highlight video, but you get the point). And most importantly, this project picked 43rd overall two drafts ago has Chinese and Houston Rockets fans excited.
Zhou Qi was top headline on Sina’s CBA page over the weekend: “Foreign netizens warm up to Zhou Qi: he + Paul + Harden = Rockets’ Big Three.”
Fans sure can dream. We’ll definitely be watching to see how he looks with James Harden and the newly acquired Chris Paul.
(It was slightly weird that the announcers kept referring to Zhou by his first name, Qi — “Chee” — but they’ll learn soon enough if he follows up with performances like this one.)
POSTSCRIPT: Ding Yanyuhang, the other Chinese player at NBA Summer League, is holding his own, if not quite keeping pace. Check out his great crossover early on in the below video: