Chinese big man Zhou Qi didn’t wait for the Summer League season to try making an impression in front of Houston Rockets scouts and front-office executives. According to the Houston Chronicle, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers star arrived in Houston this week to train with the Rockets, with the hope of landing an #NBA contract next season.

The Chinese Porzingis?

After he was 43rd overall in the 2016 Draft, Zhou decided to spend one more year in CBA on honing his skills and bulking up his lanky 7-foor-2 frame. He averaged at least 16 points and ten rebounds and helped the Flying Tigers win the Chinese Basketball Association championship last April.

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Unfortunately, Zhou suffered a thumb injury after a collision with NBA veteran and Guangdong Southern Tigers forward Carlos Boozer in the highly-physical CBA finals. This injury will likely rule him out of the Summer League around July. Nevertheless, the Chinese big is hopeful that his performance during his training with the Rockets will help him get an NBA contract.

"We will be training with the Rockets We are looking forward to sitting down and talking and seeing what might happen in the future. His dream is to one day play in the NBA. Right now, we are focused on training," Zhou’s agent Tony Leng told the Houston Chronicle.

Zhou was already on the radar of several NBA scouts before entering the NBA Draft. With incredible wings span (almost 8ft) and great mobility at his size, his enormous defensive potential is obviously there.

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Zhou also has the ability to knock down 18-footer at an efficient rate, making him sort of a poor man’s version of New York Knicks sensation Kristaps Porzingis.

“The list of pluses Zhou brings is far longer. His wingspan and agility help give him a strong defensive presence, and he moves well. But his biggest asset is his shooting ability — 18-footers often seem like layups to him, and he's working on extending his consistent range out to the NBA 3-point line,” per CBC Sports scouting report.

Fit with the Rockets

After guiding the Rockets to 55 regular-season wins and into the second round of the playoffs, Mike D’Antoni is expected to retool his system and make it as explosive as ever next season. However, if Zhou lives up to the hype, the Rockets are looking at a potential defensive gem who can protect the rim and defend pick-and-roll plays with his wings span. Moreover, should he develop his outside shooting to NBA-level efficiency, Zhou may turn out to be a cornerstone for this team.

For now, Zhou could be the ideal backup center for #Clint Capela with Nene set to hit the free-agency market. Letting Nene walk away would be tough for the Rockets, considering the production (9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17 minutes per game) he put up last season. However, the Rockets are looking at a pretty good insurance policy in Zhou, if Nene looks for more greens elsewhere.