Lakers Draft Prospects: Could LA Take Zhou Qi At 32nd Overall?

As of late the Los Angeles Lakers have had plenty of success with their late draft picks, could Chinese prospect Zhou Qi be an option for them at 32nd overall?

With picks of Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown late in the last two drafts, the Lakers have arguably had more success with their later picks than their top ones. But that should be no surprise considering the often unrealistic, “savior-esque” expectations placed on lottery picks.

While much of the news surrounding the Lakers’ upcoming draft has been about what they will ultimately do with their second overall pick, many have overlooked the fact that they also have the 32nd pick as well.

Thon Maker has been a name that has floated around when the late pick is mentioned but a new challenger has arrived in China’s 20 year old, 7’2 Zhou Qi.

Whenever a seven foot prospect comes out of China, the immediate comparison is obviously Yao Ming, but in a recent interview with NBC Sports, Qi made it known that he’s his own player entirely.

In regards to his relationship with Yao, Qi revealed,

We have been in touch… He shared a lot of his experience with me, mainly about training. I observed (what he did) when he came here back then, he told me of what he went through when he came, such as things to which to pay attention, and that the competition here can be tough. . .

I think I have my own style of play… Who am I like? I’m not like anyone. I’m like myself.

This draft, more so than others, is dominated by overseas prospects which is a great look for the NBA. Players like Dragan Bender of Croatia, Furkan Korkmaz of Turkey, Timothe Luwawu of Serbia, Juan Hernangomez of Spain and even Buddy Hield from the Bahamas all look to make their mark in the Association.

In specific regards to Qi, he is oh so smooth on the basketball court, just watch his scouting video for proof and despite his insistence that he’s his own player, a la Allen Iverson, the Pau Gasol comparison is readily available.

Practically since the departure of Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers have been desperately searching to fill their void at center, so it’s likely that they do their due diligence when scouting Qi this summer. But seeing how Draft Express has him pegged to go 26th overall, whether or not he’ll actually still be available for selecting remains to be seen.

This is an exciting time for the Lakers as the possibilities seem nearly endless, so for now, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Happy days are here again.