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Zhou Qi: a potential high-upside gamble for the Celtics?

Yup, I couldn't find a picture of him.

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

With three first-round picks and five more second-rounders, the Celtics have the option of taking a chance on a guy with high upside. They could and probably should look into options for draft-and-stash candidates as well. One such guy might be the extremely long Zhou Qi from China.

Zhou Qi's potential could lead to much NBA draft intrigue - Yahoo Sports

Zhou may draw plenty of intrigue. He stands just over 7-foot-2 in sneakers, has a wingspan just shy of 8 feet and can nearly touch the rim while standing flat-footed. He is a big man with shooting-guard skills, China's next NBA hope, a 20-year-old who's already a pro at home and now wants to get on the game's biggest stage.

The Celtics brought him in for a workout and seemed impressed.

Celtics Host Jam-Packed Day of Pre-Draft Workouts | Boston Celtics

That length, coupled with his soft touch and shot-blocking ability, is why he's been on Boston's radar for a while. "I went to China and saw him play," said Austin Ainge. "We’ve known about him for a couple of years. He’s probably the third- or fourth-most recognized name in Chinese basketball, so he’s a known commodity, but it was great to have him in today to workout."

While the basketball skills are the most important factor in this determination, I wouldn't discount the business impact of getting a foot into the demographic Chinese basketball fans.

Of course the kid isn't a slam-dunk prospect. He's got some growing to do. Not up (he's plenty tall enough), but filling out.

What's the skinny on China's Zhou Qi? - Detroit Bad Boys

The major weakness is his physical fitness. He is now 7'2" bare foot with a 7'6" wingspan and weighs only about 210 pounds. That is probably why he is a much better defender in the weak-side post than one-on-one. Additionally, Zhou Qi seems to be a poker-faced player on the court, as he rarely shows any facial expression during the game. It sometimes confuses the audience that he might be a player lacking passion.

So he might be a good gamble later in the first round (Draft Express mock has him going 26, just a few spots after the Celtics at 23).

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