LAS VEGAS (AP) — When the Houston Rockets signed Zhou Qi and the Dallas Mavericks brought in Ding Yanyuhang to play on their summer league teams, there was some cynicism the moves were purely financially motivated for teams to tap more directly into the lucrative Chinese market.
One blocked shot and one dunk at a time, Zhou and Ding are starting to win over the skeptics.
The 7-foot-1 Zhou has been an impressive defensive presence in three summer league games and Ding has played with a fearlessness that belies his new surroundings. It may only be summer league, but it’s an important first step as they try to earn spots in the NBA.
“The first game we came out here, I didn’t know he could play like that,” Rockets swingman Troy Williams said of Zhou, who is just 21 years old. “Of course we played a lot before we got out here to summer…