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NBA Draft 2016: The Clippers Worked Out Zhou Qi (and Kept it a Secret)

This is at least one pre-draft workout that the Clippers haven't announced.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

In the last couple of weeks, the pre-draft process has started to take shape.  We've had the lottery, the combine, the withdrawal deadline, and the beginning of the pre-draft workout process.  Most first-round guys haven't started traveling to work out with teams yet, but a lot of options for second-round picks or undrafted free agents have started the circuit.

One of the most intriguing players in the draft is Chinese center Zhou Qi, a 7'2" big man who reportedly is a dominant shot blocker who is capable of spacing the floor.  While he has a very light frame and will need to bulk up to be effective down low against NBA competition, his 7'7.5" wingspan and three-point shot are a deadly and attractive combo.  At just 20 years old, there's plenty of time for him to develop, and there's a lot of buzz around this fascinating prospect.

One thing that makes Qi's draft journey even more complicated and mysterious is his lack of participation in individual pre-draft workouts with teams.  He attended the NBA Combine in front of all 30 teams in Chicago, but had to leave the United States shortly after to practice with the Chinese National team.  Three teams announced individual workouts with Qi post-combine: the Suns, Grizzlies, and Celtics.  But thanks to a comment by an attentive Clips Nation citizen, we now know that Chinese media is reporting that the Clippers also held a private workout with Zhou Qi (H/T RollingWave720).  While that article is essentially unreadable because it isn't in English, I ran it through a few different translators and got choppy but clear results--the English was bad, but the translations "independent training" and "Los Angeles Clippers" pretty much paint the picture.

It's definitely good for the Clippers to be doing their due diligence with draft prospects, and Qi is definitely an option in the late-first/early-second range where the Clippers will pick twice, but it's really strange that they would keep this workout secret when they heavily publicized (and opened to media) workouts for players such as Malcolm Brogdon and Gary Payton II.  I'm not sure what this points to, but I know that it's definitely unusual.