Analyzing Jinqiu Hu

June 11, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Zhejiang Guangsha’s 6-11 center Jinqiu Hu play in a Chinese Basketball Association game against Shanghai Dongfang in a match that took place on December 27th, 2018, with thanks to YouTube via 华人TV直播频道, also known as Huaren TV.  Jinqiu Hu is a vastly productive big man from China that has consistently put up strong numbers in his league for three years in a row including this season. 

Strangely, there seems to be very little to no draft buzz about him, even though he’s excelled in a league where some of the best players include Jimmer Fredette, Luis Scola, Al Jefferson, and Yi Jianlian.  On the other hand, draft prospects that have come from this league have produced mixed results, with Yao Ming having been the most famous and successful player to make the transition, but others have not fared nearly so well as him.  Anyways, as I was able to see him play in this game, here are my thoughts on how Jinqiu Hu fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Jinqiu Hu is a skilled, offensive-minded big man that can efficiently score often inside the arc to get numerous buckets to help his team.  He is a fairly mobile player for his size, though he is mostly a below the rim player, but he has an adequate motor that allows him to make plays on both ends of the floor.  He is a good rebounder that is active at crashing the glass, but his lack of elite physical tools can make it difficult for him to guard quicker opponents on the defensive end.

Hu does a good job of scoring on hustle plays.   He will often crash the glass to score on put backs and tip-ins after getting offensive rebounds, and he also will draw fouls on defenders in the process.  Hu also ran the floor to score on a layup in transition midway through the game.  Plus, Hu also will sometimes roll to the rim, as he was able to get the ball around the basket to get a score off the glass.  Hu also managed to receive the ball when he was open around the basket late in this contest, as he was able to get another score for his team.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down mid-range jumpers to help space the floor for his team on offense.  Hu would often take advantage when defenders would give him ample time and space to shoot the basketball, and he also was able to score on a mid-range shot off of a pick and pop play.  Hu can make jumpers from around the elbow, but sometimes he can tend to rush his shots, which can lead to misses.

Also, Hu showed off adequate low post scoring skills.  Hu possesses a fairly good scoring touch around the basket, and he also has adequate strength, mobility, and footwork to get his shots up in the paint.  On one play, he was able to back his man down to score on a turnaround, jump hook.  Early on, he also used a quick shoulder fake to draw free throws on a right-handed jump hook, and Hu can manage to get defenders to consistently foul him, but he tended to struggle more when opponents would contest his shots, and he would sometimes not always get great lift on his shot.

Hu also displayed decent playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, as he can pass out of the high post to set up scores for his teammates.  He tended to throw safe passes, but his teammates were able to convert on a couple of those to get him assists.  He also will set many screens for his team on offense.  Hu will set firm, hard screens that can free up his teammates to get them chances to score off the dribble, but he also tended to get away with setting moving screens that ended up not being called against him.  Still, Hu would tend to place well-timed screens on offense that would make it easier for his teammates to get around their defenders and get open looks, but sometimes Hu would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he had one that was intercepted when he attempted to throw a bounce pass to a cutter on one possession.

Also, Hu did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often run in to get boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would tip balls to help himself and his teammates get extra rebounds.  He even managed to rip a ball away from an opponent when battling for a board to get a defensive rebound late in this contest, but sometimes he would forget to block out, which would cause his team to allow put back scores.  On a separate play, he ended up being outmuscled by an opponent on a rebound attempt, as his opponent ended up scoring on a put back.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Hu can rotate to get stops for his team when he is defending in the paint.  He was able to rotate hard to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate due to possessing good anticipation skills, mobility, and timing on that play.  Plus, he will also contest shots off of rolls and drives to the basket to force plenty of misses.  He also will contest shots in the post, and he can get stops when he is in position to do so.

However, he can also tend to be out of position defensively.  He has a tendency to over-rotate as he may close out too hard when defending out on the perimeter, and he may get beat off the dribble, which can cause scrambling situations, and for his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Hu doesn’t have elite lateral quickness, and he can struggle to guard quicker opponents, as he may not always move his feet very well.  Other times, he may end up having lapses defensively, as he may sometimes make focus-related errors that lead his team to allow baskets to the other team.  Also, there are occasions where he will make bad gambles when going for steals that can put him out of position on defense.

In general, Jinqiu Hu is a productive big man that can get points and rebounds for his team in the paint, and he has been quite efficient at making plays for his team in his league.  Hu’s ability to score and rebound in the paint could give him looks from NBA teams, and at a minimum, he could develop into being a superstar in his current league in the Chinese Basketball Association (if he isn’t one already).  However, he is also a below the rim player whose current skills may not quite fit the modern NBA right now, as he may struggle to guard quicker players at the next level, and he will need to continue to improve his shooting range and court vision.  Most likely, he will need to prove that he can succeed in an NBA level environment, and strong performances in places such as the NBA summer league could help him significantly.  Right now, Hu is a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, and if things pan out for him, he could end up being a reliable role player akin to a Tiago Splitter type in the league.