As expected, the Houston Rockets selected center Yao Ming with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Yao will put his 7' 5" body to the test in the NBA after dominating the Chinese Basketball League. He spent five years with the Shanghai Sharks, averaging 23 points and 15 rebounds in 122 games. Yao was heavily scouted this year after getting 32 points, 19 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks a game. He also looked good in a well-attended workout for NBA scouts and general managers last month.
Yao has amazing range for his size, able to fire from 15 feet out and hit his free throws. Scouts love his agility and quickness, which prompted the Houston Rockets to work hard to free him from his playing obligations in China. Yao has a chance to revolutionize the center position, but it remains to be seen if he can play a full 82 game schedule while banging bodies with Shaquille O'Neal and the league's other elite big men.
NBA Draft 2002