Center, 7’2″, 235 lbs.
20 years old
2012-13 Stats (France): 8.4 PPG (71.8% FG, 70.4% FT), 5.4 RPG, .4 APG, .7 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 1.5 TOPG
STRENGTHS: Gobert is a freak of nature, with a 7’2 total height and a record 9’7’ wingspan. When it comes to basketball skills, his most immediate impact is defensively, where he plays with a great intensity and manages a high number of blocks with his insane reach. It isn’t just his reach that makes him such an intriguing player, as he’s got great natural instincts defensively and can read his opponent well. Defensively, he’s already got a solid basketball IQ.
Offensively, Gobert is a serious project, but he has all the right tools. His reach is complemented by very soft hands and he’s excellent at catching passes – most of his production offensively were lobs and he proved he won’t fumble away many targets. He’s comfortable getting the ball in the low post and finishing at the rim, as long as it ends in a dunk – his post game is pretty much limited to dunks at this point. He’s got decent enough handles for a big man, although he never proved himself as a passer out of traffic.
(Keep in mind while evaluating Gobert’s stats that foreign leagues are much different than college—Gobert played just 22 minutes a game this year for Cholet, his squad in France).
WEAKNESSES: Gobert is incredibly raw at every facet of the game (besides defensively, and that still needs much development) and he is a year or more away from NBA ready. His offensive game was limited to dunks, and other post skills were absent at Cholet. While he’s a solid free throw shooter (70.4%), he doesn’t have a high-post jumper yet. His defensive IQ is solid but his offensive IQ is far below NBA level.
While his height and reach are fantastic, but he ABSOLUTELY needs to bulk up way past his current point – his 238 pound frame needs a ton of muscle added or he’ll get pushed around by much small defenders (according to DraftExpress he managed just 7 bench press reps at the combine).
The boom or bust label might be somewhat overused, but Gobert is the textbook definition. His intriguing and defensive intangibles don’t come along often, but he has a long way to come in terms of strength, skill and toughness.
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS:
If new Coach Mike Malone really is looking for his elite level defensive big, it could – keyword on COULD – be Gobert in three or four years. It would be interesting to see how the Kings roll with a Cousins/Gobert tangent, which would possess a vast amount of size and not a ton of quickness or athleticism.
BRYANT – I’m torn, but I’m going to go with no. He’s just too raw and he might not be ready for the NBA for a few years. The potential as a defender is up there, and the length/basic skill set is intriguing beyond many of this year’s big men, but in the end, it isn’t a gamble I’d take. Still, if the Kings did take him (and if they do, I hope it’s by trading backwards and not taking him at 7) it would allow them to continue tanking for next season, since no matter when Gobert comes over (this year or next) he won’t be NBA ready this year.
SCOTT LEVIN – No. Our scouting of foreign players is limited to clips from games and workouts, but I’m not seeing much in the way of basketball talent from Gobert. Sure, his size is incredible and he could become a reliable shot blocker. What else does he bring? He’s incredibly raw on offense and seems like a total liability on that end. And his lack of strength poses a huge problem in one-on-one defensive situations, on the boards and in the post on both ends. He’s a late first-round project in my eyes and not worth a lottery pick.
WHERE HE GOES: He’s worked out for the Suns (No. 5), the Kings (No. 7), the Mavs (No. 13) and will work out for the Timberwolves (No. 9) this week. Surely that can’t be his realistic range, though—most mocks have him going at 15 or later. One of those teams could trade back if they were interested in him, but there are some late teen squads (Atlanta at No. 17 and No. 18, Chicago at No. 19) who might take a gamble on his defensive potential. One spectacular fit would be Boston (No. 16), since it looks like Boston is on the rebuilding process and could allow Gobert to take his time getting NBA ready.