Depending on which 2013 NBA mock draft report you frequent these days, these are the slots where 7-foot-2 French center Rudy Gobert's name lands scattered around the first round as the dream of moving from France's Pro-A to the NBA becomes more of a reality as the draft draws near.
While Germany's Dennis Schroeder has taken the draft world by storm since really breaking on the American scene at the Nike Hoop Summit last month (those familiar with Schroeder's game in Germany's BEKO BBL have been privy to his overall development), Gobert is the other international player who left those at the NBA combine in Chicago in awe thanks to his Yao-like stature (still crazy to think that Ming has 4 inches on this kid).
Back in December when examining Gobert weighing his options to continue developing overseas or make the official jump to the NBA, I wondered if this was indeed the right time for the 20-year old to spread his wings -- all 7-foot-9 wingspan - and make the break from Pro-A Cholet.
"I want to go the NBA next season," Gobert said at that time. "I don't want to play another season in Europe. I know that it is going to be tough and that I need to add muscle. I don't care about the team, if I will be picked in the NBA draft in high position, I will have minutes on the court."
Flashforward six months later and the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place, or at least some of them...
The numbers: In 27 games (23 minutes per game) with Cholet, Gobert averaged 8.4, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, while shooting 73.6% from the field in the Pro-A. Cholet also played 3 EuroCup games, with the youngster putting up 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 block per game, along with shooting 85.7% from the field.
The ability: Size, size and more size. Gobert is a game changer on both ends of the floor by either blocking or altering shots. His rebounding numbers won't jump off the page at you (2.1 offensive, 3.3 defensive) and is an area (of many) to improve upon. Gobert gets beat by quicker big men, but also uses his length to compensate from playing behind. Offensively, he's a finisher -- lobs, cleaning up loose balls, going hard to the rim on pick and rolls.
The improvement: Strength. At 238 pounds, expect whichever team selects Gobert to get him on a weight-training program immediately.
"The strength and the height," Gobert said when asked about the biggest difference between playing in the French league and playing in the NBA. "NBA five men are way taller. In France, [centers are about] 6'9, maybe 7-foot. In the NBA, they're a lot stronger, but also have a lot more height."
The knock: SI.com's Chris Mannix (in listing his "Winners and losers") was on hand at the combine and came away with this assessment of Gobert:
"Two executives from teams picking in the back half of the first round said, "I wouldn't touch him," though it's almost certain someone, intrigued by his defensive potential and length, will take a flyer on him in the first round.
The Man: All-Rudy-Gobert-Everything.
Where will Rudy Gobert land in the NBA?