Freakishly athletic centers like DeAndre Jordan and Javale McGee have found roles as rebounding and defensive powerhouses for their respective teams. Cholet Frenchmen Rody Gobert isn’t sporting the same physical build as Jordan or McGee, but his length, efficiency, and awareness might find him a similar role on a team in this year’s draft. He’s certainly not a heaven-sent offensive weapon, but he’s not pretending to be. He was only responsible for just under 10% of Cholet’s offensive production, finishing with 14.7ppg; not an ugly number considering the amount of looks he got. Gobert certainly has some attributes that can wet a scout’s palette, and he’s hoping that continuing to hone his skills right up to draft day is going to improve his chances of getting taken early.
|Height w/o Shoes||Height w/ Shoes||Weight (lbs)||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat (%)||Hand Reach||Hand Width|
|7′ .05″||7′ 2″||237.6||7′ 8.5″||9′ 7″||4.4||9.75″||10″|
|25″||29″||7 reps||3.57 sec||12.85 sec|
Like we mentioned, Gobert’s offensive involvement isn’t through the roof. However, his 74% 2-point field goal percentage is very impressive, revealing that he works incredibly well finishing on the pick and roll, cutting to the basket, offensive rebounding (3.7 pg-top 15 in Pro A), and keeping up in transition. His long arms also give his guards a huge target to throw to. Soft hands and that big target allow him to reel in any pass thrown his way. While his complete offensive game is still in the works, defensively he can be a huge pain for opponents. The size and length make it extremely difficult to shoot over him, he does a great job hedging and rotating to defend the pick and roll, and he finished first (this year and last) in Pro A France in blocks per game.
Many of Gobert’s struggles come at the offensive end. He has virtually no shooting game outside of the paint, and there are no signs that he’s worked on developing one. In the paint, he doesn’t have the arsenal to create once his first option is taken away. He doesn’t have many moves with his back to the basket, and he doesn’t have the strength or toughness to back down, take contact, and finish in traffic. That lack of strength is one of his only defensive weaknesses as well. At times he allows himself to be bullied around on defense, getting taken advantage of in the paint with no real intensity. His height and center of gravity make it a problem to get low and fend off slashing attackers off the dribble. For a guy seemingly built for the defensive end, he’s also lacked the rebounding numbers.
Even though it looks like the cons outweigh the pros, it’s actually not looking too bad for Gobert. If he puts on some pounds that alone can set him in the right direction as far as his defensive shortcomings are concerned, and that’s the area scouts are most intrigued by. A guy like Gobert can be a defensive game-changer given he develops well and finds the right system. Teams will also like the work ethic and determination to get better that he brings from overseas.
Mid first round
For continued coverage of the NBA’s rookies, keep visiting NBA Rookie Class. Also, stay tuned as we begin to look towards the next year of rookies and the 2013 NBA Draft!