The buzzing started at last summer's Adidas Eurocamp, when Rudy Gobert reached out his arms during the physical-measurement portion of the event. Since then, he's been considered a can't-miss international prospect over the past year, despite playing a minimal role on his team in France.
Gobert played 21.6 minutes a game for Cholet. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 69.4 percent from the floor. He's still considered a project, but given his unique physical gifts, he's able to contribute despite lacking a refined offensive skill set.
Gobert was too old to participate in this year's Nike Hoops Summit, which allowed other international prospects at the event to step up and steal some of his thunder.
We have an idea of what Rudy Gobert could look like down the road. It's just a matter of whether or not that idea comes to fruition.
Gobert's draft stock is driven entirely by his physical tools. He actually has some tools that we've never seen before. At 7'2'' in shoes, Gobert registers an unprecedented 7'9'' wingspan, outrageous measurements both vertically and horizontally. Between his height and length, Gobert can cover a ton of ground, which is made easier by the fact that he's mobile and athletic.
He moves really well up and down the floor, and has the lift that allows him to play above the rim. Gobert is also quite coordinated. He can catch high lobs on the move and finish in one fluid motion.
Gobert's physical tools could allow some general managers' imaginations to run wild, which is a good thing.
With Gobert, everything is about easy buckets. He's gets them just by being out there. Gobert isn't an advanced offensive player, nor is he someone guards will feed the ball to and watch him go to work. He's a finisher—a target at the rim for dump-offs and a target above it for lobs.
He'll get some tip-ins and fast-break buckets to give his team cheap but valuable points.
His appeal defensively is fairly obvious. Gobert is a constant disruption at the rim, swatting, tipping and altering shots he has no business contesting. Even when Gobert is out of position, his physical tools allow him margin for error.
He's also fearless and aggressive, a good characteristic to show NBA scouts. Check out the rim protection he offers:
Offensively, his challenge will be finding ways to contribute when the ball doesn't bounce his way. Gobert isn't a guy who's going to create offense on his own—he needs to be set up by his guards or hope he's in position for a put-back dunk or tip-in.
He's shown flashes of an over-the-shoulder hook shot, but it's clearly a move he'll need to sharpen if he wants to become more of an offensive threat.
Defensively, Gobert lacks strength and should have trouble defending the post against some of bulkier big men in the NBA. It's also likely to be a while before he picks up on how the NBA game is called.
Draft Breakdown and NBA Outlook
Gobert projects as an off-ball finisher. He's not a post player or a jump-shooter—he's a guy who's going to make plays as a finisher without using a dribble.
In a draft like this one, being an easy-bucket guy could result in a lottery selection. But without currently knowing if he's an actual player or just a couple of measurements, it's possible he slips down later into Round 1.
Given his physical measurements and capabilities as an athlete, teams are bound to give Gobert looks across the board. He's a prospect that will generate intrigue, and intrigue is contagious.