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Name: Rudy Gobert
Club: Cholet Basket (France)
Stats: 7’2″, 240 lbs.
Gobert will enter the NBA largely on the strength of his physique, much more than on his skill. Not only does he stand 7’2″, but he set NBA draft combine records with his wingspan (7’8½”) and standing reach (9’7″). This year, his third pro season with Cholet Basket, the same team that produced current NBA players Rodrigue Beaubois and Kevin Seraphin, he averaged 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and was selected to his first all-star game. Last summer, Gobert helped the French team to place second at the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, and was named to the all-tournament team. He subsequently joined the Olympic team for training camp, but didn’t make the trip to London.
Gobert has two factors going against him: he’s going to have to build significant muscle mass to be competitive in the NBA, and his offensive game is still very limited. That said, the potential is always very high for a player his size and his age (he’ll turn 21 on the day before the Draft). With proper guidance he could be a very good NBA center for years to come. The issue with the Celtics is that they already have a young, offensively-challenged seven-footer in Fab Melo, and they may not have the patience to groom another.
If Melo and Gobert both fulfil their potential, they could team up to form an elite frontcourt a few years down the road, but that seems like quite a longshot at this point. Gobert at number 16 may be a reach for the Celtics, and it’s more likely that he’ll go closer to the end of the first round.