NBA Position: C/PF
Hometown: Saint-Quentin, France
DRAFTED NO. 27 OVERALL BY THE UTAH JAZZ (VIA DENVER)
Ceiling: Robert Parrish
Basement: Alexis Ajinca
NBA Comparison: Marcus Camby
- Explosive Finisher
- Elite Shot-Blocker
- Quality Rebounder
- Raw Offensively
Analysis: (Gobert Personal Website)
One of the biggest prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft is still seemingly flying under the radar as an undervalued big man with tremendous athletic measurements for last summer. The French big man has great size and a lot more diversity to his game than meets the eye.
Initially the intrigue with the big man was due to those measurements and his elite size.
Size in at the NBA level is a rarity and even rarer are the combination of size and skill from a big man. His 7-9 wingspan is monumentous when combined with his 7-1 frame and quality athleticism. He has the ability with his reach to grab the rim nearly flat-footed. That gives Gobert the advantage over defenders to get the ball to the rim without leaving the floor.
That size projects Gobert as a potentially productive defensive force in the paint. He has the size, length, and range in motion to be a quality defender at the NBA level. Gobert will need to add considerable strength before he will be an effective man-to-man defender against skilled, seasoned post players.
Defensively Gobert has been impressive at all the camps he has been at with his peers. He is a weakside shot-blocker that has unlimited range with his length.
His anticipation is at a level beyond his age playing off the ball and tracking ball-handlers as they come to the basket. Gobert does a good job moving side-to-side to clean up shots at the rim as well as chasing down offensive players down from behind. That ability to block shots and use his athleticism and length to block shots is a rarity at the next level and where Gobert will have the potential to make an impact on the court.
In half court defense Gobert has been a mixed bag of results. He can defend multiple positions in the front court with his range in motion. He does a good job of closing out and defending the perimeter against more elusive, jump-shot oriented big men.
Defending man-to-man in isolation settings has been where Gobert struggles the most. His lack of strength can get him pushed under the basket rendering his length and size useless against his man. Gobert can bite on fakes and does not stay home consistently enough either allowing offensive players to get easy looks and add fouls to Gobert’s total.
Intangibly there are elements of Gobert’s game that he needs to work on the defensive end including footwork and isolation defense to become more than a weakside shot-blocker.
On the offensive end Gobert was every bit as efficient as his 71.8% shooting showed. Most of his work was done at the rim or in the paint finishing off nearly everything with a dunk, but he was able to show an array of skills on the offensive end this season.
Gobert is especially efficient moving without the ball. He has good off-ball movement through cuts, pick-and-roll situations, and on the offensive glass. Those settings made up for 67.4% of Gobert’s offense last season and he had an impressive 1.3 points per possession without the ball in his hands offensively.
In the paint Gobert has a good feel and good tough. He catches the ball well with his vice grip hands that are the size of a catcher’s mitt in baseball and protects it well going up to the rim.
His explosion allows him to finish strong in traffic against undersized big men and his peers, but will need to add strength to do that at the next level. In the paint he has shown a proficiency to finish with either hand at the rim. Most of his offense to this point has been of the variety of dunks and explosive plays, but he has also shown flashes of polish on the block.
This season Gobert has shown some advancement in his post game catching the ball on the block and finishing over his right shoulder. He has the ability to sweep across the lane and finish with finesse over his shoulder due to his length and overall size. In post, spot-up, and isolation situations Gobert had 24 plays ran for him and scored 30 total points.
There is a threshold for improvement on the block in terms of footwork and back-to-the-basket moves for Gobert, but he has improved over the course of the past two years in that aspect.
Overall Gobert has the look and the feel of an NBA defender. He fits in immediately as an off-ball defender that has the capacity to change the game with weakside shot-blocking and help. Before he was a very limited offensive player, but over the course of the past two seasons he has improved on the offensive end while proving to be efficient with limited touches.