Last summer the Atlanta Hawks put a lot of time into courting GM Danny Ferry. There is little question that Ferry’s time spent working in the front office of the San Antonio Spurs was part of what made him so appealing to the Hawks. The Spurs are a model NBA organization. They specialize in player development and drafting. These are two areas where the Hawks could use more than just a little bit of help. The Spurs have excelled in the draft in recent years. They have selected players like Tiago Splitter (2007), George Hill (2008), and Corey Joseph (2011). All players were drafted with late first-round picks — Splitter (28th), Hill (26th), and Joseph (29th). The Hawks, who currently hold the 17th and 18th picks in the first-round, could use some of the Spurs drafting magic.
Rudy Gobert is a player who has been forecasted as a possible Hawks first-round draft pick (here’s one such mock draft from nbadraft.net). Gobert is a soon-to-be 21-year old French center who measure out at 7’2” and 238 pounds, which is great, but he is still a bit of a project and will need to bulk up some more to play near the basket in the NBA. And, judging by the videos I have been able to find of Gobert from YouTube, he spends a lot of his time near the rim. Check out this clip for a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of Rudy Gobert blocking shots, running the floor, and dunking. My favorite part of the video happens at the 57-second mark. Gobert shows much persistence and aggressiveness in blocking the opposing big man’s shot twice. Rudy even flexes as he stands over his opponent following the second block. Nice! However, hard to see much definition in Gobert when he bows up. If he is selected by the Hawks, I would suggest the organization invests in several containers of protein shakes. Or, possibly, a few gym sessions with this guy.
Gobert spent this past season playing professionally in France. He played 27 games for Cholet, a team in the French Pro A League (side note: this is also the league that former Hawks first round draft bust Sheldon Williams currently plays. Who would have thought he would end up playing overseas, right? Oh, wait…everyone who saw Sheldon Williams play as a Hawk thought he would be playing overseas. My bad.
Gobert managed to lead the French Pro A League, which is the top professional French league, in blocks with 1.9 swats per game. Here are Gobert’s final numbers this season. I like his free throw percentage (70.4%). That’s good for a big man.
Gobert took part in this weekend’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. At the combine, potential draft picks are measured in areas ranging from height to body fat. Gobert’s measurements can be found here, along with the measurements of other combine participants. As you can see, his wingspan (7, 8.5″) and reach (9’7″) are quite impressive.
There seems to be a high probability that Rudy Gobert will be available when the Hawks are on the board to use one of their two first round picks at 17 and 18. Obviously, only Danny Ferry and the rest of the Hawks brass know if Gobert is even being considered. But although a project, Gobert has shown enough flashes to make him an intriguing pick. Do not, however, expect him to contribute right away, regardless of what team selects him.