The Denver Nuggets were fresh off of a 57-win season, yet were eliminated in the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs to the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors. Denver possessed the 27th overall pick and the draft, selecting center Rudy Gobert out of France. Shortly thereafter, Denver traded Rudy Gobert’s rights to the Utah Jazz in exchange for cash consideration and a second-round pick (46th overall), which ended up being point-guard Erick Green.
At the time, Nuggets fans like myself didn’t think anything of it. Drafting a foreign player has its pros and cons, but little did we know just how talented the 7-foot-1 center is.
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Just a little sample of Gobert’s work. Last night against the Memphis Grizzlies (Mar. 3, 2015), Gobert put up an impressive stat-line. The big-man collected a double-double, notching 15 points to go along with 24 rebounds, including six offensive. Over Utah’s last five games, Gobert has recorded double-figures in scoring in all but one game, including a six block game against our very Denver Nuggets.
I mean, he’s basically a point-guard trapped in a centers body. Well, maybe not, but check out this euro-step.
And what do you know, it’s against the Nuggets. Surprise, surprise. (Vine Credit: Andy Bailey)
Back to Gobert’s stats. Although he’s averaging just 7.1 points and 7.6 rebounds for the season (22.7 minutes per game), the native of France has seen his playing-time increase after Utah shipped center Enes Kanter to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Over Utah’s last five games, Gobert is averaging 12.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 1.0 steal over 33.4 minutes. Not to mention, Gobert is shooting 64.7% from the field.
Just the idea of seeing Gobert playing alongside Kenneth Faried and Jusuf Nurkic would be a sight to see. The fact that they had JaVale McGee on the roster might have swayed their opinion to ship Gobert to Utah.
Denver messed up by not retaining Gobert but hey, someone has to mess up, right?