2013 NBA Draft Prospect Workout: Rudy Gobert and Co.

The Sacramento Kings started the 2013 NBA Draft process by bringing in talented Frenchman Rudy Gobert for a look.  They matched the 20-year-old center against Washington’s Aziz N’Diaye  clearly to test his strength at the next level.

When the curtain lifted, it wasn’t the players who caught the eye of the media, it was the men running the workout.  Like years past, Geoff Petrie and his staff were the guys taking notes.  Assistant coaches Bobby Jackson, Jim Eyen and Alex English were directing traffic and in the corner, long-time lead scout Scotty Sterling watched from afar.  There was even a Jerry Reynolds sighting at the team’s first workout of the summer.

None of these men are guaranteed a job at the end of this month.  In fact, most of them aren’t expected back.

Mixed in with the old regime was newly anointed head coach Michael Malone, as well as owners Vivek Ranadivé, Mark Mastrov and John Kehriotis.  The new era of Kings basketball is underway.

Sort of.

Here is what we saw from the prospects:

Will Cherry

  • Position: Guard
  • College: Montana
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 181 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: 89
  • Quick Breakdown: Strong defender but a tweener with a suspect jumper

Analysis

Cherry needs to ask his agent to set him up against players more his size and strength.  We saw this same issue two years ago when the 187 lbs. Tyler Honeycutt (soaking wet and carrying a three-year-old) matched up against the 223 lbs. Tobias Harris.  Listed at 6-foot-1, Cherry plays in a deep crouch.  He has long arms, but at a listed weight of 189 lbs., he struggled with Brandon Triche, who outweighed him by at least 25 lbs.

Chris Evans

  • Position: Forward
  • College: Kent State
  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: Unranked
  • Quick Notes: Led the Golden Flashes in points (16.2 points per game) and rebounding (7.7 rebounds per game) and was named First Team All-MAC Conference.

Analysis

The forwards were neither the main attraction nor the undercard in this workout.  During the session we were allowed to watch, the guards brought the ball up and the two center prospects went to work in the post.  It’s hard to get a read on either forward after yesterday.

Rudy Gobert

  • Position: Center
  • Country: Cholet, France
  • Height: 7-2
  • Weight: 238 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: 21
  • Quick Notes: Attractive physical and athletic attributes like length and explosiveness, but needs to add strength to play center.

Analysis

Gobert was the feature attraction yesterday and the big man out of France was intriguing.  First observation, he needs to gain 40 lbs.  He has nice muscle definition, just not much of it.  At 20 years old, he has plenty time to grow as a player, but the fact that he carries very little weight in his legs, especially in the thighs and glutes, makes you wonder if he’ll ever put on the necessary weight to compete physically in the NBA.  He is a high-risk-high-reward pick, but his limited offensive game (mostly put-backs and alley-oops) makes one ask the age old question: is he a basketball player who happens to be tall or a tall guy who just happens to play basketball?  Gobert has some defensive potential, but he is a ways away from helping an NBA team.

Aziz N’Diaye

  • Position: Center
  • College: Washington
  • Height: 7-0
  • Weight: 260 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: Unranked
  • Quick notes: Ranked fourth all-time for Huskies in blocks (113).  Also fourth Husky in last 40 years to grab 300 rebounds in one season; list includes former King Jon Brockman.

Analysis

N’Diaye was brought in to see how Gobert handles size and strength.  While 7-footers don’t grow on trees, we see plenty of this type of player every year during draft season.  He can rebound and block shots, but at 25-years-old, he is neither a prospect or a finished product.  It’s hard to see him fitting into the NBA landscape.

Travis Releford

  • Position: Forward
  • College: Kansas
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 210 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: 95
  • Quick Notes: Prototypical, role-playing wing that has decent shooting range and plays good defense.

Analysis

As with Evans, Releford was an afterthought to the action we saw.  This was about seeing what Gobert could do.  AND in the limited time we watched, neither forward stood out.

Brandon Triche

  • Position: Guard
  • College: Syracuse
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 198 lbs.
  • Chad Ford’s ESPN.com Top 100 Ranking: Unranked
  • Quick Notes: High basketball IQ, sees floor well, but not necessarily a true point guard.

Analysis

Triche played well alongside Gobert in the three-man game.  While the highly regarded bigman struggled to catch his breath, the powerful guard out of Syracuse turned on the gas and out-muscled the much-smaller Cherry.  Triche is muscular from head-to-toe and knows how to use his strength and length to his advantage.  If he weren’t a tweener, he might have a home in the league.  But as is, Triche is more of a combo guard in the mold of Jerryd Bayless.

WATCH: Rudy Gobert discusses his game and workout with Sacramento media

[youtube id="OszxdNXIwsM" width="600" height="350"]

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.