Rudy Gobert needs more time before he'll be ready for the NBA, and the Thunder has time to give.
This timely matter is why some believe OKC might draft the towering Frenchman with the No. 12 pick on June 27.
Depending on whom you believe, Gobert is either a long way from being an NBA-quality player, or he's on the verge of passing Alex Len as the first center drafted after Kentucky's Nerlens Noel.
Gobert's name can be found anywhere from No. 7 to No. 22 on notable mock draft boards.
While several aspects of Gobert's overall game are difficult to gauge, his most impressive attributes are his measurables.
His 7-foot-8½-inch wingspan and 9-foot-7 standing reach rank as the second-longest ever measured at the draft combine.
These measurements have scouts gawking and presumably are the primary reason Gobert is gaining early draft consideration. He could become the highest French draft pick since Joakim Noah was selected No. 9 in 2007.
Other Gobert measurements aren't nearly as impressive, such as averaging 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 22.7 minutes last season in France.
During his early days in the San Antonio Spurs' front office, Sam Presti convinced his bosses to give a 6-foot-2 teenage point guard playing in France a second look. Tony Parker panned out pretty good, particularly as the No. 28 overall pick in 2001.
Now general manager for the Thunder, will Presti extend the same opportunity to a 7-foot-2 center from France?
A high-risk/high-reward candidate if ever there was one, Gobert's freakish length makes him less of a long shot.
Though time no doubt will be a necessity, Gobert could quickly pay dividends on defense, where he excels as a shot blocker and has good instincts as a help defender. He led the Pro A France League the last two seasons in blocked shots per-40 minutes played (3.5).
Gobert's ridiculous length makes him suffocating as a trap defender, and he is said to do surprisingly well hedging on pick-and-rolls.
Offensively, whoever selects Gobert essentially will be starting from scratch. Some have pinned Gobert's poor offensive skill set on the coaching he received the last three years in France.
“The last few months, I have had coaching, I am trying to develop my offense,” said Gobert, who will turn 21 years old the day before the draft. “I think teams are scared maybe, because I am a European player. They don't know about me. They think I am a defensive player, but I am an athlete, too. I can play like American players.”
Nearly all of Gobert's field goals came at the basket off dunks and lob passes, and he has no game with his back to the basket. Gobert also has no perimeter game, but shot fairly well at the free-throw line (.704) last season.
Gobert's primary need is to develop lower-body strength. His upper body has become stronger in recent years, but his legs remain scary thin.
Gobert has soft hands, which is great for catching passes inside, but he had better shoot the ball before there's any contact.
As part of the James Harden trade with Houston last October, the Thunder obtained the No. 12 overall selection in the June 27 NBA Draft via Toronto. We look at 12 potential candidates the Thunder might consider taking with that No. 12 pick.
Today: French center Rudy Gobert.