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NBA Draft: Utah Jazz deal for intruging French center Gobert (with video)

NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, shakes hands with Rudy Gobert, of France, who was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

By Steve Luhm

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jun 27 2013 10:00PM
Updated Jun 28, 2013 09:05AM

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey’s wheeling-and-dealing during Thursday night’s NBA Draft did not stop with the lottery.

An hour after trading the No. 14 and No. 21 picks to Minnesota for point guard Trey Burke, the Jazz acquired French center Rudy Gobert from Denver.

The Nuggets used the 27th pick in the draft on the 7-foot-2 Gobert, who turned 21 on Wednesday.

Gobert has played professionally in France for three years. Last season for Cholet, he averaged 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots.

In return for Gobert, the Jazz sent the Nuggets the 46th pick in the draft and an undisclosed amount of cash. The Nuggets used the pick on Virginia Tech point guard Erik Green.

"I feel great," Gobert told reporters in Brooklyn. "It was my dream since I’m a kid. I feel great."

Asked what he can bring to Utah, he said, "It will be great. I can bring defense, block shots, rebound, and bring my offensive game to help the team to win. Getting better month by month."

Gobert’s length and 7-foot-9 wingspan make him an intriguing NBA prospect. He runs well for his size and has good mobility around the basket.

Offensively, Gobert needs to polish his game. But with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter established as the leaders of the Jazz’s big-man rotation, the Jazz can take their time in developing Gobert.

"I’m getting better on my shot and my post game," he said. "... [But] I have to get stronger in my legs and upper body and get weight [so] I can be the best I can be."

Three weeks ago, Gobert came to Utah for a pre-draft workout.

At that time, he said, "I’m a defensive player, I block shots, get rebounds, work in the paint and bring energy. That’s what I think I can bring in my first year."

According to Gobert, he enjoys helping his teammates, saying he likes to "help defensively and offensively, to put them in a good position [with] good passes and good screens for open shots."

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