In the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Joffrey Lauvergne out of France with the 55th overall pick. However, his rights were abruptly dealt to the Denver Nuggets in the deal that sent Kosta Koufos to Memphis in return for Darrell Arthur.
The 21-year-old Lauvergne is going to be stashed overseas for this season and possibly for a few more after as he continues to develop his game. However, the Nuggets are getting a look at him as he plays for France in Eurobasket 2013.
In the French team’s first game of the tournament on Wednesday, Lauvergne didn’t see the floor all that often, playing just 15 minutes. However, it was a relatively productive 15 minutes that he played as he put up four points and four rebounds while on the floor, including three offensive boards.
Lauvergne is undoubtedly still a work-in-progress in terms of being ready to come to the NBA, but it’s not hard to see why the Nuggets would use a pick on him to see how he develops. As a 6’11 power forward with a muscular build and solid athleticism for his position, Lauvergne’s physical tools alone make him an interesting prospect.
More than that, though, Lauvergne has grown as a player over the past few seasons, a promising sign for a big man his age. He’s become more aggressive with attacking the post and has worked to develop more of a mid-range jumper. He has also proven to be a threat with his size and athleticism in transition.
Obviously Lauvergne’s performance at Eurobasket isn’t pertinent to the Nuggets’ upcoming season, but it is notable for their future. If Lauvergne continues to develop and keeps showing positive signs of his development in the tournament, Denver should feel more optimistic about how he’ll perform when they do decide to bring him to the NBA.