Tonight, in front of an half empty arena in Nancy, the locals of SLUC Nancy faced Chalon in the semi-final of the French Cup. The guests managed to beat the former Korac Cup winner in a game that was not one a great level, especially in the second half. However, this gave me the opportunity to scout the talented French power forward Joffrey Lauvergne who has played quite an interesting season so far. Additionally, Nicolas Lang is also a member of the team from Chalon, so I got two interesting prospects in one game.
Joffrey Lauvergne, a 2m09 tall PF is playing his second season with Elan Chalon in the French Pro A. He will turn 20 in September this year and he is one of the few players in his age group that sees regular minutes in the French League at the moment. So far, I never had the opportunity to scout him and I must say that he is a really interesting prospect. He has excellent size to play the Power Forward position and technically he has an interesting package combined with correct physical abilities. Lauvergne started the game for Chalon and immediately showed his presence. The first 5 points of his team could be credited to him with a three point shot and a nice assist. He was not really used further in the game on offense and had to take some long distance shots with the clock running down and was benched during long parts of the game.
Lauvergne is a clear face-up player who is mainly used as a catch-and-shoot guy in order to spread the court. The Power Forward is doing a good job and likes to take the shot from the corners. He is though not very regular at the moment in this exercise, he only netted 6 out of 29 attempts so far this season. His shooting mechanics look good, but his execution might be a bit slow. When receiving the ball, he can also put it on the floor with a clear preference for using his left hand. Out of these drives he remains under control and can play the nice pass or see the defense coming and stop his penetration. He does recognize these situations well and turns around to kick the ball to one of his team mates.
In the beginning of the game, he attacked the basket also once from the top and stopped his drive after one dribble with the right hand as he saw the nice cut by a forward and made the perfect pass for the open dunk. Next to that, Lauvergne is used to set screens for his guards and displays a lot of effort in doing so. His rolling on the screen though is a bit slow but very precise in the directions of his cuts. He does not receive the ball too often in these situations but can finish it with the two-handed dunk. Overall, his executions in his moves are a bit slow, on both sides of the court and his reaction time looks improvable.
On the defensive end, he had to go a lot for low-post defense against physically stronger opponents. This did not put him in trouble as he has already a nicely developed upper body and showed good lateral speed to defend the back-to-the-basket moves of his opponents. Additionally, he has a good timing for block shots even if he is not the most explosive guy. Lauvergne needs to improve his boxing out on defensive rebound situations. He often looks for the ball first instead of finding his opponent with his body to prevent the offensive rebound. With his good timing, he grabs most of the rebounds though as he goes up at the right moment for the catch with two hands. As he positions himself well in the paint, he does not get put out of balance easily by veteran guys either.
Being born in 1991, he will be automatically eligible for the NBA Draft 2013 so that he has still enough time to progress. With his basketball style, he can really develop into a very interesting player for the French National Team. He has a bit a similar profile to Jorge Garbajosa from Spain and he sometimes remembered me of Jonas Valanciunas because of his “mechanical” movements with arms and feet But first of all, Lauvergne has to finish his season with Chalon and he will most likely be an important factor for the French U20 National Team this summer in Bilbao.
Stats: 5.9ppg (50.5% 2FGs – 20.7% 3FGs – 63.0% FTs), 3.5rpg, 0.7apg, 0.6spg, 0.9topg, 0.5bpg in 15.2 minutes per game in the ProA
Nicolas Lang is the second player on the Chalon team that sees regular minutes and can be considered as a legitimate prospect. The 1990 born guard plays a sort of combo for the French team but being mainly used as a scorer from behind the three-point line. Being 1m98 tall, Lang has excellent size for this position but remains a bit thin physically. Tonight, he only had limited minutes as he struggled in the first half when he had to play PG. His team suffered during his time on the court because of poor team play. In the second half, coach Greg Beugnot used him more as a two-guard but despite being totally open on the three-point line on several occasions, his team mates only found him once and he netted the highly important shot from behind the arc at that particular moment.
Stats: 5.0ppg (33.3% 2FGs – 40.0% 3FGs – 84.6% FTs), 2.1rpg, 1.1apg, 0.3spg, 0.6topg in 15.8 minutes per game in the ProA