Half a world away, out of the sight of even the most detailed American basketball observer, a Nuggets prospect is making waves and creating some excitement for a franchise looking to turn things around next season.

Joffrey Lauvergne, 22, is looking like a keeper, playing in Serbia. Selected with the 55th pick in last year's NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to the Nuggets on draft night, the 6-foot-11 power forward and center is turning heads — quickly and impressively.

"We thought he'd make a big jump," Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said. "We're lucky to see that the jump was so dramatic and he's competing at the highest level and he's doing really well. He's a good player. We really like his intensity. We like his focus. We like that he doesn't take plays off and how tough he is."

And with a nice touch that reaches out to 3-point range, he has the tools to become a nice "stretch-four" for a Nuggets team that could use that kind of versatility in its frontcourt. The Nuggets hope to have the native of France in uniform at summer league this July.

For a team looking to change the equation a bit after the season, certainly in the areas of focus, energy and consistent intensity, Lauvergne's play has been encouraging. He's averaging 11.2 points and a Euroleague-leading 8.8 rebounds for Partizan NIS Belgrade and is generally proving to be one of the better players in the league.

One of Lauvergne's best friends is Nuggets guard Evan Fournier.

"The thing is in France, coaches don't play young guys for some reason," Fournier said. "I had a hard time playing my first year. So he was playing like 15 minutes (a game) overseas. Then he went to Partizan, the coach played him and he showed what he could do. I knew he was that good. He's just got to show it. There's a difference between knowing it and showing it."