Name: Noah Vonleh
Position: Power Forward/Center
Height: 6’9.25″ (with shoes)
Weight: 247 pounds
Vonleh isn’t even 6’10″ in shoes, but he more than makes up for that with his tremendous 7’4″ wingspan. His defensive impact is most notable, and he already appears to be very polished on that end. When defending the post, he does a good job of practicing the Roy Hibbert-style verticality, getting his arms up without really reaching. Offensive players struggle to get the ball over his reach, and he also has very solid footwork. Vonleh’s willingness to defend aggressively is evident, and he has the makings of a dynamic defensive player. His help defense is also a plus, again due in large part to his exceptionally long arms. His rebounding ability is something that should translate at the NBA level immediately. Vonleh averaged nearly 15 rebounds per 40 minutes at Indiana, and also grabbed an average of 4.2 offensive boards per 40, both of which are phenomenal.
Offensively, Vonleh showed plenty of promise in his one season at Indiana. He’s no Hakeem Olajuwon with his back to the basket, but he does have a few moves and looks to be a decent enough finisher at the rim. His hands are massive, and they measured out to 11.75 inches at the combine, second only to Greg Smith all-time. He’s got a little hook shot he can hit consistently with either hand, and he’s shown flashes of range from three, as well. He knocked-down 48% of his tries from beyond-the-arc, though he only took about one three per-game. His three-point shooting isn’t likely to be a real weapon for him at first, though it’s clearly something worth developing at the NBA level. His strong core makes him a very good boxer-outer…which probably isn’t a real term.
Vonleh won’t turn 19 until August, which is another positive. He’s not particularly quick, nor is he explosive, but he’s shown the ability to run the floor in transition, as well as good mobility setting screens.
One thing that Vonleh isn’t is an amazing athlete. He’s pretty well grounded, though the wingspan helps make up for his lack of athletic explosion. His offensive game could also use some tutelage, as he still looks rather raw at times with the ball in his hands. He was quite turnover prone as a freshman, and his passing ability leaves something to be desired. His rawness will likely mean he’ll take a few years to develop if he’s going to ever become a consistently dangerous offensive player.
Vonleh seems to project as your classic high-risk/high-reward big man. Plenty of the tools are clearly there, but we’ve seen tons of toolsy players come along before and never amount to much in the NBA. On the floor, he looks a bit like Derrick Favors without as much athleticism. The fact that he’s not much of a leaper makes me wonder how effective he’ll be against a league full of leapers. Drafting a player in the lottery based primarily on what they could be rather than what they already are can be a dangerous practice. However, Vonleh seems to have a very good work ethic, and his on-court activity makes me optimistic that he really has the desire to be great. Even if he never becomes a go-to offensive player, there is absolutely a place in the league for a player that will defend hard and rebound well. Due to his size, he seems to project best as a power forward in the NBA.