With the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft the Charlotte Hornets have selected IU’s Noah Vonleh. The Hornets made a trade with Detroit to move up in the first round.
Vonleh is one of the youngest players in the draft and won’t be 19 until late August. Despite this, Vonleh was a double-double machine for Indiana. Vonleh averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds per game for the Hoosiers.
He shot 52-percent from the field, including an impressive 48.5-percent from the three point line, off just eight shots per game.
Vonleh is a superior athlete and boasts elite rebounding skills. He’s listed at 6-10 and 247-pounds while having an incredible 7-foot-5 wingspan. His size gives him the ability to defend basically every player on the court.
Defensively he averaged 1.4 blocks and just under a steal per game. At times, Vonleh struggled with foul trouble but improved as the season progressed. He’ll benefit greatly from the extra foul to give in the NBA.
Vonleh flew under the radar for most of the season as the Hoosiers didn’t perform up to expectations. He shot up the charts following the NBA Scouting Combine where he put up impressive numbers (including at 37-inch vertical).
Vonleh will need a fair amount of polish, but will develop into a solid, if not outstanding, NBA player over the next few years. He’ll likely play as a stretch four, but could also play small forward. He plays exceptionally well around the basket which would make it hard to move him too far away.
Comparisons were made to Horace Grant, who would pick you apart with mid-range jumpers and occasionally hit threes. Vonleh views himself in the power forward mold.
Vonleh will join former Hoosiers Cody Zeller on the Hornets roster. It will be interesting to see how these two players are utilized. Both will still be in the development phase starting out next season but might fight each other for minutes (assuming they both come off the bench).
Vonleh slid in the draft a bit considering most recent projections putting him in the top five. This is likely due to him being a bit of a project but there is no doubt about his upside.