2014 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Noah Vonleh Reaches for the Stars

That... that's a regulation size ball in Noah Vonleh's hand there. Jeepers. - Eric Francis

Since the end of the NCAA season, Noah Vonleh has seen his draft stock rise like Zach LaVine's vertical leap. Despite not being as touted as other forwards to start the year, he's got the potential to be the best power forward in the draft given his age and physical gifts.

Noah Vonleh

School: Indiana

Position: Power Forward

Draft Range: Draft Express - 7, NBA Draft Insider - 6, ESPN - 5

Stats

Noah_vonleh_draft_stats_medium

Data Courtesy DraftExpress.com

Measurables

  • Height: 6'8" without shoes, 6'9.5" with shoes
  • Weight: 247 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7'4.5"
  • Standing Reach: 9'0"

Combine Numbers

  • Maximum Vertical Leap: 37"
  • Lane Agility: 11.45 seconds
  • 3/4 Court Sprint: 3.28 seconds
  • Shuttle Drill: 3.29 seconds

The Buzz

At just 18 years old, Noah Vonleh already has a prototypical NBA power forward's physique.  Since the end of the NCAA season, he's seen his draft stock rise like Zach LaVine's vertical leap.  After projecting as an early first round project due to his youth, he's now knocking on the door of being a Top 5 pick.  He does a little bit of everything and does it extremely well.  Despite not being as touted as other forwards to start the year, he's got the potential to be the best power forward in the draft given his age and physical gifts.

Upside

Noah Vonleh can grab almost anything he wants.  With a massive 7'4" wingspan and gargantuan hands that measure 9.75" ong by 11.75" wide, his rebounding advantage is almost unfair.  I mean, look at these things.

Those fingers are grasping incarnate.  And grasp they did to the tune of 9 rebounds per game in his freshman (and only) year in college.  That's almost 15 rebounds per 40 minutes of floor time.  He's the number one rebounder in Draft Express' top 100 prospects this year.  Between his house-like frame, condor-like arms and serpentine fingers, he is almost genetically engineered to rebound.  Unsurprisingly, those same qualities made him an above average shot-blocker as well, averaging 1.4 blocks per game.

In college, he also proved a very capable scorer.  He shot 52.3% from the field including 48.5% from beyond the (NCAA) arc on 1.1 3-point attempts per game.  His offensive game is multi-faceted in that he scores effectively with both hands down low as well as shoot from range.  He also draws contact and makes opponents pay.  He shot a very respectable 71.6% from the free throw line on 4.5 attempts per game.

So far we've got an 18 year-old potential scoring machine and rebounding monster.  What else can he do?  How about fly up and down the court?  Is that something you might be interested in?  His 3.28 second sprint time was within a couple hundredths of a second as Marcus Smart, T.J. Warren, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle.  The kid has a motor and it runs fast.

So, really what's not to like?

Downside

As mentioned before, Vonleh is only 18 and won't turn 19 until August.  With great youth comes great great learning curves.  In college, Vonleh was prone to some indecision and occasionally seemed to lack confidence in his game.  As a 19 year-old stepping on to an NBA court for the first time, there are questions as to whether or not he will be able to contribute immediately.  It's not a matter of low IQ as much as it is a matter of low confidence.  Does the soft-spoken Vonleh believe in himself enough to hold his own with veteran NBA big men?

As with other young prospects, Vonleh's defensive game will need some work.  He certainly has all the physical attributes to be a stong defensive presence at the four.  In college that may have worked to his disadvantage has he was able to get by on his length instead of using his athleticism and developing the defensive footwork needed to succeed at the NBA level.

Vonleh is also still growing.  While that is good in that he will continue to add strength, it's possible that additional bulk will slow him down.  It could be the difference between whether his ceiling is Chris Bosh or Wayman Tisdale.  No one's going to kick Wayman Tisdale off their team, but most GMs would rather have that Bosh guy.

Overall and Fit for the Suns

Noah Vonleh is an easy pick outside of the top 3. His perimeter game is more developed than Julius Randle or Jabari Parker, despite his potential lack of NBA readiness.  And if he doesn't make the same impact as a rookie that those two are expected to, its seems likely that he will within the next couple of years.

Noah Vonleh would certainly be a welcome addition to a Phoenix Suns roster that lacks a strong interior scorer and rebounder.  He has the potential to eclipse both Markieff Morris and Channing Frye's games, combining the best of both in a genetically superior package.  But can the Suns get him?

Right now, there is not way Vonleh is available when the Suns pick at 14.  As it stands, they would have to move up into the top 5 to definitely grab him with a chance of snagging him with the Los Angeles Lakers' pick at 7.  Anything higher than that and there's a very good chance, he is off the board.  They will almost certainly have to give up a combination of players and picks to move up that far and the immediate returns might not be commensurate with the assets the Suns lose in a potential deal.

Since Vonleh won't be around for any of the Suns' picks, there's no poll this time.  Instead, in the comments, let's hear your suggestions for potential packages you'd be happy to see Ryan McDonough trade for a chance to select Noah Vonleh or why he shouldn't bother.  Put your GM hats on, everyone!

Update:

SBNation NBA has a super in-depth scouting report on Noah Vonleh here if you want to know even more about the big fella.

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