Since the Charlotte Hornets drafted Indiana’s Noah Vonleh in the NBA Draft, we wanted to get to know him more. Who knows Noah Vonleh better than Indiana basketball fans? So I asked a few questions to Ben Raphel of The Crimson Quarry, an Indiana Hoosiers blog on the SB Nation network! Here are the questions and answers from our interview with Ben Raphel:
1. Is Noah Vonleh ready for the NBA? Or do you think he should have stayed in college for another season, and possibly could have been the number 1 overall pick next year?
Ben Raphel – Is he ready for the NBA? Not sure about that – he’s almost 19, and he’s not as physical as other players in the league are at his position. Should he have stayed in college for another season though? I don’t think so. He had a great season at IU, but a lot can change over the course of a year, so who know’s if he would have been #1 overall next year. It’s a tough situation as an IU fan, because as much as I would have loved to see a Yogi Ferrell/James Blackmon backcourt feeding the ball to Vonleh at the rim, I also wanted the best for him and his family, and so the time to go was now.
2. What is Noah Vonleh’s ceiling in the NBA? In other words, who would you compare him to?
Ben Raphel – I think his ceiling, if all goes well, is someone like Chris Webber. He has the skills to be the type of power forward that C-Webb was in the late 90s/early 2000s with Sacramento. More realistically, however, I’ll say he could have the same type of impact as Paul Millsap – a guy who can play close to the rim but also can shoot it from outside.
3. What are your expectations for Noah Vonleh in his rookie season? Any chance he wins Rookie of the Year?
Ben Raphel – I’m not sure. The Hornets already have a loaded frontcourt, especially if they re-sign Josh McRoberts, so it may be tough for Vonleh to see some action in the beginning. There’s always a small chance he could win ROY, but in what’s being hailed as one of the best draft classes ever, I think it’s a long shot.
4. Why do you think Noah Vonleh fell in the NBA Draft? Or was it just a coincidence?
Ben Raphel – In the mock drafts I read leading up to the draft, Vonleh was projected anywhere from 4th through 8th, so being drafted 9th isn’t that long of a fall. Part of it was that he was the last picked of three similar players who were projected to go early, plus Nik Stauskas was drafted earlier than projected, so those factors might have pushed Vonleh back a bit. So overall I’d lean more towards coincidence, since he didn’t fall as much as other players in the draft did.
5. What are some of Noah Vonleh’s strengths and weaknesses? Does he need to improve on anything before the season starts?
Ben Raphel – His strengths are his ability to be a great pick-and-roll guy at the rim, his 7-4 wingspan, and his jump shot for a player of his size. As I mentioned earlier though, his weaknesses could be his youth and his strength; however, these will come with more time in the league. Also, it’s always hard to tell these things from a small sample size, but Vonleh never seemed like the same sort of game-changing player the way Wiggins or Parker was last year. Again, this may come with time, but I’d love to see more swagger from him in the pros.
The Crimson Quarry is an Indiana Hoosier blog on the SB Nation network. For anything related to Indiana athletics, be sure to check them out!
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