Noah Vonleh is the early favorite to become the Laker draft pick. Kevin Ding of the Bleacher Report indicated which players within the lottery the Lakers have their eyes on. There are eight players. The common names are Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, and Aaron Gordon.
The teams have yet to run any draft workouts, but there will be comments made about the workouts from NBA executives to the media. Some will call it a smoke screen. Some of it will be absolute truth. In any case, this is a competition, and no NBA team out there wants to improve the Lakers in any way.
Noah Vonleh is the early favorite and rightfully so. He solidified his range from 20′, shooting 48.5% behind the NCAA arc, mostly in catch and shoot situations. His post game is in development, but he shows signs of creative footwork to advance his shot creating skills. More importantly, he has shown the ability to use either hand in the painted area, with near-equal effectiveness. He has a 7’4″ wingspan and one of the largest pairs of hands in the NBA. The physical tools are there.
Noah Vonleh actually transformed his game altogether since his high school days. Out of high school, most could see a Chris Bosh or Lamar Odom-type of power forward, attacking off-the-dribble, showing perimeter range, and being especially quick in the painted area.
Back then, he was bigger against the competition and there simply was no match for him athletically or size-wise.
At Indiana, his game changed dramatically. He gained over 20lbs. of bulk to better withstand contact in the painted area.
It’s amazing how much his game changed in just one year. In one video, we’re looking at a player who attacks the basket with quickness and creates an open path to the hoop. In the second video, we’re looking at a player carrying defenders on his back, facing contact, and learning to shoot over them.
His draft stock may rise because of Laker interest. Other teams simply don’t want the Lakers to get players that they can develop well. Another team in the lottery may draft him ahead of the Laker pick. If that is the case, then another great pick falls onto the Lakers’ lap. Maybe that player is Exum, Smart, or Randle. But for now, the Lakers have a target in mind, and Vonleh is that guy.