Dec 10, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) moves in for a basket with Oakland Golden Grizzlies guard Mitch Baenziger (13) and forward/center Corey Petros (42) defending during the first half at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Vonleh, Early Lottery Favorite at #7

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.

Tags: Combine Draft Lakers Lottery Noah Vonleh

  • wangkon936

    How is this guys hands? The Lakers once had a physical specimen at PF named Kwame Brown. Jordan was stupid enough to draft him at #1. Kwame had insane combine numbers for lane agility, length, sprint, etc. and he could have ultimately evolved into a decent player but he had terrible hands. Couldn’t catch a pass in the post if his life depended on it. It was as if he was missing a few joints in his fingers or something. I hope this guy has good hands because all those great combine numbers could mean absolutely nothing if he doesn’t have good hands. Big men must have the ball fed into them in order to score. The ability to catch post passes and/or lobs is essential.

    • Mike Garcia

      It’s odd. He has the largest hands in the draft, but he didn’t always catch passes. 11.5″ wide. 10.5″ tall.

      • wangkon936

        Large hands also usually means you are a poor shooter. However, Noah is a good shooter. Good fundamentals, I guess?

        • Mike Garcia

          He played SF/PF in high school and took guys off the dribble. He looked more like Odom/Bosh. He’s had that jumpshot for years. 6’10″ 210lbs. wet. Didn’t play much in the post but showed the quickness and ball-handling. He gained weight, looks lost playing in the post, and despite having large hands, has trouble catching the basketball in the paint at times. Explosiveness isn’t there like it was in HS.

          • wangkon936

            Interesting. There’s no telling what will happen. If he will get better or worse in the NBA. The dude is not even 19 years old yet. I do love his physical attributes because it lowers downside risk. 7-4 wingspan and a decent vertical for his position (31 inch no step and 37 inch max) means he will be a good shot blocker. Big hands means a good rebounder. Conventional wisdom says that big hands also means he can’t shoot the ball, but his record would prove otherwise. That’s an encouraging sign.

            I wonder how interested he is in basketball and in getting better in basketball? If you knew that, then you would know how committed he would be to being a better player. I think that’s what the team workouts and interview are for. We shall see.

            The Lakers have the habit of picking players who have freak physical attributes and working to make them better players. Meet Shannon Brown (freakishly big hands and a freakishly high max vertical), Trevor Ariza (freakishly big wingspan and speed for his position) and Andrew Bynum (true 7 footer with a massive wingspan) and trying to make them better. Mixed success, but overall more successful than less so. I think in this draft the Lakers will do more of the same. Sacrifice immediate talent for more raw physical potential.