Vonleh projected as top-5 pick on NBA Draft day
After Indiana’s Noah Vonleh won Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the Haverhill, Mass., native declared for the NBA Draft. Vonleh had good reason to do so, after averaging 11.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, leading the Big Ten in rebounding.
Ever since the NBA Draft combine in May, Vonleh has shot up draft boards. Vonleh measured in with a 7’4 ¼ wingspan, a 37-inch vertical, and an 11.75-inch hand width, the second largest ever measured at the combine (Greg Smith measured with a 12-inch hand width, in 2011).
Below are Vonleh’s other measurements from the Combine:
- Height without shoes: 6’8
- Heaight with shoes: 6’9 ½
- Weight: 247.1
- Wingspan: 7’4 ¼
- Standing reach: 9’0
- Body fat %: 7.3
- Hand length: 9.75″
- Hand width: 11.75″
In the period of time between the Combine and Draft, Vonleh has worked out for six teams, all of which have one of the first eight picks in tonight’s draft:
June 2 – Sacramento
June 4 – Los Angeles Lakers
June 9 – Orlando (reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman)
June 11 – Boston
June 16 – Utah
June 18 – Philadelphia (reported by Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears)
In recent mock drafts, Vonleh has been picked to go as high as 3rd overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. Most of the mock drafts have Vonleh going 5th overall to the Utah Jazz. Here are the current Draft projections, as of June 25:
- Cbssports.com’s Gary Parrish: No. 5 to Utah
- ESPN’s Chad Ford: No. 4 to Orlando
- ESPN’s Jeff Goodman: No. 3 to Philadelphia
- Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears: No. 5 to Utah
- Sports Illustrated’s composite: No. 5 to Utah
- Draft Express: No. 5 to Utah
- NBADraft.net: No. 5 to Utah
- ESPN The Magazine: No. 5 to Utah
In a June 24 article for the Boston Globe, Boston Celtics reporter Baxter Holmes talks with multiple NBA scouts and executives about Vonleh, who agree that Vonleh’s physical tools make him one of the most intriguing picks in this year’s draft class.
An anonymous Eastern Conference scout, quoted in the Globe article:
“Big trunk, huge legs. Big calves.
“For someone that young with the skill set and size and how hard he plays, I don’t think you miss with him, unless he’s absolutely, totally messed up inside in the head, which it doesn’t seem like he is.
“Again, with his youth, you have a piece of clay. You have an unfinished product, and you’re going to be able to mold him any way that you want, and I think there’s a ton of value in that.
“The thing that brings me pause a little bit is just his lack of experience,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “He’s young. And a lot of people love that. I love that. But if you’re going to draft him top-10 and you want him to help you today, he’s going to take his lumps.”
An Eastern Conference executive raised a question about Vonleh’s athleticism.
“The big thing negative-wise is he doesn’t play off the ground a ton,” the executive said. “He’s not a super-high athlete.’’
“Around the rim, he does a lot of fading away. Because of that lack of athleticism, he’s not going to go into somebody and try to dunk on them. He’s going to try to control his body and switch stuff up.’’
“As a power forward, that’s something that I’m not crazy about, because you want a guy who will go through him. If you can get around the lack of athleticism . . . because when he catches it in the post, he always pump fakes. He knows he can’t get up over guys, so he tries to catch them off-guard, off-balance.
“If he can learn to maybe get some crafty finishing moves and work around the lack of explosion, I think he’ll be just fine.”
The 2014 NBA Draft will kick off tonight at 7:30 ET, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Make sure to watch to see where Vonleh and his other draftmates go.