1. Defensive Value
I’ll be the first to admit that I expected Noah Vonleh to develop into a high-level shot-blocker following his freshman season with the Indiana Hoosiers. He boasted a 7’4.25″ wingspan and flashed the potential to be able to redirect shots—see: 2.1 blocks per 40 minutes at Indiana.
While Vonleh has underwhelmed in that regard, don’t confuse that with lackluster defensive value—as he’s actually become quite a solid defender.
Vonleh finished the 2017-18 season ranked No. 17 amongst power forwards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. He averaged just 0.7 blocks per 36 minutes, but still managed to contribute positively on defense—which is the foundation for this signing.
Vonleh’s length can be a disruptive force in the paint and along the perimeter, and it’s clear that he’s already found a way to be of aid.
Vonleh will need to improve his effectiveness at the rim, as his woes range beyond lackluster shot-blocking numbers. In saying that, his flaws are manageable and his strengths were shining through on generally lackluster defensive teams.
With better defenders around him, Vonleh could become the caliber of player that many expected him to be—even if it isn’t exactly how he was expected to contribute.
The New York Knicks have work to do with Noah Vonleh, but he’s a project player who’s worth getting excited about.