The New York Knicks have signed free agent big man Noah Vonleh to a one-year deal. There are pros, but will the ultimate con be hurting Mitchell Robinson?
It was announced that the New York Knicks have signed free agent power forward Noah Vonleh on Tuesday, July 24. The former ninth overall pick was wildly considered the next Chris Bosh coming out of school.
Maybe there’s something magical about the No. 9 pick?
Tall and long, the physical comparisons to Bosh were definitely warranted. But as we know from watching Jalen Rose on draft night, predicting players is hard. Not all of them turn into future Hall of Famers.
Vonleh signed a one-year contract with the Knicks, so expect him to suit up for the orange and blue this season.
This move is very low-risk. Vonleh can still be a valuable asset to the Knicks. He’s very athletic and can stretch the floor.
Kristaps Porzingis is injured, Kyle O’Quinn is gone, Luke Kornet still has to improve tremendously, and Enes Kanter‘s has limitations in his offensive and defensive arsenal. Vonleh will give the Knicks some much-needed depth in the power forward and center spots.
Vonleh is still just 22 years old; by no means is his NBA career over. There’s still promise when looking at this per 36 minute splits. Last year, per 36 minutes, he was averaging 13 points and 13 rebounds.
This is perfect for the Knicks.
The reason I don’t love this move is that it gives Mitchell Robinson another person to climb over on the depth chart. Not to say that Vonleh is better than Robinson, but rookies are very finicky across all sports.
Robinson hasn’t played in a long time. Putting another body in front of him on the depth chart and harming his now improved conditioning isn’t what the Knicks need.
We’ve learned from the 2017 NBA Draft that giving rookies a chance to shine can lead to deep playoff runs—see: Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Sixers, Utah Jazz.
Robinson needs to play to get better. This is a down year for the Knicks. Robinson should get steady minutes instead of battling just to see the floor.
I can already see it: Early January, the Knicks are playing mediocre basketball, but are definitely intriguing when Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, and Robinson are on the floor together. Robinson is looking great during a game, so Fizdale takes him out for a much less interesting Vonleh.
The air is sucked out of the gym.
Hopefully I’m wrong about Noah Vonleh, and he’s a significant contributor. If not, the New York Knicks are entering dangerous territory with Mitchell Robinson’s development.