From a partially guaranteed contract to a full-time role, Noah Vonleh had a productive ride with the New York Knicks.
Noah Vonleh had a breakout season with the New York Knicks in his first and probably only year with the franchise. He was such a surprise, I don’t think the Knicks even knew what they were getting. They signed him late and people thought he was just a bench big. The biggest surprise was the addition of a three-point shot. Vonleh for sure should get some consideration for most improved player of the year.
His final stat line for the season was 8.4 points 7.8 rebounds, both career highs for him. Vonleh also hit 46 threes last year, in his first four years he hit a combined 43 threes. He made such strides this year shooting 33.6 percent from the three-point line. The addition of this dimension to his game made him such a valuable player for the Knicks, who were a +3.7 on offense with Vonleh, the Knicks had an offensive rating 107.1 with Vonleh and 103.4 without him.
Vonleh was never an impactful player on offense, and adding the three-point shot has made him so important, especially when the Knicks played him at center. This made his minutes rise to 25-35 minutes a night as a starter, with his improvement on offense.
On defense Vonleh also made strides, setting career highs in blocks at 0.8 and steals at 0.6. It also showed in the defensive ratings as well as the Knicks were basically even with or without Vonleh on the court and that says a lot as most of the Knicks players were really poor defenders.
The biggest thing that Vonleh showed this year was his ability to play center on defense, he was always an excellent rebounder but the strides he has made as a defender on switches really makes him a viable starter going forward. The Knicks even had him guard some of the best players like the Greek Freak or LeBron James, just shows the comfortably and trust they have in his defense.
NOAH VONLEHPF, Knicks
Overall, Vonleh receives this grade because he really turned the corner in his fith year in the NBA. Adding the 3 point shot and playing the small ball center will get him paid this summer. The New York Knicks will probably not bring him back as they set their sights on bigger fish.
Still, Vonleh had an excellent season and the future is bright for him, some team is going to be very happy to get him. He fits the mold of today’s NBA center, shoot threes and be able to guard smaller players on switches.