Big man Noah Vonleh was very impressive at the NBA Draft Combine, with great measurements and decent athleticism for his size. He was not necessarily a star in his first year of college, but showed great potential. It is likely that he is moving up most draft boards, and will not be available when it is the Los Angeles Lakers‘ turn to pick. However, even if he is available, the Lakers should pass on Vonleh and focus on a player who can contribute right away.
There is no doubt that Vonleh can one day become a very good NBA player. But he is a risky pick, and may take years to develop. He struggled in big games, and seemed to disappear on the court. While his measurables are great, his production is average, and there are better options to choose from. He is extremely raw on the offensive side of the court, and will struggle to keep defenses honest.
The Lakers have Kobe Bryant for two more years, and need to surround him with talent that can play right away in the league. They do not have the luxury to stash a prospect, hoping that he develops into a good player down the road. If they want to be competitive with Bryant for two more years, then they need to be aggressive with their pick and draft a player that can immediately help.
Due to Vonleh’s raw skill-set and inability to stand out in college, the Lakers should consider passing on him if he is still available. He has good potential, but is not the type of player that the Lakers need at the moment.