With the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Noah Vonleh. The Hornets had been rumored to be heavily interested in both Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott leading into draft night, but Stauskas being taken with the eighth pick and Vonleh falling down the draft board changed everything.
Up until the day of the draft, it seemed like Vonleh was going to be a top-six pick in this draft. However, reports began circulating quickly that front offices had soured to a certain degree on him, which resulted in him slipping down the board in late mock drafts and ultimately in the actual draft.
In terms of what he brings to the Hornets, he’s actually a fantastic fit with a ton of potential. With his solid size and length at the power forward position, Charlotte adds a defensive threat that can help protect the rim in a defense that was quietly one of the better units in the league last year. However, the positives in bringing in Vonleh don’t stop there.
Arguably the biggest thing that Vonleh will give Charlotte is the ability to stretch the floor. The Hornets came into this offseason and the draft knowing that they needed to add some perimeter scoring to their arsenal and Vonleh has the potential to be a stretch-four that will give them just that. Much like LaMarcus Aldridge or Chris Bosh, Vonleh has already shown that he can knock down mid-range jumpers as a face-up jump shooter. He also showed promise as a potential three-point shooter, shooting 48.5 percent from long-range on his 1.1 attempts per game in college.
While Vonleh’s offense alone will be big for the Hornets by itself, it will also open up the game of the interior-oriented Al Jefferson. Jefferson is devastating on the low-block, especially when he’s matched up on a single defender. With Vonleh stretching the defense a bit, that will only increase the effectiveness of Jefferson.
There are shortcomings with Vonleh. He needs to improve his footwork a bit on both ends of the floor and some of his interior offense could use improvement, but he’s also still only 18 years old and has a ton of development left ahead of him. Considering what he already brings to the table and what he could potentially become as a player, the Hornets lucked out by grabbing him at nine.