If you’ve been noticing the improved play of Portland Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh over the last few weeks, you’re not alone. We mentioned Vonleh’s synergy with Jusuf Nurkić in the latest edition of the Blazer’s Edge Podcast. Now he’s getting national notice as Zach Lowe of ESPN praises him in the weekly installment of “10 Things I Like and Don’t Like”.
You hear a version of the refrain from team execs all the time: "The hardest thing to do in the NBA is be patient."
Vonleh is finishing his third season, and second as something of a token starter in Portland. He has looked for large parts of that time like a bust. Charlotte hasn't sweated flipping Vonleh for Nicolas Batum, even as Batum has dropped off during the first year of a mega-deal.
But Vonleh would show flashes: a smooth long jumper, good footwork switching onto point guards.
Lowe demonstrates some of his points with video, showing post-up and defense opportunities. He concludes with this optimistic bon mot:
Vonleh is still raw. His jumper is unproven, though the Blazers hope he can eventually hit open 3s. But he looks like he should grow into a useful rotation player.
Where are you on Vonleh? Do you consider him an integral—or at least tantalizing—part of Portland’s future or are you ready to give up on the experiment? Have your impressions of his ceiling changed since this mini-Renaissance in his play? Weigh in below.