Noah Vonleh will have some fairly big shoes to fill in Charlotte. Josh McRoberts decided to take his talents to South Beach by signing a 4-year, $23 million deal with the Heat. Without any other great options at power forward, Vonleh is expected to assume a starting spot from day one.
McRoberts developed into an integral part of Charlotte's offense last season, averaging 8.5 points per game and posting an outstanding 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. While that's a lot to expect from a rookie, Vonleh is capable of matching, if not upping, McRoberts' production.
Like McRoberts, Vonleh stretches the floor with a good mid-range jump and works hard on defense. At 6-foot-9 and nearly 250 pounds, Vonleh has the perfect frame for an NBA power forward. His strength and athleticism generate a ton of upside and the potential for Vonleh to become a superstar.
Vonleh creates a formidable duo in the post for Charlotte. Al Jefferson, the Hornets' leading scorer, rebounder and star center, can dominate on the block. Vonleh will be able to set up isolation plays to Jefferson by stretching the floor, and he has the post moves to work alongside Big Al down low, something McRoberts lacked.
It hasn't been long since Charlotte drafted a post from Indiana. They called Cody Zeller's name with the 4th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Zeller didn't show much in his rookie campaign, averaging just 6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Zeller will likely back-up and split time with Vonleh, as will Anthony Tolliver, if he re-signs with Charlotte.
The Hornets biggest struggles last season were offensive efficiency, perimeter shooting and rebounding. They got their shooter at pick 26 with P.J. Hairston. Vonleh provides another strong rebounder, and the offensive efficiency will be aided instantly by Vonleh finding high-percentage shots around the rim. He also moves well on offense and can work with Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson to create open looks.
Charlotte is a young team slowly developing into a contender in the east. Vonleh isn't even 19 years old yet and has plenty of room for growth. Al Jefferson is 29 years old and has only two years left on his contract, the second of which is a player option. After a couple years of development under the wing of Big Al, Vonleh could become the man in Charlotte.