Feb 25, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (center) looks to pass as Wisconsin Badgers guard Traevon Jackson (12) and forward Frank Kaminsky (right) defend at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated Indiana 69-58. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

This One is Just Right: Finding the Right PF For Orlando


 

This bed is too big, this bed is too small, this bed is just right. Most of us are familiar with the tale of Goldilocks’ plight in finding perfection. As with most stories the central idea of the story can be extrapolated and used in real life situations which brings us to the consensus top three Power Forwards in the upcoming NBA draft. Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, and Aaron Gordon have all come in and had workouts with the Magic, so there’s some level of interest there. Each of these have three completely different skills sets, so the dilemma here is deducing which skill set would compliment the Magic roster the best. Time to get to work.

Aaron Gordon: Height in Shoes: 6’8.75 Weight: 220 lbs Wingspan: 6’11.75 Max Step Vert: 39 (!!!!!) Age: 18

Mar 21, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Aaron Gordon (11) dunks in the first half of a men

The first thing that stands out about Gordon when watching him play is his freakish athleticism. Gordon can jump out of the gym, he’s an adequately strong player, and is extremely quick in the open court for his size. Now the more impressive thing that Gordon does is use this athleticism to his advantage consistently. Last year we saw flashes of Victor Oladipo‘s which led to numerous highlight plays but all too often Oladipo couldn’t translate that athleticism into results (See: Out of control drives to the rim). Gordon is a much more effective athlete and would likely be Orlando’s best athlete right away.

 Another aspect that Gordon brings to Orlando is his excellent defense. Orlando has a gaping hole defensively at the  four between Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson. (Note: I don’t believe O’Quinn is a four).  Let me bust out good ol’ hyperbole here, he reminds me a lot of LeBron James… in the sense that I believe he can effectively guard positions one-through-four. There were multiple occasions this season where Gordon would single-handedly blow up a pick and roll by being able to switch onto the ball handler and either contest the shot or force a dribble pickup.

Additionally, Gordon utilizes his athleticism is attacking the offensive glass. Gordon uses his quickness and length to follow-up misses on the offensive end; although he doesn’t do the same on the defensive glass. My biggest concern with Gordon is that he absolutely does not need to be respected on offense right away. His jumper needs to be torn down completely. He didn’t show much in the post in college to make me believe he’s got much skill down there either. His face up game will be rendered useless until that jumper is fixed because teams will sag way off of him which further clogs the paint. Orlando had the second worst offense efficiency wise least last season and Gordon likely isn’t going to do much to improve that. If Orlando picks Gordon expect him to play at both the three and four as a defensive specialist.

Goldilocks’ verdict: This bed is too small.

Julius Randle: Height in Shoes: 6’9 Weight: 250 lbs Wingspan: 7’0 Max Vert: 35.5  Age:19

Apr 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) shoots against the Connecticut Huskies in the second half during the championship game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When I watched Julius Randle the first thing I thought of was that this guy is a “classic” four; there is not position flex with this guy. Now, whether or not that’s a compliment is up for interpretation. Randle a very versatile offensive player for somebody that doesn’t have a reliable jumper. He is effective offensively when facing up, posting up, and as the roll man in the pick and roll. I’ve seen quite a few comparisons Zach Randolph but I don’t think that’s a very accurate comparison offensively as Randolph had a bigger array of post moves and a more consistent jumper. I’d say Randle is much more of a Dwight Howard/Amar’e Stoudemire cross.

Post wise he’s robotic but effective like Howard and facing up he reminds me a lot of a less explosive Amar’e. He’s fairly quick and powerful but doesn’t have that cram it down your throat athleticism. Defensively Randle’s size should allow him to defend bigger fours and I think he’s athletic enough to close out on stretch fours better than say a Kyle O’Quinn. The big concern for Randle is that his defensive instincts aren’t very good. He’s just a tad slow to react for help in pick and roll situations and needs to learn how to use his strength better to defend the post. Randle has all of the tools to be a least a neutral defender in the NBA; he’ll just need the coach to pull it out of him.

On the boards Randle is an extremely physical player; he uses his strength to get into position and gobbles up boards on both ends. The one thing I worry about when it comes to Randle rebounding at the next level is that he seems to rely almost exclusively on his strength and motor and doesn’t box out much. Again, something that is easily teachable. Now how does this all fit in with the Magic? If you pair up Nikola Vucevic with Randle the Magic would definitely be looking at a slow it down pound it down low, Memphis Grizzlies type of offense.

The issue here is that currently Orlando does not have the three-point shooters to make that a viable offensive strategy. Teams would clog the paint and force Randle to make quick decisions with the ball, which he struggled to do in college. Defensively I do believe that Randle can hold up his end in the NBA but I do not believe that in this particular case that he fits what Orlando needs. Orlando needs a rim protector to cover up for Vucevic’s deficiencies there. If Orlando were to draft Randle I believe he’d start off the bat and be a statistically productive player. but I think based on poor fit it wouldn’t translate into wins.

Goldilocks’ verdict: This bed is too big.

Noah Vonleh: Height in shoes: 6’9.25 Weight: 247 lbs Wingspan: 7’4.25 (BY GAWD KANG) Max Vert: 37 Age: 18

Feb 22, 2014; Evanston, IL, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) is defended by Northwestern Wildcats center Alex Olah (22) during the first half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Where do you even start with Vonleh? Oh I know measurable are fun! (NO ZACH IF YOU START WITH THE MEASURABLES PEOPLE THINK HASHEEM THABEET. ABORT MISSION!!!) No! Vonleh is an absolute freak from a measurable standpoint. As you can see his wingspan is a jaw dropping 7’4.25″, what you don’t see is that his hands measured out at 9 3/4 (L) x 11 3/4 (W).  With those kind of measurements and the fact that he can still grow it’s not out of the question that he could play center as well. Alright now that you’re all excited it’s time to drop the hammer…

Vonleh is extremely raw. Offensively Vonleh is a decent roll man but he needs to be coached up on how to set screens and picks. He does a good job of getting post position, however he doesn’t really have many moves down there. I’ve seen a hook shot and that’s about all she wrote. He’s a fairly poor passer from any position on the court as well and that contributed to his 2.1 turnovers per game. Vonleh had an effective jumper last year connecting on 48.5 percent of his three-point attempts. That said I have two concerns: A) The sample size was small B) he apparently was told to tweak his shot. Part of Vonleh’s underwhelming offensive numbers are due to Indiana’s guards being pretty weak but he’s still got a lot of work to do.

On the defensive end Vonleh is just as raw. Vonleh showed bright spots defensively where he’d rotate over to the weak side and block shots, however far too often he would turn his head away from the play or he’d just lose his man off the ball if his man cut. In the post Vonleh did a good job using his length to defend shots, but he needs to do better work on his man before he gets the ball, as he often allowed his man to get great post position. On the boards Vonleh is a natural rebounder. For a guy that generally lacked fundamentals he certainly shocked me when it came to rebounding. He boxed out his man fairly consistently, extended his arms fully and had a decent read of how ball was coming off the rim. This is the one area that  I’m confident that Vonleh will play at a high level right away.

The dilemma with Vonleh is that you have to bank on your staff developing him because if he develops properly he could very well be the best fit in Orlando. Offensively he could stretch the floor and open up driving lanes for Oladipo and free Vucevic up in the paint. Defensively Vonleh could be the shot blocker Orlando is looking for to pair with Vucevic. It’s hard to imagine a defensive frontline of with Vonleh standing reach 9’0, Wingspan 7’4.25 and Vucevic standing reach: 9’4.5, Wingspan: 7’4.5 not being effective. On the glass? Well… ALL THE REBOUNDS BELONG TO ORLANDO. I do believe in his first year or two Vonleh will likely be a low usage player having to rely on his defense to get minutes until he develops but if he does develop? Oh boy that’s one good player.

Goldilocks’ verdict: This bed is just right.

Tags: Aaron Gordon Julius Randle NBA Draft Noah Vonleh Orlando Magic

  • Frank Robert Coleman III

    I’d love it if Orl drafted Vonleh. Back to back IU players!

    • Zach Palmer

      Wouldn’t be shocked if that’s the way they go now with Embiid’s injury.

  • Victor

    Aaron Gordon good defense bad offense
    Julius Randle bad defense good offense
    Noah Vonleh good defense good offense (maybe will be in 2-4 years)
    Aaron Gordon alright bed

    • Zach Palmer

      I’d pretty much agree with that assessment. Vonleh definitely seems to have the highest ceiling and Gordon probably has the lowest floor but he’ll still be a good role player at worst.