Nets: Former top pick expected to sign and hopefully provide key upgrade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 14: Noah Vonleh #32 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 14: Noah Vonleh #32 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets are still in need of rim protection after trading away Jarrett Allen, and Norvel Pelle’s poor performance in his debut didn’t offer a ton of optimism in that department. Sean Marks needed to look to the free-agent market once more to beef up the roster, and he may have found the right man for the job in Noah Vonleh.

Vonleh came into the league with high hopes due to his size and athletic ability, but he’s found it difficult to stick around in the NBA, as he’s already played for six different teams despite being just 25 years old.

The Nets are hoping that his seventh team ends up unlocking his reservoir of talent. Shams Charania is reporting that Vonleh is expected to agree to a deal with Brooklyn and give the Nets another big body on the interior.

Will Noah Vonleh help the Brooklyn Nets?

After a promising career at Indiana, Vonleh was picked ninth overall in the 2014 draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He only last one season there, however, before being traded to Portland in the Nic Batum deal. Vonleh averaged just 3.9 points per game as a Trail Blazer before getting dealt again in a trade with the Bulls. Vonleh has played with the Knicks, Timberwolves, and Nuggets over the last two seasons.

His best season came with the Knicks, during which he averaged 8.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game under David Fizdale.

While Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could’ve been utilized as a stretch four (which Brooklyn needs), Marks seems to be enticed by the same potential that keeps getting Vonleh new jobs. While a poor offensive player for most of his career, his ability to protect the rim and get out in transition should help significantly.

As good as Brooklyn’s “small” lineup with Jeff Green playing center can be, they’re getting demolished on the glass and on the defensive end whenever they unveil this shape. The only way for the Nets to get better on the defensive end is rolling the dice on players like Vonleh who have shown some aptitude on that side of the ball.

Brooklyn’s superstar trio will help them compete with anybody, but the rest of this roster needs a major facelift. Vonleh won’t make them a contender, but he has more potential than exiled second-rounder Reggie Perry and offers more offensive skills than Pelle. Still just 25, there’s a chance he ends up looking like the star Hoosier he once was upon landing in Brooklyn.