On the eve of what some are predicting will be a draft filled with a hundred trades, the Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers start off the day with a nice trade.
The Charlotte Hornets get Nicolas Batum, and the Blazers get Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted out that Blazer’s All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge was aware of this deal and it has nothing to do with his impending free agency this summer. Probably because Aldridge is leaving no matter what? I don’t have any sources on that, but isn’t he?
Now for the Hornets, who is Nicolas Batum? Well the more important question is, is he the answer that Lance Stephenson wasn’t?
Batum went from averaging 13.0 points during the 2013-14 season to just 9.4 this past season although he was dealing with injuries. This means with Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist the Hornets have two nice wings, but they have to stay healthy and on the floor.
Batum can be a scorer, but his defense is suspect to say the least.
Now the Blazers know what they are getting Henderson, a defender who can hit the 3 ball, but Noah Vonleh is the unknown here. It is also the piece that the Blazers wanted.
Vonleh came out of Indiana expecting to go as high as the #2 pick, but on draft day he slid all the way to the 9th pick when the Hornets took him and they didn’t even work him out. They didn’t think they had a shot with him.
Vonleh seemed like the bust of the draft. It might not be that way when his career is over, however, as he did have some moments last year. Vonleh was injured in training camp with a sports hernia, and was then sent to the dreaded D-League for awhile, but by the time he came back healthy, he looked ok.
He looked ok as far as a kid who only played one year on a bad Indiana Hoosiers team, and he probably could have used another year or two at Indiana. Vonleh is a great rebounder, he could be a league leader in boards, but his scoring and other parts of his game need major, major improvements.
Right now it’s hard to tell who got the better end of this deal, but time will tell and if Vonleh pans out it will be a win for the Blazers. If he doesn’t, Michael Jordan still might take the blame for drafting the kid without working him out.
Zac Porter is a contributing writer for WJS and three other online websites. Zac is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Lob City, and a die hard fan and alumni of the UCLA Bruins. Zac has been with WJS since it’s inception but briefly left to finish his education. Now a graduate and on the path to even greater success, follow Zac for all your basketball needs, and of course the John Wooden Pyramid of Success.