In high school, Noah Vonleh ranked in the top 10; in college, he starred at Indiana, then became the ninth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, beginning his professional career with the Charlotte Hornets.
But not every top prospect pans out, and doing so becomes even more challenging when there's a lack of stability. Vonleh's played on seven teams in seven years, he got traded after his rookie season, and the longest he's stayed with a franchise was his time with the Trail Blazers, which lasted less than 2.5 years.
Still, he turns just 27 at the end of August, he's six-foot-ten, and he can play the four and the five. His versatility and ability to contribute at both ends of the court are why, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics are signing Vonleh to a one-year deal.
For his career, Vonleh's averaged 4.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game. He hasn't shot the ball as well from beyond the arc as initially hoped upon entering the NBA, converting just 30.8 percent of the 0.9 three-point attempts he hoists per contest, but other parts of his game have flashed at times during his career.
For instance, while playing with the Knicks in the 2018-19 campaign, he started in 57 of the 68 games he played, producing 8.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, both career highs. He also blocked nearly a shot per contest and, on average, made 33.6 percent of his two attempts from beyond the arc.
The abilities reflected in that production, combined with Vonleh's ability to bump up from his natural power forward position to play the pivot, gives him a legitimate chance to earn a spot at the backend of the Celtics' roster.
Is Vonleh the answer to Boston's search for a legitimate center behind Robert Williams and Al Horford? Most likely not. But training camp and the preseason represent an opportunity for the Massachusetts native to prove he provides value as an added layer of depth at two positions. Now, after spending last year with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, it's up to Vonleh to capitalize on his chance to return to the NBA.