Noah Vonleh is looking to re-start his career. And while he had some suitors in free-agency, Vonleh felt his best chance was with the Knicks.
Noah Vonleh joined a rather large cast of ex-lottery players when he signed on the dotted line for the New York Knicks.
Inked to a one-year deal worth $1.6 million, Vonleh, who spoke with Marc Berman of the New York Post, talked about the ‘hunger’ of his new teammates and the Knicks’ chances to surprise people.
“I took a look at the roster,’’ said Vonleh, who trained in New York last summer. “A lot of former lottery picks — Trey Burke, Mario, Emmanuel [Mudiay], myself. I talked to [GM] Scott Perry and coach [David] Fizdale. We got a lot of guys who were lottery picks and for a reason. So coming into the season, a lot of guys have a chip on their shoulder. A lot of guys are hungry. … And it could be a great year when you have a lot of guys hungry. Good things can happen.’’
Recently in the summer, rookie Kevin Knox also predicted that the Knicks will beat the odds, and win at least 35 games, and may have an outside shot at the playoffs. However, the website FiveThirtyEight sang a different tune, only giving the Knicks 25 wins and a six percent chance to make the postseason.
Vonleh also discussed his talents and what he feels he can bring to the team. A solid rebounder, Vonleh talked about the Knicks losing Kyle O’Quinn and the injury to Kristaps Porzingis as reasons why he’ll be cleaning up the boards this season.
And despite his naysayers, Noah is eager to prove scouts and others wrong who have questioned his basketball I.Q. and overall place in the league.
“I don’t know really what those guys are talking about,’’ Vonleh said. “Here in New York, a lot of people will see I’m a pretty smart basketball player. I don’t think that’s a problem. People will say things. Nothing I can do but come in here and change that.’’
Finally, fans will be happy to hear another player praising David Fizdale and the respect he has around the league. Vonleh cited Fizdale as a key reason why he decided to sign with the Knicks over teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I saw this as a great opportunity for me,’’ Vonleh said. “With coach Fizdale getting the job there, there’s a bunch of young guys who are hungry. I heard great things about him from places he’s been. I’ve talked to him what I can do as player and bring to the team.
Overall, it’s unclear what role Vonleh will play on the team. He could be a key reserve for a team that is looking to part ways with exiled forward Joakim Noah. Lance Thomas and even Mario Hezonja may likely see some time at the four spot.
Yet one thing is clear. It’s in Vonleh’s best interest to give everything he has to the Knicks. His future in the league will likely depend on it.