Hornets coach says team needs to add ‘another big guy’ following Noah Vonleh’s injury

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The Hornets selected Noah Vonleh with the ninth overall pick in this summer’s draft, a 6’10” big whose rebounding ability could have seen him earn minutes in the rotation as soon as the beginning of the season.

But Vonleh suffered a sports hernia injury that required surgery, and he’s expected to miss six to eight weeks.

That’s going to put him pretty far behind, because he’ll miss all of training camp and the entire preseason — the time when practices are plentiful, and the most teaching from the coaching staff can take place.

Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford said that the injury will affect Vonleh in terms of his minutes, and also means that the team will be looking to add some additional size to the roster.

From Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (via Basketball Insiders):

Q. How much or little will missing the preseason affect Noah Vonleh’s rookie season?

A. It will definitely affect how quickly he can reach the chance to be in the playing group because a lot of the teaching comes at training camp. But he made good strides during summer league.

If you look at the early schedule (18 games before the end of November) we just don’t have many days to practice. In the preseason you can have double sessions and can do a lot of teaching. Camp is so geared to your game – both team and individual games. In the season you spend more time preparing for opponents.

Q. Do you see any holes on your roster heading into training camp?

A. Noah going down (to injury) means we need to add another big guy. Right now we have four (big) guys who are healthy – Marvin (Williams), Cody (Zeller), Al (Jefferson) and Biz (Bismack Biyombo).

Vonleh was drafted for his potential, and will undoubtedly get his chance to show it at some point. But it’s clear that his ability to contribute in the upcoming season was affected significantly, at least in his new head coach’s eyes.