Posted June 27, 2013

Alex Len selected No. 5 by Suns in NBA draft

2013 NBA draft
Alex Len

Alex Len averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 38 games at Maryland last season. (Porter Binks/SI)

The Suns selected Alex Len with the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at Len and how he fits with Phoenix:

Bio: Maryland | Sophomore | Center

Vitals: 7-1, 255 pounds

2012-13 Statistics: 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 53.4 percent shooting in 38 games.

Strengths: The Ukrainian big man is highly skilled for a 7-footer. He has the ability to score in the post and as a face-up shooter. His size, agility and footwork should enable him to make an impact defensively, too. He outplayed Nerlens Noel in the season-opener, finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.

Weaknesses: Len wasn’t consistently productive as a sophomore; he said he started feeling pain in his left ankle with two months left in the regular season and could have played better if healthy. Len had surgery in May for a partial stress fracture in his ankle, a procedure that caused him to miss pre-draft workouts and is expected to sideline him for another two to four months.

What Scouts Say: “You see someone his size who is talented offensively, but you look up and he averages 11 and 8 and you’re like, What the hell is going on? When he wanted to do well, like against Nerlens Noel or Mason Plumlee, he did it, but why wasn’t that there every night? He’s young and he’s still becoming Americanized. The coaches at Maryland swear he’s a special shooter, but special shooters don’t shoot 68 percent from the foul line.”

Team Fit: Phoenix has to believe Len was the best player available. I’m not sure that’s the case, though. Len does stand to be a long-time pro based on his two-way potential. He moves well for his size and has a bit of a post game, though he’s in no way efficient enough from the block to be counted on as a dependable option. Still, he’s a nice catch-and-finish option with pretty good hands, and he’s tall enough to stress defenses when rolling to the rim. A nice get, but a bit strange given the wealth of talent still on the board.

1 comments
JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

Journeyman player who will stick around only because he is tall.