Jan 5, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins center Alex Len (25) drives against Virginia Tech Hokies forward Cadarian Raines (4) at the Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Len: Draft Profile

Alex Len (Center)

Height: 7’1

Weight: 255

Wingspan: 7’3 1/2

Vertical Jump: Not available due to his injury.

NBA Comparison: A poor man’s Marc Gasol.

Strengths: 

  • Great physical attributes. As the saying goes “You can’t teach seven foot one”.
  • One of the highest ceilings of any player in the draft.
  • Great mobility for a big man. Good overall defender; effective at guarding the pick and roll.
  • Rock solid mid-range game.
  • Good passer out of the paint.

Weaknesses: 

  • Tendency to be passive at times on both ends of the floor.
  • Strong enough, tough enough to guard NBA centers?
  • Decent offensive game but not particularly effective using post moves.
  • How will he bounce back from his injury?

How he fits with the Suns:

This is hardly news to Planet Orange, but it’s pretty much common knowledge that Marcin Gortat is not the long term answer for the Suns at center given the fact that he’s entering the final year of his contract and he’s entering his thirties. Alex Len is an excellent prospect with a unique assortment of elite size, athletic ability, and overall talent. The Suns need help at just about every position at this point with the exception of maybe the point guard spot.

With the addition of Len, the Suns would have someone who would immediately help on both ends of the floor. On the offensive side of the ball, I’m already convinced he’ll be an upgrade over Gortat. Len is far more comfortable facing up and taking a 15-18 foot jumper, and he’s a excellent pick and roll player. Len’s athletic ability and size allows him to go up there and get the ball in traffic which ultimately gives Goran Dragic or other ball handlers the option to throw more lobs up at the rim.

Defensively, right off the bat he can be anywhere from Gortat’s equal to tremendous upgrade. While Gortat is a center with good size and mobility in his own right, Len is a better athlete and he’s a whole three inches taller than Gortat. Len’s size and ability to jump will also be a huge  factor when it comes to offensive rebounds; putbacks made up for 19% of Len’s points last season at Maryland.

Another great aspect about Alex Len as a prospect is that he has all-star potential who’s ceiling is that of someone like a Marc Gasol. Not to mention he is just turning 20-years old. Len’s physical attributes and his intangibles are all present. However, it remains to be seen if it’ll translate and evolve at the next level. Len is currently the fifth ranked prospect on Chad Ford’s big board which happens to be the spot where the Suns will be picking in the upcoming draft.

 

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