NBA Draft 2013: Alex Len drops to Suns with 5th pick


PHOENIX — Alex Len, not long ago tabbed as a potential surprise No. 1 pick, fell to the Phoenix Suns at the fifth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports they will keep him despite rumors indicating Phoenix was looking to move out of its fifth spot. Considering the options that fell in the Suns laps, that’s not that surprising — Len was first on their draft board to start the night.

“I like the sun so I’m happy to go there,” Len said to the Phoenix media via a conference call. “When I was there, they told me (I was first on the board). I love the Suns, can’t wait to start to work.”

[RELATED: Alex Len's Phoenix Suns draft scouting profile]

Anthony Bennett was the shocker No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, defying the odds to even the most in-tune basketball reporters. Victor Oladipo went second to the Orlando Magic, and Otto Porter went third to the Wizards in one of the only to-be-expected happens of the day.

“I think it started with that first pick in the draft,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s been kind of a crazy draft so far. When we saw who was going to go first, that changed things.”

After Oladipo went second, it was clear the Suns would have Len, Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore on the board, making a trade out of that fifth spot seemingly more unlikely.

When the Charlotte Bobcats picked Cody Zeller fourth, the Suns had all three available.

That was three prospects who had at one point or another been considered No. 1 choices. Phoenix went with Len, who must recently usurped Noel as the Cavs’ pick at No. 1. Len’s upside is legitimately equal to or better than Noel’s, as Mike Schmitz of Draft Express told us in our Monday Google+ show, and the pick gives the Suns a chance to move Marcin Gortat via a trade.

Oddly enough, ESPN Insiders’ player-only mock draft had Len falling to Phoenix, and it was ironically Marcin Gortat who made the decision with himself in mind.

“It’s not easy to find bigs, and I believe that to win a championship, you need two true big men — Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in Dallas, Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett in Boston — and I think Alex can play the 4,” Gortat says. “But I’d have him come off the bench for the first year or two while he’s learning, just like I learned behind Dwight Howard in Orlando. Every young guy has to go through hell in the NBA, learning how to practice three hours a day, and then play the next day, for 82 games.”

Len said he was most excited to work with Suns point guard Goran Dragic. Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said Len didn’t get the opportunities to be a go-to offensive threat at Maryland, and he stressed that his all-around game was the alluring part of his game.

The 20-year-old from Maryland averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his sophomore season.

“Anytime you get a 7-foot-1 guy with a long wingspan, those skills,” Hornacek said, “it’s not often you can get those types of players. If you look at that production at Maryland, he didn’t get the ball enough.”

Looking forward to playing in an up-tempo, spread out NBA offense, Len believes he’ll be able to operate more in the post. But he said he’s most ready to contribute defensively.

Len is recovering from a stress fracture in his ankle. He should be available for training camp and can begin playing again in August.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbn5U7aI2Ng]

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Alex Len

  • foreveris2long

    McD that was a brilliant move as next year’s draft seems void of a lot of star power at center. We can get a star wing next year where should be some real stars. Then again there are so many wings in this draft we can get one later tonight. Smart move McD, welcome aboard.

  • Zane

    Forget the f*cking suns I’m finding a new team. I’ve been with them since I was a kid and have taken so much sh*t from every laker fan growing up in la and after this Len BS its too much. Len is complete trash

  • bk

    Make sense. Particularly Gortat is the biggest trade chip we have.

  • DBreezy

    The trade games begin

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Passing up Noel & McLemore for Len ?

    Hope this pans out & Len doesn’t turn into another big white stiff.

  • DBreezy

    Take me to the magic of the moment on a glory night, where the children of tomorrow…….

  • Ty-Sun

    Taking Len tells me the Gortat is going to be gone. I can understand why they took Len instead of Noel because Len has a better offensive game but still plays solid if not great defense.

  • DBreezy

    @Hawki,

    We’re still in the benefit of the doubt phase, but it is a risk for sure.

  • MidnightSun

    Are Mavs the Suns best next chance for a trade partner?

  • john

    Passing on Noel for Len seems like a bad idea to me. Passing on McLemore for Len seems like a bad idea to me. Passing on a lot of guys for Len seems like a bad idea to me.

    I know the proof will come later, so I’ll be patient, but I think the Suns just threw away a top 10 pick.

  • frenchysunsfan

    Passing on McLemore means that the Suns are looking for a veteran SG. They said yesterday that the Pélicans were looking to trade Gordon and he would be a very good fit to the Suns if he’s healthy.
    Or maybe Tyreke Evans as the Kings took McLemore.
    On the other hand, picking Len opens the door to a trade concerning Gortat.

  • Sunstroke

    After talking myself back in off the ledge after the Alex Len pick, I realized there is one positive that is likely to come out of it…

    “With the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select Andrew Wiggins…”

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    @ DBreezy

    Last time Suns had a #5 pick we got Walter Davis….we can only hope.

  • DBreezy

    @Hawki,

    True, I’m just hoping that the Suns can get in on some trades, although I have my doubts. Heard Horny mention Marcin as a mentor to Len….

  • Craig from Boise

    Disappointed. Noel was there. He won’t play until after the all-star break which means a higher lottery pick and a chance at Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins next year.

  • MidnightSun

    Since the reports of Alex Len being a fav of Suns I’m beginning to believe that could mean the reports of Suns loving PG Pierre Jackson at 30 are very likely to come true as well.

  • SJ_PHX

    I hate this pick. Absolutely and unquestionably. We’re a franchise that has never had a dominant defensive center and one falls to our lap and we take Alex Len? I think the team got too cute and too smart for it’s own good. I hope I’m wrong but this leaves a really bad taste in my mouth

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    AZBballfan has been proven to be a genius.
    A month ago he said Noel would fall to #5 & no one believed him.

    Well…he fell to 5….and the Suns PASSED HIM UP !
    I’m still in shock
    We’ll see who turns out to be the better pro.

  • joey

    Len is a great pick guys. Noel is only 200lbs. Way too small to be effective inside in the nba. Plus Noel has zero offense other than a dunk on occasion. Mclemore might have a better upside but no guarentee. So i’ll take a chance on a athletic 7’1 center who has offensive skills every time. There’s plenty of good guards in the nba but very few centers who have skill in the post. Plus it opens the door to trade gortat for an sg or anotherpick next year. Go suns!

  • SJ_PHX

    I really hope you’re right Joey.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    I’m hoping we get Ledo at 30…has a great handle for a guy his size.
    Would probably have been lottery pick if he got to play at Providence this year.

  • http://None MichPhxFan

    Zane, I feel your frustration as well, being a lifetime Suns fan. Phoenix has no one that can straight put the ball in the hoop. Don’t even try arguing Dudley…he’s a good role player. Passing up on McLemore will be a HUGE mistake. Why draft another center when you have a serviceable one and NO SG?

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    of course the spurs get my boy Livio Jean-Charles.

    hilarious watching stern try to spit these names out.
    he completely butchered Lucas Nogueira

  • DBreezy

    Archie Goodwin to the Suns, rejoice Scott!

  • DBreezy

    Coro says the Suns view Goodwin as a 1.

  • KayGee19

    Man I used to be sooo passionate about what the Suns would do…..its been yrs of shock & dissapointment with this team!! You skip on McLemore!!! Imagine him dunking on some one with a beautiful pass by Dragic!! He would of been RoY with the Suns trust me! Suns will regret this move unless we get Wiggins!

  • connor

    i’m on the edge, we either draft terrible or trade away good draft picks , we didn’t really need len our health staff are good enough to heal noel better than any other , and i think we should of taken a guard just a bit bewildered. the staff should of realized he was the wrong pick when the bobcats passed on him for zeller . onto the next draft maybe our gm will pick wiggins or maybe they’ll fall in love with another guy and draft wrong. i pray he turns out but don’t see the bright side

  • Jero7

    Yeah, that’s it…base who you should draft by what the Bobcats do. They have lots of success with their past draft picks. Len was a solid pick.

  • Beasley’s No.1 fan

    The Suns passed on Noel because they had legit concerns about his health, I am a bit surprised and disappointed that they passed on McLemore but I do like Alex Len a lot and I believe he will be a good starting center for many years.

    My message to the fans is to just wait and see how the picks turn out.

  • joey

    If the bobcats view zeller as a better prospect than len then you can be certain that len will be better. Bobcats are terrible talent evaluaters. Goodwin was a steal at 29. He’s a lottery talent just needs more seasoning. Another year in college and he would have been a lotto pick in 2014. Suns did a great job i think. Trade gortat because we need the cap space. Maybe we could get evans from kings or sign o.j. mayo like we should have done last year. Then next year we draft wiggins or parker hopefully. Suns did a very solid job with these picks. Mclemore was inconsistent and a 50/50 roll of dice if he pans out or not. Noel is lighter than alot of guards so no way he can bang inside with nba bigmen. He’d have to put on about 40lbs which is almost impossible without losing some quickness and agility. Plus he can’t shoot at all outside of 5-6 ft. He”ll be a poor mans ben wallace at best and probably no where near as good. Planet orange will be strong in 2 more years. Just be patient because the new gm has to fix all of sarvers mistakes.

  • Noitall

    YOu can all hate Len, or debate back and forth about Noel and McLemore being on the board, but the bottom line in all of this is the Suns had the choice between at least three guys projected to be out of reach a week ago and got one.

    You might think I am saying that as a good thing, but you would be wrong. The fact is, I personally do not think ANY of those three are EVER going to make a difference for the Suns. Maybe for someone else, but not on this team.

    Len is amazingly similar to Robin Lopez in level of ability and Brook Lopez in terms of similarity of skill. That means he has a bit better offensive game than defense [Brook], but his ceiling is Robin’s production and role [career backup on good team, marginal starter on a bad team]. Len will ultimately play out 2-3 years and be either thrown in a trade, or will leave in restricted FA because we won’t want him and his salary.

    What frustrates me is that there were several teams willing to trade multiple picks, including 2014 picks, in this draft. It was a perfect opportunity to find a way to either pick up MIN picks and Derrick Williams, then trade some pieces around to re-work our roster [meaning dump Beasley and Brown's half salary].

    Rather than having Len, I would have loved to see us trade completely out of this draft and pick up one or two picks next year [in the top half], so that we would have 3 high 1st rounders in 2014.

    I can put up with sucking for another year to be able to get multiple high picks in a draft that will yield probably the biggest bunch of superstars in one draft since Lebron’s year.

    These moves fall exactly in line with all of the moves Babby has made. OUr new GM made no mark for himself, but only proved that Babby controls things and once again, another really bad draft with no trades.

  • Scott

    While it’s not the direction I would have gone, Len is a good pick for many reasons. He’s tall, long, smart, and he plays on both ends.

    IIRC, he’s also one of two players I can think of who vowed to be the best player taken in this draft. (The other is Archie Goodwin.)

    The Suns did need to draft a big man, and they did that.

    Would Len have been the top choice for the Suns if he hadn’t been injured? After all, he didn’t have to run that conditioning sprint at the end of the evaluation, which at 7′ 1″ he may have found difficult.

    On the other hand, provided Len can keep free from further injury (my big worry), the Suns might have got a steal. If Len had been able to participate in the Combine and in tryouts, and he showed well, he might not have been in position for the Suns to take him at #5.

  • DBreezy

    Interesting how close Len and R.Lo are as soph bigs via analytics outside of rebounding numbers where Len is clearly better. Of course that’s just numbers, but this is supposedly a numbers front office now.

  • Scott

    ^^ Also interesting considering how DX had Len as their #1 prospect, and yet NBA fans tend to universally revile Robin Lopez.

  • http://None MichPhxFan

    They had a chance to make a SIGNIFICANT upgrade at a couple positions and they didn’t. Grabbing a much needed 2 in free agency will be tough…guys aren’t lining up to play on a team that’s years from being a contender.

  • Elviro (Italy)

    I made 2.30am (in Italy) to see me … I was hoping for the Draft Oladipo for my beloved suns … but it was too strong to get off at the 5th choice … Len I have not seen video … now I will … and what about Goodwin?
    In Italy say that Len has a great potential but that this may, perhaps, be more useful in the future that immediately in the NBA …

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    So the Pelicans drafted Noel and traded him for Holiday. WHY couldn’t the Suns do the exact same thing??

  • SkyBill40

    I was thinking the same thing, Sill. Actually I was hoping that the Len pick was a pick for someone else and a trade for some real talent was involved. Sadly, I was wrong.

    I’m not thrilled with this pick by any means. The pick they should have made ended up going two picks later to Sacramento. That said, I hope that McLemore burns the Suns for passing him over each and every chance he gets (which will be four times a season). While Noel was an interesting prospect and worth considering for his defensive, game changing abilities, there’s just too many questions in my mind relating to his size, health, and true position. I was fine with him going to NO, but I don’t think he was the right fit here. Still, the Suns could have taken him and turned him in trade for an established player a la the deal that went down between NO/PHI.

    Len, while no slouch, is just another question mark. Will he be a dominant center? Was he overhyped? Was he really worth a top five pick? Will his foot injury be a lingering issue or will he be fully healthy? Those are the issues that I see… and only time will tell how this pick pans out.

  • HankS

    I don’t think the Suns needed Holiday and I don’t think they cared to give up a 2014 first-rounder. Simple as that.

    As for taking Len instead of Noel, I’m fine with that. Len has an offensive game, is bigger and his injury is much less threatening.

    As for taking Len instead of McLemore, I’m fine with that, too. Gortat will have to be traded at some point, or he’ll simply bolt, and there’re no good free agents to be had. OTOH, there’re several decent free-agent shooting guards (Tyreke, OJ, JR Smith) and even a trade for Eric Gordon might be possible.

  • http://ultimatesimbaseball.com Brenton

    I hate the Len pick. HATE it. When the Suns pick rolled around and Noel and McLemore were still on the board, I was elated. It was a dream scenario, and instead it turned into a nightmare when I heard “the Phoenix Suns select Alex Len”. Its been just a few weeks and already our newest GM crapped himself on a national stage. Maybe I should just move to San Antonio and get it over with.

  • Azman2003

    Im new here, and maybe I’m an idiot, but I like both picks from a “2-3 year plan” standpoint. I think that in the long run we might have made some good picks.

    We had 3 possible choices at #5…and IMO the pick we absolutely COULD NOT make was Noel. He will earn his money banging inside in the NBA…rebounding and blocking shots…and he will need to add at least 30-40 pounds to even have a chance to do that. He had NO offensive game, and may never be able to develop one. Plus you add in 2 ACL tears in the same knee…and he was a red flag all the way for me. I would have been really upset had he been the pick.

    So for me it came down to Len or McLemore….either of which COULD turn into solid players.

    The reason I like the pick of Len is that next years draft…as great as it looks…is not stacked with true centers. In order for us to compete in the future..we will need a starting quality big man. We potentially got that guy in Len. I think he has big upside and in 2-3 years could be a solid 16/10 type center that plays pretty good defense. We know he can rebound, and he is surprisingly athletic for his size. Im not sure if he will ever be dominant in one area, but I think he can be above average overall. He will need time, and a little luck…but I see him being a good piece for the rebuilding project.

    Also…now we can clean house in the front-court. Gortat and Scola are some of our only tradeable pieces, and Len makes them tradeable. If trading these guys could land us another pick in 2014…then that makes the Len pick even better.

    I like to Goodwin pick as well…I think he will be a solid SG in the future. He also needs time, but it would not surprise me to see him become a solid starter. He plays D…he slashes to the rim with authority, and if he can learn a jump shot he will be good.

    So I think we have set the table well for next year, assuming we can now trade some pieces like Gortat, Scola, at least one Moris…basically anyone. I would say anyone but Len and Goodwin should be available for picks.

    Next year we will suck…but we would have sucked with Noel or McLemore. Hopefully we will suck bad enough to land a top 3 pick. Getting the #1 and Andrew Wiggins would be incredible…but I just dont think the cards will fall in our favor. We could end up with the worst record and still lose out in the lottery. I personally think the Celtics will end up with that pick, almost no matter what. They will miss the playoffs…and the NBA loves to fix things. If we get a top 3 pick…we get a potential star. Wiggins, Gordon, Parker, Randle, Smart….any of those guys would be great. If we can somehow get another pick somewhere in the 11-16 range…we can get another starter…someone like Seldon, Robinson or Harris…then we have added pieces.

    Potential line-up at this time next year:
    Pg: Dragic
    SG: Goodwin
    SF: Robinson III
    PF: Parker
    C: Len

    And thats not including a potential big name FA. How much better could we really hope to be after a 2 year rebuild??

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com Troy

    SMH…..

  • NOitall

    Neither Len nor Goodwin will be with the Suns past their contracts.

    Nobody in this draft is short or long term help. Trading them as assets into next year’s draft, or using them to either obtain a veteran/dump Beasley was a far superior use.

    Cap space is meaningless as there are seriously NO free agents worth overpaying [that would play here], this year or next. Bottom line is that RIGHT NOW< the only way we improve is through drafting players that have the ability to start right away and become stars AND by trading assets to bring in a star player.

    We did neither. We just drafted Meyers Leonard 2.0, a backup center forced to start for a bad team [us], and a guard that may enjoy Russia in two years.

  • Azbballfan

    Noel fell to 6 for the exact reason i said months ago.

    He has two torn ACLs on the same knee

    one in highschool and one a year or so later as a freshman

    if the Suns, with the best medical staff in the entire NBA, decided not to draft him it must have been because they felt Noel was damaged goods

    Yeah everyone is hating on Len right now except a few people

    Passing on Mclemore, who was apparently dogging it in workouts, was also a good choice

    The Suns will have plenty of draft picks and free agent money to get a 2 guard if they choose to, just dont make it Eric Gordon and his terrible max deal

    Noel is damaged goods with that knee

    Think about how Suns fans would react if we went ahead and got him and he barely plays due to recurring knee injures?

    if the best medical staff and doctors in the industry on the Suns thought he was one major injury away from significantly shortening his career

    well then the Suns dodged a bullet

    Noel will be great at defense and rebounding, however i thought Len had comparable skills, and zero red flags

    McMiracle said his stress fracture was looked at again and again and they said he should be fine long term

    Every GM remembers what happened to Portland and Greg Oden

    No one wants that on their hands

    I am still stunned that both Cleveland and Charlotte passed on Len, but thats their deal

    I dont like the fact we passed on my homies Franklin and Nedovic either, but Goodwin is young, athletic, has great defensive potential, and attacks the rim without fear

    Gortat is gone, and Marshall is too unless the Suns see a reason to keep 3 PG on the roster

    Len gave you 17 points 11 boards and better than 3 blocks a game per 40 minutes

    That, while playing on a Maryland team with no real PG, and him playing on a stress fractured ankle for ATLEAST the last few games before it was diagnosed

    So few guys in the NBA are 7-1 with his combination of athleticism, agility, and skill

    Whoever said on this comment section that len was “total garbage”

    must hate maryland, the suns, or just be ignorant of basketball in general

    Some idiots have trotted out Jake Tsakaldisi 2.0 as a comparison

    give me a break

    Len was a great pick, he will be well cared for in Phoenix and his team starts with zero expectations

    Plus, this sets us up for a great 2014 draft in which we have our pick and Minnys protected pick

    Yeah, Noel fell but so what

    You dont want a guy with a damaged knee like that

    I hope he has a great career but i think Len will be fine

    Mclemore would have been a ok pick, but i think, after watching a ton of scouting videos on him, he will good but not great

    He cant really put the ball on the floor or create his own shot or create for others

    He gets his offense mainly thru people setting screens

    Theres nothing really wrong with that, but the Suns wanted someone who could handle the ball and create for himself

    one of the other things i heard was that Lens growth plates are still open

    That means he could end up being 7 foot 3

    He is only 20 years old, he just turned 20 a week ago and he is just scratching the surface

    and once we get Gortat out of here there wont be anyone really standing in his way taking minutes

    I could be wrong but i doubt it

    McMiracle put together a team of very experienced, respected scouts to get this pick right, if they werent 100 percent sure he was the guy, he wouldnt have been picked

    talk to me in a few years when Len is giving you 18 and 9

  • Ty-Sun

    I was reading some comments by McD about why the Suns selected Len and they made sense to me.

    First, Maryland wasn’t a great team (25-13) and Maryland’s ball handlers did a very poor job of getting him the ball.

    “Either they didn’t get it to him or, when he was in position and open, they got it to him late and let the double (team) come or something.”

    “I didn’t think they were a very good post feeding team and I didn’t think they were a very good shooting team,” he said. “So if you can’t get the ball to Alex or if you have trouble getting the ball to Alex, that makes it difficult.

    “And then if once you get it to him, if the other team can just double without any regard for your perimeter shooting, how would anybody succeed in that kind of environment? You need some tools around you.”

    Anyway, that’s why McD is a better player than his college stats indicate. Hopefully he is correct.

  • Ty-Sun

    And of course the Suns aren’t a very good team either but as they add better players around him, Len should get better and better too. If he and Dragic click early on then perhaps this pick will start to look good to everyone.

  • http://www.thegoliathslayer.com Jon Zahm

    The Len pick is a mistake. Noel is a much better defender and rebounder and is all over the court. Huge upside. That said there is the injury risk so I would have taken McLemore. He is the best shooter in the draft and can drive and finish. Ready to start in the NBA on day one.

  • Azbballfan

    Sacto would have to move some guys to make space availaible for Mclemore

    they have Thomas, Fredette, Thorton, Salmons and alot of other guys too

    I think they should have went Trey Burke but whatever thats Sactos mess

    McMiracle said on Gambos radio show they will see what Gortat and his agent want in terms on an extension

    i really think that if the Suns cant get anything good for Gortat by the deadline, he walks and the Suns just get that 7.7 mil in capspace

    I cant imagine a scenario where Gortat signs an extension and takes over full time, on a rebuilding team, with new GM and coach and likely players in place

    Gortat will likely command something like a 4 year 40 million contract, then the Suns will say no way, and Gortat will be out of here

    I just cant imagine that the Suns would draft 5th overall to have a guy like Len come off the bench for more than a year

    Gortat isnt Tim Duncan, its not like your taking over a ll-timers spot, you know

    Hopefully we dont do anything stupid in free agency

    its much smarter to acquire talent thru the amnesty process where you get talent at a bargain rate for being under the cap

    We should be doing that instead of throwing money at Monta Ellis and Tyreke Evans

    Unless of course they want to come here on a reasonable deal, but nearly everyone thats a FA seems to have this fantasy that they will command a max deal when they haven not done anything in their careers to deserve that kind of money

    We should be trading for prospects, getting guys thru the amnesty process, then if all else fails, go to free agency and find a veteran who can teach the young guys and wont complain

    thats what i would do if i was McMiracle