The risk of Alex Len and his future with the Suns

Posted by on June 28th, 9:29 pm

PHOENIX – Judging or grading the draft the night of doesn’t lead to any sort of accuracy. Many Phoenix Suns fans were disapproving of the Alex Len pick at No. 5. It certainly wasn’t the sexiest pick, definitely ran the same risks as most of the other top-10 prospects and didn’t get much, if any, applause from national writers.

The poor draft grades divvied out to the Suns by national writers was especially hard to understand since Len was viewed as the darkhorse No. 1 pick – instead it became Anthony Bennett.

But the Suns believe they got a cornerstone for the future. Potential is one thing, but so is the fact that big men comfortable with their bodies are a highly sought after commodity. If anything, the former gymnast fits that mold.

“I started doing gymnastics when I was young, really young, like 8,” Len said. “I was doing it for like three years and my high school coach told me in the gym – the gymnastics gym – he took me to a basketball gym and gave me a ball and said, ‘Shoot it.’ I shot it and made it. He said, ‘See, you belong here.’”

Phoenix hopes he continues to belong.

How’d it happen?

Ryan McDonough first watched Len in 2010, when the then-17-year-old was playing in the Under-18 European Championships in a stuffy gym in Vilnius, Lithuania.

“I think there were 32 people there,” McDonough said. “I didn’t know Alex. You could see the raw physical package. I was intrigued by him then.”

Len competed with the likes of fellow 2013 draftee Rudy Gobert and current Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, finishing in the top-5 of that competition with averages of 16 points per game, 11.4 rebounds (second behind Valanciunas), and first with 4.3 blocks through nine games. His Ukrainian squad finished third-to-last out of 16 teams, but Len’s name was suddenly on the map.

Joining the Maryland Terrapins, Len’s college statistics on a team attempting to return to its past success were underwhelming.

“You can look at his production at Maryland, you know, he didn’t get the ball enough – we felt,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Phoenix liked him all along. They told him before the draft they’d take him if possible, and McDonough even inquired about moving up to make the grab. But as the draft unfolded, it became more clear Len would fall into the Suns’ laps.

“When we all looked at the guys and ranked them, he was consensus – by all of our guys – he’s got the biggest upside,” Hornacek added. “That size, that skill level, I think you take the best player available at that time. Is it the best for tomorrow? Maybe even still then, it’s the best for tomorrow.”

What’s expected in the near future?

Testudo Times, the SB Nation Maryland Terps blog, believes Len will be a very good NBA center but shouldn’t be expected to make an immediate impact. The Suns, who likely will be again facing a tankable roster, could play him to test that theory out.

“I wouldn’t classify him as a project,” McDonough said. “I think Alex is already skilled. He needs to get stronger but he has gotten stronger since the season ended. A lot of that comes with age. I don’t think he’s done growing.”

Len’s stress fracture in his ankle became a controversy because of how the Maryland training staff initially overlooked it on X-rays – a good summation of the issue is over at Pro Basketball Talk. The silver lining was the discovery that Len’s growth plates showed he could add another inch to his 7-foot-1 frame.

An August return to the court is likely, as is Len being ready for training camp. Pressed if Len’s foot injury, one scary for a big man, is a worrisome problem, McDonough could only say the Suns’ training staff saw no issues in the future.

So that then leads to what Len is right now.

Immediately, Len said he expects to be able to play solid defense.

“He’s not going to have to bang guys right off the bat,” Hornacek said. “Defensively with his length, probably is going to be quicker because of his length and his size. If I had to say (whether he’ll be better on offense or defense to begin), probably defense. We think with the skills, offense is not going to be far behind.”

What’s expected down the road?

Part of the Suns’ confidence in their pick – and picks – is their background research. McDonough appears to put a large weight on simply talking to players and those familiar with them. If they have the skill, Phoenix believes they’ll be able to break glass ceilings with their smarts and work ethic.

Such is how McDonough’s pick of Rajon Rondo with the Boston Celtics panned out so well, after all.

“I just think he’s a smart player, he’s a smart kid,” McDonough said of Len. “He’ll pick things up quickly, he’ll understand defensive rotations and what the opponents are trying to do.”

It all comes back to Len’s raw skill, which hasn’t been realized yet, of course. The Suns liked Len’s instincts as a shotblocker. They liked his footwork that likely came from his gymnastics days – it allows him to make moves that many other bigs can’t.

“We saw several highlights where he catches it on one side, and he can spin on a guy and get to the other side of the basket,” Hornacek said. “Big guys are usually not that mobile.”

McDonough wouldn’t speak about why Phoenix looked at Len before Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore. He only emphasized the Suns did what he said they would – take the first available player on their board.

“Is he as good a shot blocker as Noel? Maybe not,” Hornacek added. “But he’s still long, can block shots and has the offensive game. I’ll keep going back to it. You got a guy who is 7’1, can do things defensively, can block shots, can take up space with the wingspan – and he’s got a good offensive game. You can use him to pass, you can use him to score. It’s something you don’t see very often at both sides of the game. He’s not just one-dimensional.”

How does he fit with the run-and-gun Suns?

Choosing a big man might be misinterpreted as playing at a slower pace. The Suns likely took a lot of flak from that angle, but Hornacek rebutted with simple basketball points. Running teams can’t run if they don’t play defense, rebound and create turnovers.

Len sees himself fitting in well with the team.

“I know Phoenix Suns like to play high tempo, run up and down,” Len said. “I think it fits the game well. I think my agility came from a long time ago when I did gymnastics when I was young. It helped with my coordination. I think the high-tempo game fits my game well, too.”

Len said the shrunk spacing of the college game hurt his ability to operate in the post, and Hornacek repeatedly promised the Suns will get Len more involved in the offense. He said Len can get quick post position by beating big men down the floor. The pick-and-roll-ability of Len, who has a decent midrange jumper, will help in pop situations.

It’s unclear if the Suns would go with a Twin Towers look with Marcin Gortat if they retain him. Oddly enough, Gortat participated in an ESPN Insider player-only mock and chose Len for the Suns.

The be-careful-what-you-wish-for chants are already headed Gortat’s way.

If McDonough’s trust in Len is based on prophetic knowledge, those will only become more frequent.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Alex Len · Draft · Phoenix Suns

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ShanMan // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I see a lot of people thinking he is going to be a bust similar to a Darko Milicic, Tskitishvilli, etc. But I honestly feel these are only comparisons due to him being Caucasian and tall. What looks good with him is that he seems to have a decent touch from midrange, and his footwork near the hoop is impressive. Not only that, he seems to enjoy dunking the ball, instead of going for lower percentage layups (Gortat, Scola). I’ve seen some post moves in his highlights that very few NBA centers posess in this era. I think he may become a quality big man for this team, who can defend and score efficiently. I say good pick. Noel was red flagged by the Suns for his knee. If Aaron Nelson doesn’t think he could work with his knee, that’s troubling. And McClemore seemed like a good choice, but there are plenty of SG’s who can score the basketball in the NBA. 7 footers with Len’s footwork don’t come around too often. If the Suns still are awful next season, which I’d assume, they can go after one of the stud wings in next years draft. Pairing that pick with a still young Dragic and Len, plus adding pieces via free agency can get the Suns rolling again.

  • 2 Azbballfan // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    McMiracle has giant, mammoth sized balls to use his years of experience, personal experience with players, and not buying into the hype of some other players.

    I will trust McMiracle and his decision making until he proves otherwise

    You know what happened the last time the Suns booed a draft pick ?

    That was Thunder Dan back in the day

    Cotton Fitzimmons said at the time “I cannot help how you feel, but you will be sorry you ever booed this young man”

    People can complain all they want, but the reality is the Bobcats swung and missed on Len and Suns fans should be happy they did

    btw, someone else mentioned that Len and Goodwin will be out of the NBA in a few years, barring some kind of unforseen catastrophe, i really doubt that

    Maybe the fans at home taking a dump all over this pick should actually go watch game footage before they say anything

    I think Len will be a success until he proves otherwise

  • 3 Kevin // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Guys like McLemore come out every year and guards are much easier to find than athletic bigs who have some semblance of an offensive game (looking at you Nerlens). Len is a plus defender and his trajectory looks good. We should all celebrate this pick when teams use Hack-a-Noel to get the lead in game.

  • 4 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I was disappointed to see the Suns fail to get additional picks in this draft, but I’m glad to hear they were trying.

    I have no problem with the selection of Len. To me, it makes a lot of sense, as I knew they had to pick a big man, and preferably one up toward the top of the draft. I just have an irrational concern with Len in particular that he’s going to be injured a lot, which is something that often happens to big men (Yao, Sabonis, Ilgauskas). Hopefully his gymnastics background will keep him light on his feet.

  • 5 Junior // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I like the pick if we had traded Gorat and acquire another top 10 pick. I dislike it because now everyone in the league knows they can get Gorat for almost next to nothing.

    I wanted Noel badly. Noel or Len could sit out all year and adjust to the NBA game. They could get healthy and work out in the gym.

    The idea was to tank the season and then work on another cornerstone piece to build around.

    As much as tanking is bending the rules. It still needs to be done. Suns, need to try to get a franchise player. They never had the 1st pick ever. It’s time to do it.

    This team needs a redo and isn’t going to contend for a championship anytime soon. So instead of trying to be a 500 team. Draft your team and in 3 years you have a contender.

  • 6 Azbballfan // Jun 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Unless the NBA starts rewarding teams for being mediocre, cloak and dagger tanking is the way it will be done

    Unless your the Warriors and go start 5 rookies in a late season game

    I too was disapointed Gortat didnt get traded, but if it was anything like what Cleveland offered for Paul Peirce, 2 2nd rounders, i can see why they didnt move him yet

    I just cant see Gortat sticking around this team past this season

    Free Agency starts at 9 PM Arizona time on Sunday

    Lets see what the plans is for this season

    I expect Shannon Brown to be cut by Sunday, because if they dont it then, his contract would be good for this next year

    With the play of Welsey Johnson and Goodwin coming in, i dont see Brown or Beasley on next years roster either

    i know some Suns fans want Andre Igodala to come home to the Suns via free agency but that would be a mistake

    He is gonna want big time money, and we would only give up draft position in a loaded draft

    This next season needs to be about the 2014 draft and evaluating players and getting people developed for a future winning team

    it will be fun to see who the Suns go after, just please, dont go after players that will command a bunch of money and make us into a marginal playoff team

    We do that, and we are right back to rebuilding a few years from now

    Here are some players the Suns should target that they could get for a decent price

    Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer, Brandon Rush, Earl Clark, James Johnson

    All young guys with talent, that worse case scenario can be used in a trade down the road

  • 7 bk // Jun 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    It seems that these three new guys the team drafted love to drunk the ball a lot. It compliments the existing set of Beasley, Scola, Morris well that they love to shoot in low %. I think the GM is telling them if they don’t drunk they will be gone.

    I can see Len can pay the role of Jermine O’Neal of last year, assuming he is leaving for another team. If the coach allows he and Gortat on the court in the same time. We have a 7′ twin towers offense/defense combo. That would be cool.

  • 8 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 12:10 am

    @azbballfan -

    As far as contract decisions go, I can see the Suns buying out Brown, if there’s nothing else they can do with him.

    (The T-Rob trade has not been done yet; I still wonder if the Suns can get in on that using Brown’s contract.)

    Haddadi, however, seems useful as a 3rd center, and he’s cheap. I’m not entirely sure the Suns would cut him, seeing as how they needed a 3rd center last season.

    If the Suns already knew Frye was going to be available, they might skip on Haddadi, but I suspect Frye’s status is still indeterminate.

    Also, there’s the possibility that Gortat will be traded this summer or during the upcoming season.

    Another possibility is that Oriakhi was intended to replace Haddadi. This could be the case if Haddadi is deemed to have a poor work ethic.

    So not knowing the inner details on this, I’d have to give Haddadi something like a 66% chance of returning.

    Tucker will be retained, I expect, and be the starting SG. This seems closest to a sure thing, since the Suns are emphasizing effort.

    If no trades occur, I guess we might see the following lineups …

    Starters: Scola, Frye, Dudley, Tucker, Dragic

    2nd unit: Gortat / Len, Markieff, Marcus, Lee / Goodwin, Marshall

    Bench: Len, Haddadi, Oriakhi, Beasley

    This assumes a few things.

    One, that Scola would start at C because he can play with a left-handed PG, and the Suns will need a starting unit that can put points on the board.

    Two, that Frye is healthy. If he isn’t in good enough shape to start the season (which seems likely), Markieff would take his place and Beasley would play with the 2nd unit.

    Three, that eventually Gortat will be traded and Len will take his spot. Also, eventually Goodwin will take over for Lee.

  • 9 DBreezy // Jun 29, 2013 at 12:33 am

    There’s a report on Hoopshype that the Suns docs were not able to research Noel’s medical reports before the draft. I’m sure they’re referring to supplemental info beyond what everyone saw at the combine, but that’s tough if true. Can’t blame them for passing in that situation, but they may have to live with the fallout from it on the court.

  • 10 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 12:55 am

    I know there’s folks here who don’t like the idea of trading Brown for Thomas Robinson. But I would go so far as to consider trading Brown for both Robinson and Royce White. (It works in the Trade Machine.)

    I realize there are some significant problems with White. But I think there is a relatively simple way of working around the travel issue and minimizing the headaches. If I was in the shoes of McD / Hornacek, I’d ask the Rockets for permission to talk to White before confirming the trade, because of the special circumstances White presents, and see if he’d be willing to play home games if called upon. He wouldn’t be asked to travel; not even in the playoffs, should that occur.

    If this gets White’s approval, then the Suns trade Brown for Robinson and White.

    Off-court issues aside, White is a good player. He’s like Diaw, except with a few more croissants and a willingness to score. Able to play at either forward spot or at center, he charges like a bull across the court and either scores or sets up another player to score.

  • 11 Mike M // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:09 am

    It’s not a good sign for a top 5 draft pick when you have to start making excuses for him: “He didn’t get enough minutes in college,” “They didn’t use him the right way,” “There wasn’t enough space to operate” blah blah blah. Watch his highlights, specifically the draft express one. His positives: he can dunk lobs over guys he’s 6 inches plus taller than; he is a good passer; he has good lateral quickness; occasionally he makes an agile move to the rim. Cons: he got muscled out on the block by guys much smaller than him; his college stats weren’t that impressive (not even one stat line, all pretty mediocre for a #5 pick imo); he’s “unpolished” offensively; erc.

    Everyone in his defense says “well, you can’t pass on a skilled 7 footer.” I don’t think he’s that skilled, it’s really all based on potential. There are plenty of 7 footers who have had potential and turned out to be busts. Hope Len proves me wrong but I’m nowhere near sold on this one.

    Len could’ve been a good gamble for a team, but not for the 5th pick. McLemore was the most talented player on the board at 5, maybe in the whole draft period. That’s who you take. And if quality wing scorers are truly that plentiful, why don’t the Suns have one?

  • 12 Junior // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Totally side track story. I am thankful and still glad they didn’t get Eric Gordon. We would have a damage injury prone player as our franchise guy? He isn’t the answer and there are somethings the franchise did right.

    Now, they should just let the rookies and 2nd year players play, don’t make a splash in the free agent and just work on acquiring 2014, 15 draft picks and make this team prepared for real players.

    If there was a will or way to get Chris Paul or Howard. I am for it. Other then that I rather they stink for another year and just take their licks as one of the worse teams in the league.

  • 13 DBreezy // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:32 am

    @Scott,

    Assuming no trades or notable f/a signings before the season starts, I tend to doubt we’ll see that lineup. No way they put Gortat in the 2nd unit. It’s bad for both parties. The Suns aren’t going anywhere next season, but I’m sure they’d like to keep Marcin’s trade value at a maximum and do the best they can to keep him being visibly disgruntled in a contract season. Putting him behind Scola and having him share backup minutes with Len doesn’t do that. Plus, while Scola was better offensively at the 5, he was significantly worse defensively (97.9 to 107.3).

    My bet is that we see Dragic, Tucker, Dudley, Scola, Gortat as starters. Beasley trends towards his historical 15.0 PER which teases us all, but not enough to make Horny start him. The tougher decision for him will ultimately be with the Morris twins who probably tease in SL and camp despite once again having poor fg% numbers. There may even be talk of a Goran/Marshall backcourt. Len will get at least 20 mins a nite and Goodwin will play too. There will be growing pains, but I can’t imagine a team this bad wasting one of their 3 years of development for Goodwin with him on the bench. Why send him to the D league when you’re essentially a D league team?

  • 14 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:37 am

    @MikeM -

    Why don’t the Suns have a quality wing scorer? To give a one word answer: Blanks.

    They almost didn’t have a PG for the same reason.

    Goodwin projects to be better than McLemore. He’s got some PG skills, he’s got IQ, he’s got motor, he’s got a work ethic, he’s got killer instinct, he’s got athleticism, he’s got the ability to slash, he can take contact and go to the line, he defends, and he’s going to get his jump shot fixed.

  • 15 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:54 am

    @DBreezy -

    I agree that Goodwin shouldn’t go to the D-League. For one thing, it’s not real competition. Guys blow up in the D-League for massive points, rebounds, and the like, and then on their return to the NBA they’re quiet as mice.

    What Goodwin needs is time to correct the mechanics of his shot. IIRC, Hornacek tells a story about how he needed to fix his own shot when he came to the Suns. It took him about a year, but after that he was golden.

    I think the Suns give Goodwin a little time to get some confidence in his new shot before bringing him onto the court to use it under real conditions. So I foresee that in Nov-Dec it’s Lee playing 2nd unit SG. But after that, I’d have Goodwin in.

    As for Gortat … I feel pretty sure he’ll be traded in the next six months. I just can’t say when or to whom or for what. I know it looks better to have him start, but the chemistry between him and Dragic and Scola was bad last season. If Frye is available, he can spread the floor for center, which is a help, but if Dragic and Gortat continue to be incompatible on the pick and roll, I think Scola will win the starting spot over Gortat.

    Having Gortat start and yet be impotent at center won’t boost his trade value any more than having him come off the bench.

    If Hornacek has a scheme that resolves the conflict between the three players (Dragic, Scola, Gortat), then sure, by all means start all three.

  • 16 SHAZAM // Jun 29, 2013 at 4:18 am

    best line so far comes from Dbreezy “Why send him to the D league when you’re essentially a D league team?”

  • 17 bk // Jun 29, 2013 at 8:14 am

    The team is carrying a maximum of 15 players. So, with the addition of 4 players in the draft day. I believe Brown/Haddadi/O’Neal/Garrett will be gone. Frye/Tucker/Johnson will be question marks, depending on Frye health and the Free Agent signing.

    1. Gortat
    2. Dragic
    3. Beasley
    4. Scola
    5. Dudley
    6. Brown (1.75M guarantee) –> Goodwin
    7 & 8. Morris
    9. Marashall
    10. Haddadi (200k guarantee) –> Oriakhi (min 750k)
    11. O’Neal –> Len
    12. Garrett –> Lee (min 750k)
    13. Frye
    14. Tucker
    15. Johnson

  • 18 Azbballfan // Jun 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

    McMiracle already said Gortat is the starting center to begin the season, and that Len will back him up

    Len should be ready to go in August

    Yeah, alot of guys in the NBA can be bigmen that bust

    However, in Lens case, his fits a long term and short term need and it coming into a situation where the team has a rookie GM and coach and the Suns are obviously in blow it up mode unless they make terrible decisions in free agency

    Len was McMiracle’s pick, and its hard to see a situation in which he doesnt get every chance to be a success

    I think Scola, Brown and Beasley are locks to be moved or released this summer

    They dont fit on a rebuilding team

    I too think the Suns need to go get Thomas Robinson

    Robinson was a top 5 pick who was dumped into a bad situation in Sacto and then traded to a team trying to make the playoffs and had too many PF

    I too think the Suns should trade for Royce White

    Now, people are going to be calling me crazy but understand this:

    Whites Anxiety disorder can be treated, and treated very well with a medication called Lexipro thats specifically designed to help people with generalized anxiety disorder

    This is something i know from my own personal experience of being treated for multiple anxiety disorders

    He needs psychological therapy as well, i mean there is help

    This is the NBA, why the hell havnt the Rockets got him on medication and into therapy with a competent therapists?

    Anxiety Disorders are the result of a combination of factors including genetics, trauma, and enviorenment

    They are also the most common mental disorder problems out there, about 3 million americans have a anxiety disorder although the real figure is higher since not everyone can afford treatment

    Ship out Beasley and Brown and Scola and Gortat

    Get White and Robinson in here

    Give Houston Brown and Beasleys and Haddadis non Guaranteed deals and a 2nd rounder or something

    If the trade didnt get done Thursday is because no one wanted to give up a 1st round pick for him, for some reason

    Come on McMiracle! get something done with Houston, somethings gotta go down early next week because the Rockets want to clear space

    Lets do it!

  • 19 Doug // Jun 29, 2013 at 9:30 am

    The Unfortunate fact is that Beasley and Scola are over 10 million a year of useless, worthless dead weight on our roster for the next 2 seasons.

    No one is dumb enough to take those 2.

    I would like to see Gortat moved now that we have Len but lets face it, the window for that was during the draft, now we wont get nearly as much for him.

    I believe we could also get something during free agency as some teams will need big men.

    The fact is that the NBA is a Star league, and we have no stars.

    Here is to going for Andrew Wiggins!

  • 20 foreveris2long // Jun 29, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Mike M you might want to go back and look at the scouting report of Wes johnson from Syracuse, compare it with McLemores’ and tell me why you think McLemore will be better than Wes Johnson. Essentially since neither one drives the lane very often and are super athletic they are very similar players.

    As I said immediately after the Suns drafted Len, it was an excellent move by McD because Len has better than average lateral foot speed an athleticism to be a good defender. He has a few low post moves and a decent 15 footer. By December those in doubt today will likely be sold on this pick. You also have an edge to predict you will be best player from this draft. I love this pick.

    How far Gortat has fallen but I am not surprised. I saw last night Portland wants Splitter or the Minnesota center this summer. It seems we cannot give Gortat away.

  • 21 Ty-Sun // Jun 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

    That’s interesting that Portland wants Splitter because I read something the other day that indicated that SA might be interested in Gortat. I basically dismissed it but if SA is thinking about letting Splitter go this summer then they might actually be interested in Gortat. If nothing else as a one season replacement rental and give him a chance to prove himself there.

    But the trade season hasn’t actually started yet and it’s quite a while until training camp so I’m not holding my breath waiting for the Suns to start making trades. I do hope that McD & Co. are already burning up the phone lines looking into potential trades though.

    I respectfully disagree that Scola has “no value”. I think he would be a great addition to a contending team if he can adjust to coming off the bench. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in IQ and drive. Beasley is almost the exact opposite. Lol, as I’ve said before if the was just some way to put the best of both of those two together in one player he would be an all star.

  • 22 Lloyd I. Cadle // Jun 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I, like most wanted McLemore. However, the NBA is still a big mans game, and you need a solid C to build around.

    I looked at some of the film on Len, and he can really move for such a huge man. Guys with that kind of potential don’t come around too often.

    I think that the Suns will keep Gortat until the trading deadline and then deal him and get a max return for him at that time. (Gortat will be motivated by a potential new deal.)

    This will allow them to break in Len at a slow pace, (by starting Gortat for the first half of the year), and then let Len play a lot of minutes in the second half of the year, while preparing for the draft of 2014.

  • 23 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    If the Spurs want Gortat – and I think he could work better for them than Splitter does – maybe (getting greedy here) the Suns could ask for Livio Jean-Charles *plus* the SA 2014 first round pick?

    That could be a nice deal.

  • 24 Azbballfan // Jun 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I would love that trade

    However, the Spurs are one of the NBAs model franchises, and rarely give up assets to win now

    I bet Gortat just walks after next year if the Suns think his value as a assett is not going to get a good return

    plus, I dont know if i want a guy like Gortat in the locker room.

    What ever happened to just being happy to be in the NBA?

    Gortat had to work really hard to get where he is for sure, but this idea of his of Len waiting a few years as his backup just because he had to do that with dwight howard is rediculous

    You dont draft guys at number 5, who are not projects, to sit behind a decent but not great center who is 29 and going into the last year of his deal and is going to want more money and a long term deal

    Why do you think he rejected a extension offer from the Suns last year?

    Back then he could only get a 2 year deal, now that he has waited, he could get i think a 4 year deal

    I doubt that comes with a hometown discount

    We wait and see what we get for him, let him start for the 1st half of year, then trade him when the time is right and let Len take over

    In fact, i hope Len comes into camp and really gets after it and compels the Suns to start him instead of Gortat if thats the way its gonna be

    I heard they were gonna develop Goodwin as a combo guard and fight for minutes with Marshall

    Great!

    Get Marshall to earn his spot or ship him out to a team that can use him

  • 25 Ty-Sun // Jun 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    @ Scott, Yes you are getting greedy. I also think Gortat would work better for SA simply because he would be more motivated on a contender than on a rebuilding team. But Jean-Charles and SA’s 2014 1st round pick for Gortat? Maybe Jean-Charles and SA’s 2015 1st round pick is more reasonable. I could definitely live with that deal.

  • 26 Ty-Sun // Jun 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    There is no doubt that Gortat will be motivated to play as well as he can this year. Whether he wants to stay in Phoenix or not, it’s new contract time for him and I’m sure he will play as hard as he can to get the best deal he can wherever he plays.

    I hope all the talk I hear about trying to make Goodwin into a PG is BS. I’ve read the comments about him too and to me they mean that the Suns just hope that he will develop his passing skills AT the 2 guard spot. What do you have when your 2 guard thinks score first and almost never passes? Shannon Brown. We already have one of those and we don’t need another.

  • 27 Scott // Jun 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    @Ty-Sun -

    A 2015 pick would be fine too. I’m not too sure of the relative value of a late first round pick in either draft. I picked 2014 because by 2015 they might be rebuilding …?

    And why I ask for 2 first round picks is that San Antonio is such a winning team their picks are always late (except for those two critical #1s!), practically like 2nd rounders.

    Another reason why I’d ask for 2 picks is because SA likes who they’ve got right now and are picking foreign guys to stash. So they may as well give those picks to the Suns for a player they can actually use.

  • 28 Rdway // Jul 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I am both a long-time Suns fan and a proud Terp alum, so I should be ecstatic with the Alex Len pick.

    However, even after a weekend of letting the draft results sink in, I am still not sold about the pick. After all, I adhere to the principle of drafting the best player available.

    Applying this principle based on the NBA 2013 Draft Prospect – Pro Comparisons below:

    Nerlens Noel – Larry Sanders
    Ben McLemore – Ray Allen
    Alex Len – Jonas Valanciunas

    … I would pick BenMcLemore.

    I hope Alex Len and Ryan McDonough prove me wrong down the road.

  • 29 Ukrainian Len recalls move from gymnastics to basketball – The Tribune // Jul 1, 2013 at 1:16 am

    [...] Hornacek, right, on Friday, June 28, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, …The risk of Alex Len and his future with the SunsValley of the SunsAlex Len's journey from Ukraine to US could culminate with him going No.1 in [...]

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