DPOY: Alex Len
Honorable Mention: P.J. Tucker
Nobody plays on-the-ball defense for the Suns better than P.J. Tucker, but Alex Len has easily had the biggest defensive impact since he was inserted into the starting rotation. Out of all NBA players who have played at least 600 minutes this season, Len is fourth in the league in blocks per 48 minutes.
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Since he was moved into the starting lineup, Len is averaging 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. He’s coming off back-to-back games with a double-double and has registered three total in 16 starts. Not bad for a guy who was seen as an injury-prone waste of a draft pick as a rookie!
Len moving into the starting rotation has not only been a major upgrade over Miles Plumlee, but it’s also allowed Hornacek to play small-ball lineups and (usually) get away with doing so. It won’t be long before Len’s seasonal numbers catch up with his averages as a starter and he leads the Suns in rebounds as well (5.9 RPG is the mark to pass).
At 21 years old, Len is the future of the center position for the Suns. Phoenix is also 11-5 since Len became a starter. He’s a stabilizing force on the defensive end and recently showed fans why choosing him over fellow 2013 draft pick Nerlens Noel is looking like a wise decision so far:
Oh, and even though this has nothing to do with Len’s defense, we can’t mention the young Ukranian and NOT throw in this clip of Len blowing by Tim Duncan to do his best impersonation of the Air Jordan logo. I don’t know about you, but my spirit animal is an Alex Len post-dunk roar:
Next: Suns Most Improved Player Of The Year