1. Alex Len, Starting Center
There was once a time where taking Alex Len over Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore felt egregious. There was once a time when the big Ukranian seemed too injury-prone and clunky to ever succeed at the next level. I have no problem speaking for Suns fans when I say: Boy, is it nice to be living in this time now.
Since Len worked his way into the starting lineup, Phoenix is 12-5 with a point differential of +5.0. Over the last 15 games, Len has posted a plus/minus of +3.9, the fourth best mark on the team according to NBA.com. During that span, lineups with Len have limited opponents to 101.1 points per 100 possessions on 43.8 percent shooting.
The Suns probably won’t ever be a good defensive team, but having a guy who’s averaging 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a starter — not to mention 16.2 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per 48 minutes — has certainly been a huge boost for Phoenix’s D.
What’s scary is this 21-year-old still has a ton of room for improvement. But even if he keeps playing at this level for the rest of the season, the Suns will still be in good position for a playoff spot.