The Curious Case of Alex Len


Alex Len deserves a legit chance as a starting center, or it can almost be guaranteed he will get that opportunity somewhere else.

In all this free agency drama and the fact that the deadline for Alex Len to sign the Suns’ qualifying offer is almost here, this needs to be thrown out there: Alex Len was the fifth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft for a reason and he is still only 24-years-old. There have definitely been moments where he has been the headache, but there is serious potential for him to be the Ukrainian Hammer.

Len has started at center in 103 games in his entire Suns career. In those games he has averaged a respectable 8.3 points on 49% FG to go with 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in only 23.6 minutes. If you stretch out those numbers to give him 10 FGA and 30 minutes per contest, that’s 12.4 points 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

Not bad.

Last season, in the 13 games where he attempted at least 10 field goals and played at least 30 minutes, he averaged 13 points on 47 % FG with 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.

He had 26 games with 10+ points,19 games with 10+ rebounds, and 11 games with 3+ blocks.

His five best games last season were Nov 9 vs Detroit, Nov 12 vs Brooklyn, Nov 21 at Washington, Nov 23 at Orlando and March 7 vs Washington. In those games, against true and proven centers in Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, Marcin Gortat and Nik Vucevic, he either stood strong or out played them. Ovet those five games he averaged 12.4 points 11.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks opposed to their 13.2 points 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

There are, admittedly, two big issues with Len.

He is a traditional, slow it down big, trying to play in a fast-paced system and may not have a fit with the Suns because of that. For this reason, I can understand moving on. However, if he ends up with, say, the Lakers or Spurs and excels, at least half the fans that are currently okay with walking away from Len right now are going to strongly regret it in the end.

Also, Tyson Chandler is seriously stunting Alex’s development.

As much as I like Tyson, he is much more deserving of being on a contender than a rebuilding team. The move to bring him in to attempt to lure LaMarcus Aldridge was respectable but it must also be admitted that in doing so Alex has been held back from maximizing his true potential. And even though he was outplayed by Alan Williams in the final stretch last year, it can be argued that that was only a small sample size for the Ukrainian while being crucial in securing a contract for Big Sauce.

Looking at all of this information, it is very fair to conclude that if given a full season as a starting center he’d average 12-13 points, 9-11 rebounds and 2-2.5 blocks per contest.

Next: Imagining the Suns' most exciting lineup in 2017-18

There are only four other Centers in the entire league that matched those types of numbers last season: Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, Hassan Whiteside and DeAndre Jordan. (The Brow is more of a PF but I’ll include him.) That is stellar company. Is that really someone that might not be on the roster next year? That might be a future Spur? Think about that. Alex Len, all-star center for the San Antonio Spurs.

How does that taste?

I don’t even want to imagine.