4. Alex Len – WS 12.4 (.089)
Drafted 5th overall in 2013
The Phoenix Suns had never had a franchise center, so who did newly hired general manager Ryan McDonough select with his first-ever draft selection?
Alex Len. Center from Maryland.
A player who in college, was not even an All-Conference first team selection.
But hey! A diamond in the rough! Sure!
And were reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers even considered that very day in taking him number one overall!
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Well, in all, Len’s time in Phoenix wasn’t terrible.
Although he never truly earned the full-time starting position for the franchise, he was also never given it, either, and while his statistics and play were eerily similar to Marcin Gortat who made himself out to be a pretty decent NBA center after being selected in the second round, Len never played like a first round pick – let alone the fifth pick overall.
Without the starter’s opportunity, we must take into consideration his Win Share (which per-48min is pretty good), his Offensive Rating (which spiked in his last season to 121 – which is very good), his Defensive Rating (which stayed below 110 until his last season – and is okay), and his per-36 minute stats in which he averaged a solid double-double (13.1 points and 11.4 rebounds with 1.9 blocks) in his career in Phoenix.
Regardless of where he was selected in the draft, if Alex Len had been a regular starter and averaged those per-36 numbers, the Phoenix Suns would have had a pretty decent center on their roster.
The fact though that he was unable to ever break the starting rotation (and still has not in Atlanta) is indicative to his play and inconsistency – not to mention that freaking Giannis Antetokounmpo was selected ten picks later, Rudy Gobert, 22 picks later, Steven Adams, seven picks later, and CJ McCollum five picks later – and while Len was still one of the top-five best picks made in the last decade, he is the living proof of just how bad this decade of drafting has truly been.