Alex Len, one of the top prospects in the 2013 NBA draft, will be out for up to six months after surgery to stabilize a stress fracture in his ankle, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The Maryland product declared for the draft last month.
Potential lottery pick Alex Len of Maryland had surgery to stabilize stress fracture in his ankle and will be out 4-6 months, his agent says— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 3, 2013
Len averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game in his second season with the Terrapins. His combination of size (7'1'') and athleticism made him an intriguing prospect. It's unclear how the setback will impact his draft stock, if at all.
The early portion of the projected timetable would have him healthy in time for the start of next season. The entire six months would cut it a lot closer. That said, as a developmental prospect it's unknown if his immediate availability would factor in to a front office's decision.
After a lackluster first season at Maryland, Len showed off immense progress early in his sophomore campaign. He posted a line of 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks against a Kentucky Wildcats frontline led by fellow elite prospect Nerlens Noel.
The 19-year-old Ukraine native has illustrated good versatility on the offensive end. He features a couple different post moves and improved as a passer, which was expected given his court vision. He's also shown a solid mid-range game that should further develop at the next level.
On defense, his combination of length and very good athleticism for a true center give him great shot-blocking potential. Despite the aggressive defense, he averaged less than three fouls per game, which is a positive sign.
What type of impact will Len's injury have on his draft stock?
While the skill set and upside is obvious, he's still a bit raw. Another season in college would have probably helped, but it's hard to blame him for making the jump while his stock was rising.
He will need to add some bulk in order to contain the powerful centers at the next level. His ball handling is also a work in progress. But there aren't any glaring flaws that work with coaching and conditioning staffs in the NBA won't be able to fix.
The ankle injury is a setback that will probably slow his transition. Whichever team selects him isn't going to take any unnecessary risks just to get him on the floor knowing his true potential lies over the long term.
More about his status should become clear as next month's draft gets closer.