Alex Len's Career Projections with Suns

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJune 27, 2013

Apr 2, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Maryland Terrapins center Alex Len (25) goes up for a layup over Iowa Hawkeyes center Gabriel Olaseni (0) during the first half of the NIT Tournament semifinal at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Len was selected No. 5 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2013 NBA draft on Thursday.

The NBA tweeted:

Len, widely regarded as one of the top centers in the class leading up to draft day, averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his sophomore season at Maryland.

The 7'1", 255-pound big man is not generally regarded as a future All-Star, but rather a prospect with a well-rounded game who should become a solid player in the pros.

Here's a breakdown of how he fits the Suns, as well as his offensive projection, defensive projection and player comparison.


Team Fit

In need of a young difference-maker at center, it's not surprising that the Phoenix Suns selected Alex Len on Thursday. 

Marcin Gortat is 29 years old and Luis Scola is 33 years old, so this is clearly drafting for the future. Len was a bit of a surprise, since he was selected over Nerlens Noel. Then again, he has NBA size and impressive potential on both sides of the floor.


Offensive Projection

Alex Len's numbers at Maryland don't properly represent his offensive potential. He's very skilled for his age in the post, showing nice touch around the basket and polished post moves. He's also an underrated passer off the block.

According to ESPN, Len was third in the ACC last season in points per play as the screener in pick-and-rolls. That will give you an idea of his mobility.

And, while Len isn't going to win any three-point shooting contests, he can knock down the mid-range jumper. He can be a threat inside and outside.

Overall, Len has the ability to offer immediate production in the post and could develop into an above-average scorer at the position in the pros.


Defensive Projection

Alex Len projects well as a shot-blocker and rebounder, particularly as a shot-blocker. He averaged 2.1 blocks in 26 minutes per game last season at Maryland, and that just may be the tip of the iceberg for the 20-year-old.

As a rebounder, he's shown solid skills, although averaging 7.8 boards in 26 minutes per game isn't exactly outstanding. His size could help him translate to the big and bad NBA better than a lot of big men, though.

Overall, you are looking at a player who will likely be solid on both ends of the floor, which is good enough for most teams, especially at his position.

Best Season: 16.3 points, 51 FG%, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 blocks


Player Comparison: Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers

Alex Len's back-to-the-basket game, as well as his shooting range and defensive abilities, has some thinking he could be a Roy Hibbert-like player. I don't think he will reach Hibbert's level, but his overall game could make him a similar player. He will need to bulk up a bit, of course, which, being 20 years old, he can definitely accomplish.


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