Phoenix Suns Select Alex Len with the 5th Pick in the NBA Draft

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Phoenix Suns Select Alex Len with the 5th Pick in the NBA Draft
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

When Maryland center Alex Len took the NBA draft stage Thursday night as the Suns' No. 5 draft choice, it was not the first time that the 20-year-old Ukrainian outshined Kentucky center Nerlens Noel at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. To start the past college season, Maryland lost to Kentucky but Len won the center matchup. Len posted 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on Noel, the center who was often associated with the No.1 pick until Thursday night. The Suns did not just think Len was the best center in this year's draft. They thought he was the best player in the draft. The Suns did not win the draft lottery on May 21, but they felt like they won it Thursday when they were stunned that Len was available at No. 5. The Suns started salivating once Cleveland dropped jaws by taking UNLV's Anthony Bennett first. They discussed trading up with each of the four teams ahead of them to get Len. “How often do you get a chance to get a 7-1 skilled guy who is a great person on the court, who is long, has got a nice touch, finishes well around the basket with good body control,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “We feel like he's just scratching the surface of his basketball ability.”

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