By Greg Willis
In advance of the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Peachtree Hoops crew will preview each player on the current roster. The ninth edition breaks down the game of veteran center Alex Len.
Alex Len was an intriguing, high-ceiling prospect when the Phoenix Suns chose him with the No. 5 overall selection of the 2013 NBA draft, ahead of players like CJ McCollum, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert and and even Giannis Antetokounmpo. Granted, some of those players have surpassed everyone’s expectation after being passed over by numerous teams. Still, the hindsight view of that draft shows how highly touted Len was entering the NBA after two seasons at the University of Maryland.
In five seasons with Phoenix, Len was never able to elevate his game above that of a role player on a team that dropped to the NBA cellar over the course of his tenure with the Suns. During his final three seasons with Phoenix, the team averaged 59 losses per season while Len’s numbers plateaued around nine points and five rebounds per game. After four seasons, the Suns did not extend Len’s rookie contract, but instead made a qualifying offer that resulted in a one-year deal and ultimately led to his 2018 free agency. That, of course, paved the way for the Hawks’ opportunity to give the Ukrainian big man a fresh...