Player Review: Alex Len
Info: 7-1, 255 pounds, 20 years old
NBA seasons: 1 (1 with Suns)
2013-14 numbers: 8.6 mpg, 2.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg
BEST GAME OF THE SEASON
March 14 at Boston. Late in a must-win game on the road, Len entered punched in for emergency duty for an injured Miles Plumlee. He made the most of the opportunity, scoring six points in the final five minutes. His and-one tip to clinch the momentum and the win for Phoenix drew a gravity-defying leap of excitement from Head Coach Jeff Hornacek on the sideline. His final line: nine minutes, six points, three boards, one block and one assist.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Get stronger and get experience. Len entered the season coming off dual ankle surgeries essentially kept him out of commission until January. That meant no summer league, no training camp, and no playing time until the Suns’ playoff push was already well under way. By then, Hornacek’s rotation was set.
General Manager Ryan McDonough said during closing interviews that the offseason between a player’s first and second seasons is the most important, and that will be especially true for Len. He now knows how much strength is required to battle NBA-quality big men. He will also have an entire offseason to recover the footwork and quickness that inspired the Suns to draft him in the first place.
A good offseason of working on his body and game, highlighted by summer league reps and extra time with assistant coaches Mark West and Kenny Gattison (a la Miles Plumlee in 2013), will help Len develop in leaps and bounds.
“Right now I just have to get better in the summer and we’ll see next year,” Len said.
HEARD FROM HORNACEK
“He’s got great touch. He’s got a good feel for the game. He can pass the ball. The game is fast for him right now, but at this stage, for us to be able to throw him in there in big games, he’s not afraid of anything. He’s long. He knows how to take up that space. He goes after rebounds. I think he’s got a great start to his rookie year even though it started late.”
PHOTO OF THE SEASON