Minnesota Timberwolves 2013 NBA Draft Player Profile - Alex Len
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Article

Alex Len

Alex Len

MARYLAND
Year: Sophomore
Position: Center
Height: 7-foot-1
Weight: 255 lbs.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Timberwolves.com will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 9 or 26 picks, or if they choose to move up during the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Part III highlights Maryland center Alex Len, the big man from Ukraine who put together two strong years at Maryland and projects to be a potential Top 10 pick.

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Mock Draft Projections: 1st Round, Picks 4 to 10

2012-13 Season: 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 1.0 APG, .534 FG%
2011-12 Season: 6.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 0.6 APG, .553 FG%

Maryland center Alex Len hasn’t had the opportunity to work out at the Combine or individually for teams during this NBA Draft season—instead, he’s been limited to interviews and basic measurables as he recovers from having surgery to stabilize a partial stress fracture in his left ankle in early May. But even though his recovery timetable is 4-6 months, it hasn’t hurt his draft stock.

Len is a tantalizing prospect that could land somewhere in the middle of the lottery because he possesses size mixed with a nice skill set near the basket. A native of the Ukraine, Len said he originally came to the U.S. knowing very limited English but picked up the language in a year. He carries himself maturely for a 19-year-old, and he has a pretty firm grasp on what NBA teams will want from him as a young center in this league—rim protection and running the floor.

In his first game last season, Len scored 23 points and added 12 rebounds—seven offensive—against projected top-3 pick Nerlens Noel and the University of Kentucky. He added 19 points and nine rebounds in an upset win over No.2 Duke on Feb. 16, and he registered a combined 11 blocks in his final two games of the year against Alabama and Iowa in the NIT.

STRENGTHS

First and foremost, Len has the size at 7-foot-1 to give an NBA team the type of rim protection they desire out of a big man. He is defensive-oriented, and he’ll be able to provide a little shot blocking while also making it tough to navigate in the paint for perimeter penetration. He has quick footwork and has shown at the college level he can navigate the pick-and-roll, make passes from the post and either hit the occasional mid-range or use his shiftiness to get to the basket. He plays with passion on the court and carries himself extremely well away from the gym—he seems to possess the maturity you look for in a top pick.

WEAKNESSES

On the court, Len has struggled from the free-throw line during his time at Maryland. He shot 58.7 percent as a freshman and 68.6 percent as a sophomore, and as we’ve seen at the NBA level if you have trouble hitting free-throws down the stretch it can become problematic in late-game situations. He has struggled with foul trouble in college, fouling out four times last year while picking up four fouls on six different occasions. Off the court, he is coming back from a stress fracture injury. For a team like the Wolves who battled injury last season, including 20 missed games from starter Nikola Pekovic, is there a certain level of risk the team isn’t willing to take on someone who is recovering from injury prior to entering the league?

THEY SAID IT

“It actually was really helpful. I think it was harder to come overseas right away to the NBA. If you don’t know the language it’s really hard. But these two years was really good for me. I learned the language, learned the style of play, learned the culture and right now adjusting to the new cultures and it’s so much easier to me to try to transition from college to the NBA.” — Maryland center Alex Len on coming to America to play college basketball

WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES

Len is the type of big man that would fit on most teams. He’s got the size to contest shots and protect the rim, he has the footwork to play strong defense and he has the capability on the offensive end to score and feed the perimeter. He understands that rim protection and running the floor are the two primary needs for most NBA teams out of a young center, and he’s prepared to continue working on his offensive game as he matures in the league. He played in the ACC, so he’s very well used to playing in hostile environments, and he reacts off the pick-and-roll well for a player who, if he lands in Minnesota, would be fielding passes from Ricky Rubio.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Time Draft Picks

Year
Player
Pos.
School
Rd / Pick
Ht / Wt
Class
2012
Robbie Hummel
F
Purdue
2 / 58
6'8" / 215
Sr
2011
Derrick Williams
F
Arizona
1 / 2
6'8" / 248
So

Donatas Motiejunas
F/C
Italy
1 / 20
7'0" / 222
Int'l
2010
Wesley Johnson
G/F
Syracuse
1 / 4
6'7" / 215
Jr
Luke Babbitt
F
Nevada
1 / 16
6'9" / 225
So
Trevor Booker
F
Clemson
1 / 23
6'8" / 240
Sr
Paulo Prestes
C
Brazil
2 / 45
6'11" / 260
Int'l
Hamady Ndiaye
C
Rutgers
2 / 56
7'0" / 235
Sr
2009
Ricky Rubio
G
Spain
1 / 5
6'4" / 180
Int'l

Jonny Flynn
G
Syracuse
1 / 6
6'0" / 185
So

Ty Lawson
G
North Carolina
1 / 18
5'11" / 195
Jr

Wayne Ellington
G
North Carolina
1 / 28
6'4" / 200
Jr

Nick Calathes
G
Florida
2 / 45
6'6" / 194
So

Henk Norel
F
Netherlands
2 / 47
6'10" / 230
Int'l
2008
OJ Mayo
G
USC
1 / 3
6'4" / 200
Fr
Nikola Pekovic
C
Montenegro
2 / 31
6'11" / 265
Int
Mario Chalmers
G
Kansas
2 / 34
6'1" / 190
Jr
2007
Corey Brewer
F
Florida
1 / 7
6'9" / 185
Jr

Chris Richard
F
Florida
2 / 41
6'9" / 255
Sr
2006
Brandon Roy
G
Washington
1 / 6
6'6" / 215
Sr

Craig Smith
F
Boston College
2 / 36
6'7" / 250
Sr

Bobby Jones
F
Washington
2 / 37
6'7" / 215
Sr

Loukas Mavrokefalidis
F
Greece
2 / 57
6'11" / 260
Int'l
2005
Rashad McCants
G
North Carolina
1 / 14
6'4" / 207
Jr

Bracey Wright
G
Indiana
2 / 47
6'3" / 210
Jr
2004
Blake Stepp
G
Gonzaga
2 / 58
6'4" / 194
Sr
2003
Ndudi Ebi
F
Westbury Christian H.S.
1 / 26
6'9" / 195
HS

Rick Rickert
F
Minnesota
2 / 55
6'11" / 215
So
2002
Marcus Taylor
G
Michigan State
2 / 52
6'3" / 195
So
2001
Loren Woods
C
Arizona
2 / 46
7'1" / 245
Sr
2000
Igor Rakocevic
G
Yugoslavia
2 / 51
6'2" / 184
Int
1999
Wally Szczerbiak
F
Miami (Ohio)
1 / 6
6'7" / 244
Sr

William Avery
G
Duke
1 / 14
6'2" / 180
So

Louis Bullock
G
Michigan
2 / 42
6'2" / 180
Sr
1998
Rasho Nesterovic
C
Slovenia
1 / 17
7'0" / 248
Int

Andrae Patterson
F
Indiana
2 / 46
6'9" / 240
Sr
1997
Paul Grant
C
Wisconsin
1 / 20
7'0" / 245
Sr

Gordon Malone
F
West Virginia
2 / 44
6'11" / 215
Jr
1996
Ray Allen
G
Connecticut
1 / 5
6'5" / 205
Jr
1995
Kevin Garnett
F
Farragut Academy H.S.
1 / 5
6'11" / 220
HS

Mark Davis
F
Texas Tech
2 / 48
6'7" / 210
Sr

Jerome Allen
G
Pennsylvania
2 / 49
6'4" / 184
Sr
1994
Donyell Marshall
F
Connecticut
1 / 4
6'9" / 220
Jr

Howard Eisley
G
Boston College
2 / 30
6'3" / 180
Sr
1993
Isaiah Rider
G
UNLV
1 / 5
6'5" / 215
Sr

Sherron Mills
F
Virginia Commonwealth
2 / 29
6'9"
Sr
1992
Christian Laettner
F
Duke
1 / 3
6'11" / 235
Sr

Marlon Maxey
F
UTEP
2 / 28
6'8" / 250
Sr

Chris Smith
G
Connecticut
2 / 34
6'3" / 191
Sr

Tim Burroughs
F
Jacksonville
2 / 51
6'8"
Sr
1991
Luc Longley
C
New Mexico
1 / 7
7'2" / 265
Sr/Int

Myron Brown
G
Slippery Rock
2 / 34
6'3" / 180
Sr
1990
Felton Spencer
C
Louisville
1 / 6
7'0" / 265
Sr

Gerald Glass
G
Mississippi
1 / 20
6'6" / 221
Sr
1989
Pooh Richardson
G
UCLA
1 / 10
6'1" / 186
Sr

Gary Leonard
C
Missouri
2 / 34
7'1" / 246
Sr

Doug West
G
Villanova
2 / 38
6'6" / 200
Sr

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