Prospect Profile is an ongoing series on King James Gospel that looks at 2013 NBA Draft prospects.
Alex Len, C, Maryland, SO, 7’1”
With amazing physical gifts and the intrigue of untapped potential, Alex Len projects to be the second center off the board in this year’s NBA Draft after Nerlens Noel. Standing at a massive 7’1”, 255 lbs, with a 7’3 1/2” wingspan, Len undoubtedly has the size to be a big contributor in the NBA. However, despite his great physical tools and team-leading offensive efficiency last season at Maryland, Len did not consistently show greatness against his competition, having up and down performances in limited minutes.
Offensively, Len can be a beast to deal with, with excellent skill both finishing and shooting. As you see here, he can score with either hand in the paint, face up and shoot, and even pull up off the bounce and make a mid-range jumper.
He’s also a gifted post passer, which will help him fit well into most NBA offenses. His overall offensive post game, however, could improve. Len often struggled to hold good post position, though he could add more muscle to his frame and be a capable bruiser in the paint.
Defensively, his length and quick feet allow him to usually effectively guard other big men, whether in the paint or on screens around the perimeter, which is a huge asset for frontcourt defenders. He showed more patience as a sophomore, boxing out others for rebounds and not constantly biting on pump fakes. He averaged 5 fouls per 40 minutes, which he’ll need to clean up. Still, he should hold good value as a rim protector in the NBA.
The last question that NBA teams will have about Len’s value is whether he might be too passive to harness all of his talents in the NBA. With such a size advantage, he should have been a focal point for Maryland over the last two years, but often seemed content just taking what his teammates gave him. While this might just mean he’s an ideal team player, it might also mean he won’t develop into a team leader or All-Star in the NBA.
If they choose not to draft a point guard, the New Orleans Pelicans could easily select Len with the sixth pick, sliding in Len alongside Anthony Davis for a monster front court. The Minnesota Timberwolves could use the ninth pick on Len to make a good shooting front court with Kevin Love, especially if they aren’t going to re-sign Nikola Pekovic. Another good fit would be next to LaMarcus Aldridge with the Portland Trail Blazers, moving JJ Hickson to their terrible bench or making him expendable altogether.
Projected Pick: Tenth Overall, Portland Trail Blazers