Team: Phoenix Suns
Role: Bench player
Analysis: Len was once projected as the first overall pick, but the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked many by selecting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the first selection. Len was still selected before Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, who most figured would be the top pick and wound up “falling” to the Suns at 5. Len’s production was up-and-down at Maryland last season. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 53.4% from the field and 68.6% from the free throw line. He even had huge games against Noel and Kentucky (23 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks) and Duke (19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks), but virtually disappeared in losses to Florida State (4 points), and Boston College (4 points), losses that likely kept Maryland out of the tournament.
His talent and size is still tempting. The Ukraine native is 7’1 and 255 lbs. Plus, he has a very good shot and offensive skill for a big man, which is what made him such a high pick. He’s probably not ready to be a major contributor. Plus, Len recently had his second ankle surgery in two months, did not participate in summer league and could miss the beginning of training camp (although he says he will be ready).
“I’ve got two more weeks of rehab and then I’ll be back about 85-90 percent,” Len told AZCentral.com on August 16. “I’ll be back for training camp and be ready for the season. The ankle’s feeling great. I have no pain.”
With Marcin Gortat still in the fold, it was going to be a slow process for Len anyway. Gortat is a solid center and will likely remain the starting center unless he is trade (and the Suns have shopped Gortat).
Statistical Projection: 19 mpg, 8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg