If Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is the number-one draft prospect among centers, who is number two?
Two players high on many draft boards are Rudy Gobert and Alex Len. Both were in town Wednesday as part of the Suns’ star-studded pre-draft workout that included Ben McLemore (Kansas), Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA), Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Cody Zeller (Indiana).
Gobert is a 20-year-old shot blocker from Saint-Quentin, France.
“He’s as long as they come,” GM Ryan McDonough said of Gobert’s 7-foot-2, 238-pound frame.
“I just need to get stronger,” Gobert said. “I think in a few months I’m going to be more ready. I’m going to get better every month…I can contribute defensively.”
Gobert, who has also worked out with the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks, averaged almost two blocked shots a game for his French League club team, the Cholet Basket.
His length and speed around the basket are attractive to a lot of teams. His inexperience, however, may cause other teams to shy away.
“I come (out) this year because I want to play in the NBA next season,” Gobert said.
Len is also an early entry candidate for the 2013 NBA Draft.
He played two years at Maryland, averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds while leading the ACC with 78 blocks his sophomore season.
“Alex is very talented,” McDonough said. “He’s still only 19 years old. He started playing the game late. He’s very skilled. He’s got great size and length.”
Listed at 7-foot-1 and 255 pounds, Len, who was born in the Ukraine, arrived at US Airways Center on crutches and his left foot in a boot as he recovers from recent ankle surgery.
“I’ll be able to do stuff in August,” he said. “Right now, I’ve just got to be patient. I should be all right by (training camp).”
Although he was unable to work out, Len believed it necessary to make the trip to, if nothing else, interview with the Suns.
“It’s important to meet new people and just meet the staff, so if you get drafted the transition is going to be easier,” he said, before adding of his stop in Phoenix. “I think it’s a great organization. I would like to play for this team.”
Len has also visited Oklahoma City. He said he has additional trips planned to New Orleans and Portland, among other teams.
“It’s exciting that the team(s) don’t look at the injury like it’s an obstacle,” the former gymnast said. “They think I’m going to be alright. They don’t think it’s going to affect my draft stock.”