If Alex Len proves to be a bad selection by the Suns at number five, blame general manager Ryan McDonough.
Just the same, if he turns out to be an excellent player, the credit should go to the first-year GM.
A guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Friday, Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said make no mistake about it, McDonough made the final calls during Thursday’s draft.
“Absolutely these are his choices, these are his decisions, as they should be and as it was always contemplated it would be in the structure of our front office,” Babby said. “And he was hired with that intent and that understanding on his part, on my part, on Robert (Sarver’s) part and there’s absolutely no issue as it relates to that.
“These are his choices.”
Babby explained that McDonough received input from a variety of people within the organization, but “these are his choices, it’s his area of expertise.”
And for his part, Babby believes McDonough made a wise decision in selecting the 7-foot-1 Len, a player many analysts thought could have been the first pick in the draft.
Only 20 years old, the belief is Len has plenty of room to improve on an already solid skill set.
“He’s got a lot of years of NBA basketball ahead of him,” Babby said. “I’m very confident in our ability to develop him and I think he’s going to be a terrific player.
“The old expression, you can’t teach height. He’s 7-1, he’s skilled, he can run, he can block shots. Ryan’s known him for a long time, back in the Ukraine when he first started watching him.”
Of course, it will be a few months before the Suns and their fans get to watch Len on the court. Having recently undergone surgery to repair a stress fracture in his ankle, Len will have to wait until around August to be cleared for basketball activities.
But, Babby said, there are no concerns over their player’s health, especially after the team’s highly-regarded medical staff was able to examine him prior to the draft.
“I can tell you without hesitation that had there been any issues raised about Alex, we wouldn’t have drafted him,” he said. “We have the full support of our medical staff and that’s really all we needed.”