Phoenix Suns’ Alex Len ready for first summer league action

Jul 8, 2014, 9:25 PM | Updated: 9:25 pm

Beginning on Saturday, Phoenix Suns center Alex Len gets a new experience. After missing out on the Las Vegas Summer League last season as rookie, the second-year pro gets to hone his game in live action.

Between injury issues and a crowded front court, Len only played 362 minutes last season. The most he was on the court in a single game was 21 minutes.

With free agent Channing Frye signing with the Orlando Magic, there will be open minutes at the center position and this is the start of Len’s chance to seize the potential opportunity. Frye didn’t start at center, but he got run there in a variety of lineups.

After the Suns’ first Summer League practice Tuesday, the Maryland product said he’s put on 10 pounds since the season ended by working out five times a week in Phoenix.

Len also told the media he’s been working to expand his offensive game.

“Both (referring to post-ups or jump shooting),” explained Len. “In the summer you work on everything. For me this season I talked to the coaches it’s still going to be easy stuff — pick and rolls, catch and finish and hit open shots.”

Assistant coach Mike Longabardi, who is coaching the Suns summer league squad, expanded on what he’s looking for from Len during the time in Las Vegas.

“I told Alex this summer league is very big for him, we all know that,” he said. “I want him to be available so he’s got to be durable so he can play. We want to keep him injury free as best as possible.

“Offensively, I want him to be efficient. I want him to take care of the ball, take great shots. Defensively, his communication has got to be great and play with multiple effort. The most important thing is conditioning for him. If he’s in shape he’s got to play and push through so he’s not tired and making silly mistakes whether it’s a foul or turnover.”

One interesting aspect Len and Longabardi referred to was giving a look to big lineups featuring Len and fellow center Miles Plumlee. In those situations Len would be used as a “mini-stretch four.”

But don’t expect Len to get a ton of minutes in Vegas; the Suns would prefer to bring the young Ukrainian along slowly.

“We’re going to be smart, so whatever (trainer Aaron) Nelson, (head coach Jeff) Hornacek and (GM) Ryan McDonough feel is possible (we’ll do),” Longabardi said. “This is big for him, we want him develop, but we have back-to-backs, we have three straight days of two-a-days, so we’re going to be smart with that.”

The Suns start their Las Vegas Summer League schedule Saturday against the Golden State Warriors at Cox Pavilion. The game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. Phoenix time.

Penguin Air


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Bill Russell, left, star of the Boston Celtics is congratulated by coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach afte...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA retires No. 6 jerseys, to add jersey patch honoring late Bill Russell

Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey is the first to be retired across the NBA. Players will wear the patch on the shoulders this year.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game One of the Western Confere...
Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s NBA staff still mighty high on 2022-23 Phoenix Suns

If you were wondering why the Suns have attacked the offseason with tinkering, it might be time to remember the past two full seasons.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
3 days ago
Kevin Durant attends "NYC Point Gods" premiere at Midnight Theatre on July 26, 2022 in New York Cit...
Dan Bickley

Kevin Durant’s exit could get messy for Nets, maybe Suns, too

By my calculations, there is only one way Durant lands in Phoenix. There must be a second act of petulance even worse than the first.
4 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the basket as Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns defe...
Arizona Sports

Report: Kevin Durant tells Nets owner to pick him or coach, GM

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant reportedly met with team owner Joe Tsai in London on Saturday and reiterated his trade request.
5 days ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Gold...
Sam Graveline

ESPN’s Pelton gives Phoenix Suns ‘C+’ offseason grade

Despite the Phoenix Suns being among the few teams to dominate the offseason news cycle, ESPN's Kevin Pelton gave them a C+ grade.
5 days ago
Phoenix Suns’ Alex Len ready for first summer league action