Phoenix Suns GM excited to see Alex Len’s continued improvement

Dec 10, 2014, 12:14 AM | Updated: 12:15 am
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns general manager

For being the fifth pick in the NBA Draft, Alex Len’s rookie season was pretty underwhelming.

Forced to battle various injuries, the center appeared in just 42 games, posting averages of 2.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in less than nine minutes per contest.

However, the 7-foot-1, 255-pound center’s sophomore campaign has gotten off to a pretty good start, with the former Maryland Terrapin averaging 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 18.4 minutes per night.

Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, Len tallied 14 points and 7 rebounds before fouling out after 26 minutes.

“He’s playing very well,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “It’s exciting for all of us to see his improvement. To see him finally get healthy — this is kind of what we thought he could be as a player.

“As you guys know, it’s pretty rare to have a 7-1 guy who can step out and make some shots on the perimeter.”

With improved health and experience, he has shown flashes of the talent that led the Suns to taking him in 2013.

“We’re very happy with Alex and his progress and development,” McDonough said. “He’s a terrific kid and he’s worked his butt off.

“I thought it was pretty unfair, some of the criticism that was directed toward him last year when he was injured, but regardless, it’s good to see him back healthy and I think the fans are starting to see what he’s capable of.”

And at 21 years old, Len has plenty of room to improve, which the GM said makes his current level of play even more exciting.

That said, while Len has had his good nights, the center has also posted 13 games with five or fewer points this season. Also, he is averaging 3.2 fouls per contest, which is a high number given his moderate minutes.

So when asked if Len may be playing his way into the starting lineup, the GM said it will be discussed, but nothing is imminent.

“That’s Coach’s decision,” McDonough said, referring to Jeff Hornacek. “We certainly look at all those kind of things and all those kind of decisions. He has played well lately, but he hasn’t played consistently great. It’s been kind of up and down, which is the case with a lot of young players.”

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