Alex Len's road to the NBA Draft
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The time is almost there for Alex Len to stand on his own two feet.
The 7-1 center from Maryland, who had sugery in April to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle, is getting examined by orthopedic surgeon Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday.
“I probably got two more weeks on crutches,” Len told CSN Washington on Monday after a workout. “I’m going to kind of get a feel for where I’m at. I’ll be able to do stuff on the court in August. I’m expecting to be fully cleared for training camp.”
Len attended the pre-draft combine last month in Chicago despite wearing a boot and still being on crutches. The most significant measuremeant that could be taken was for his wingspan, which is a shade under 7-4.
Given his size and potential, Len is tempting for a lot of teams in the June 27 draft even though he averaged just 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who pick No. 1 overall, don’t have a viable center on the roster. The Wizards choose third, and their long-term future in the middle is in doubt with Emeka Okafor (free agent next year) and Nene (injuries).
“Our lack of being able to handle the ball and our lack of being able to shoot the ball fron the outside really hurt Alex throughout the season,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said of his 25-13 team that failed to make the NCAA tournament. “Towards the end of the year when we began to shoot the ball better, we went small … (and) Alex’s game got a lot better.
“I think he’s going to be a much better pro than he was a college player. The floor will be more open. Alex can really shoot the ball, the pick and the pop. The spacing they have at that level, the point guards that they have coming off the ball screens can make plays so (defenses) have to help and they can throw back to him. The game translates to him.”
Len interviewed with the Wizards at the combine. At that time, they were projected to select eighth. The lottery bumped up the Wizards five spots which gives them a better shot at the big man.
“I’ll be able to step out and shoot more. That’s kind of exciting,” Len said of the NBA style. “I still will be able to contribute on the defensive end of the floor with my size.”