By Jeff Barker
The Baltimore Sun
9:29 AM EDT, April 15, 2013
So now comes the speculation about where Alex Len gets picked in the NBA draft and how good a player the Maryland center might be.
One possibility: The Oklahoma City Thunder, which has more than just its own pick in the first round. The Thunder has rights to Toronto’s first-round pick this year unless that pick happens to be in the top three. The Raptors have the NBA's 10th-worst record.
I know for a fact the Thunder has looked into Len. So, of course, have quite a few teams.
To those fans wondering why Len is viewed as a potential lottery pick, here’s why:
** There are few true centers in this draft.
** He’s 7-1 -- an intelligent player -- with the coordination of a smaller man. This is a guy who can do a respectable cartwheel (no kidding). He was actually a gymnast growing up in Ukraine. He said he enjoyed gymnastics because he liked watching Jackie Chan films and saw how the actor moved.
** Look at his form on outside shots and from the foul line. It’s very solid. He didn’t make many jump shots this season, but he is capable of becoming a good shooter. He eagerly wanted to take some 3-pointers this season, and he did make one. Of course, Maryland fans preferred it when he played closer to the basket.
** He can be a very good shot blocker because he has size, timing and reflexes. His presence enabled Maryland to gamble on the outside while he protected the rim.
To those who say Len is undeveloped, I agree. He is still learning the American game. In fact, he is still growing up. He enjoys going to Chipotle and hanging with his teammates. It would have been nice for Len and for Maryland if he could have stuck around. He is still in many ways a kid. But the lure of so much money is awfully hard to resist.
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