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Alex Len - What's his comparison?

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Post#1 Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:31 pm by LinkedList

Hi all,

I wanted to ask about Len. Having watched him dismantle highly touted prospect Noel, I couldn't help but see that there was a legitimate back-to-the-basket Center in college who didn't rely on facing up or getting put backs to score points. Taking a quick peek at his stats, I tried to find comparisons for him in terms of freshmen season and since Duncan was my favorite player growing up (and I remembered him being 10/10 as freshman), I compared their stats and they looked similar save for the fact that Alex Len played 66% of the minutes and averaged ~50 or 60% of the points/rebounds of Duncan. They both blocked shots at an alarming rate, shot the same percentage from the field, are extremely long, etc.

I didn't have a clue as to who he was prior to Kentucky - so yeah it's a reactionary thread - but for some of you who've watched him play considerably more, what's your opinion of him? I've heard Kosta Koufos and Jonas Valanciunas mentioned by draft sites.

Any chance the heavy weights on this board could chime in? Appreciate it.

*Not related to or "friends" with Len; purely NBA fan looking for the next great low-post big.*
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Post#2 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:32 pm by Cammo101

Len has been pretty highly touted in recruiting circles for a couple years now. He was really up and down last year at Maryland, but he has everything it takes to become one of the top centers in the NBA. He is a legit 7'1'' with a monster wingspan, he has the type of body that can add bulk and he is very skilled and coordinated for his size. Len, not John Henson or Bernard James, lead the ACC in blocks per 40 minutes last season. He is not yet as good a defender as he is a shotblocker. He fouls too much and sometimes struggles to stay with faster bigs. On offense, Len has all the tools, he simply needs to become more consistent.

I suspect Len puts it all together this season and likely becomes a top 5 pick.
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Post#3 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:53 pm by LinkedList

Cammo101 wrote:Len has been pretty highly touted in recruiting circles for a couple years now. He was really up and down last year at Maryland, but he has everything it takes to become one of the top centers in the NBA. He is a legit 7'1'' with a monster wingspan, he has the type of body that can add bulk and he is very skilled and coordinated for his size. Len, not John Henson or Bernard James, lead the ACC in blocks per 40 minutes last season. He is not yet as good a defender as he is a shotblocker. He fouls too much and sometimes struggles to stay with faster bigs. On offense, Len has all the tools, he simply needs to become more consistent.

I suspect Len puts it all together this season and likely becomes a top 5 pick.


Appreciate the quick feedback to my topic. Wanted to know who you've got him compared to? I'm getting a little frustrated hearing all top big men prospects are defense-only in the upcoming draft (Stevens, Noel, etc.) and the ones who do play good offense are horrific physically (Cody Zeller, 7' tall with 6'8" wingspan...wow) so they won't be great 2-way players.

I like Anthony Davis, but I don't think he'll reach his ceiling offensively at Garnett level. Enes Kanter is very nice (others favor Favors) but they're both one-way players.

I really hope we find a true 2-way dominant player because the NBA is slowly but surely turning guard-dominant which I'm not a fan of. Is there a single Tim Duncan level talent (who plays down low and not like Garnett/Nowitzki/Wallace/etc.) out there at this time? What about that kid from the Dominican Republic (16 years old)?

EDIT: I know Tim Duncan would face up the lumbering bigs in his prime, but he also knew that to win titles, you needed to be a low post anchor (and thankfully he quit jacking up 3's after that 29 attempt season). Yeah, he also started fast breaks and could handle the ball well, but it wasn't a staple to his game the way it has been for Garnett/Nowitzki and other Euro-flavored bigs. I'm not asking for the league to become a back-them-down league for all bigs, but it'd be nice to have a handful of guys who plays like Duncan/Ewing/Mourning/Olajuwon rather than having every single guy attempt to play like Garnett despite lacking the skill or athleticism needed to do so efficiently.
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Post#4 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:36 pm by Dr Positivity



Wow at how polished he looks here offensively. Something like Pau could be a legit comparison for him. I'm putting this guy as the #1 pick on the mock I'm about to do. (Edit - Nvm, didn't take into account Detroit is picking 1st on that mock)
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Post#5 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:45 pm by LinkedList

Dr Positivity wrote:

Wow at how polished he looks here offensively. Something like Pau could be a legit comparison for him. I'm putting this guy as the #1 pick on the mock I'm about to do


Yeah, that's what has me excited. I'm not sure the Pau comparison is a good one, though, because he didn't appear to have a good handle on the ball and he doesn't have anywhere near the vision. He's a much 'smoother' athlete than Gasol, too. Tough to come up with a good comparison, but he's got me excited if for no other reason than that he plays down low with his back to the basket. That very first move was my favorite, reminded me of Al Jefferson in the sense that he split a double team down low. Obviously, he's a different type of player, but...I am really looking forward to watching him play (too bad I have a test tomorrow when they play their next game). :evil: I can't help but notice all draft comparisons to him are white (from Koufos to Valanciunas) despite the fact that he kind of plays nothing like them. :lol:
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Post#6 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:46 pm by ManualRam

talk about a kneejerk.
keep in mind the competition and lack of experience he was going against though. noel and wiltjer are awful man defenders and cauley-stein is only slightly better. they couldn't keep len off the o-glass because they don't even box out and he got a lot of catch and finish opps because they didn't do their work early.

he does resemble valanciunas somewhat with the way he moves and shoots though. similar "gangly-ness" as well.
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Post#7 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:55 pm by LinkedList

ManualRam wrote:talk about a kneejerk.
keep in mind the competition and lack of experience he was going against though. noel and wiltjer are awful man defenders and cauley-stein is only slightly better. they couldn't keep len off the o-glass because they don't even box out and he got a lot of catch and finish opps because they didn't do their work early.

he does resemble valanciunas somewhat with the way he moves and shoots though. similar "gangly-ness" as well.


LinkedList wrote:I didn't have a clue as to who he was prior to Kentucky - so yeah it's a reactionary thread ...


Already prepared for that comment. :D

I've been lurking on the boards for a couple months now and have seen your analysis of various players. So the Valanciunas comparisons are good, you think?

Also, what others big men who play legitimate back-to-basket while being highly touted do you know of? I don't care for the D.J. White types because they have too much going against them (short, unathletic, overpowering on college level) to become NBA stars. I'm looking to start following some college ball and he's got my interest peaked.
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Post#8 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:02 pm by re49gb_2gho32fp

Dr Positivity wrote:

Wow at how polished he looks here offensively. Something like Pau could be a legit comparison for him. I'm putting this guy as the #1 pick on the mock I'm about to do. (Edit - Nvm, didn't take into account Detroit is picking 1st on that mock)


I missed the initial part of the game, and it seems i unfairly discredited him with having no low-post offene. Very nice skills for that size.

Alen Len has a chance to be very good. Top big man with Adams and Austin (who, unlike zeller, at least has defensive potential in the nba) imo.
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Post#9 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:12 pm by Fischella

Man, Steven Adams hype is HUGE :o
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Post#10 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:42 pm by Jazzfan12

Len looks like Valanciunas in terms of his face and body, but I don't think they're similar in game.
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Post#11 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:13 pm by ManualRam

it's tough to make a comparison because len was not good last year, wasn't utilized that much, struggled with physical play and foul trouble... and he's only 1 good game into this season. i don't know how much he's improved. he has improved physically, but as far as skills that remains to be seen.

he's long, but not physically dominant. he's got solid fundamental footwork, but lacks quickness and strength. good touch, but I haven't seen enough to consider him a good shooter. he has the length to block shots, but can he defend now without fouling? all i gather from that one game is that he's fluid, long and has a basic set of skills offensively. he has the tools to be a 2 way center, but at what level is the question.
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Post#12 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:53 am by Upperclass

looks alot like Timmy D stylistically..
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Post#13 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:04 am by MagicFan32

first thing you see is SMOOTH, when he catches the ball he doesn't hesitate, i like how he doesn't have to take alot of effort/time to jump, he just has to get stronger...
aol4532 on bill russell
I think if you put McGee back then, he would get those blocks just as easily as Russell did. Russell's athleticism was well ahead of the players of his time, and that's about it.
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Post#14 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:16 am by EB2

:lol: I knew this thread would be made after that Marc Stein tweet.
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Post#15 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:25 am by 23-7

To Me he has some upside. But it looks like he needs to learn to finish with his left hand a bit better.
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Post#16 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:41 pm by Ruzious

Right now, I think Tyler Zeller is the best comp - and he still has a ways to go to prove he's that good. I don't have a good feel as to whether or not he will get thicker than TZ. I DON"T think he has the frame to get as strong as Jonas V. Last season against TZ, he started out well and then got completely over-matched. Obviously, TZ had the age and experience factors in his favor. And I did not get the impression that Len had a significant length advantage over the short-armed TZ. In any event, strength is likely always going to be a concern with Len, and how hard he works at that will factor in to how well he develops.

Btw, as for the 2 MD frosh bigs - Shaq Cleare and Mitchell - Mitchell looks much better - surprisingly. He might be short and lacking in finesse, but he's a monster on the boards.
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Post#17 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:12 pm by ManualRam

morehead st did a better job pushing len off the block, which is more of a commentary on UK's post defense. he wasn't as effective but i was impressed by his passing ability from the high post and perimeter. he's got good court sense.
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Post#18 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:41 pm by black bart

Mason Plumlee is going to score 20 on Noel.
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Post#19 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:15 am by LinkedList

ManualRam wrote:morehead st did a better job pushing len off the block, which is more of a commentary on UK's post defense. he wasn't as effective but i was impressed by his passing ability from the high post and perimeter. he's got good court sense.


Sticking with the Jonas V comparison? Sucks to hear he's so easily moved off the block. :-?

Guess no Timmy D coming down the road anytime soon...*sigh*

If you had to recommend me 3 elite low post big men who are 2-way players (either in college or high school), could you give me some names? Or is every big man going down the Garnett (perimeter)/Amare (face up)/Griffin (pure athleticism) road?

*EDIT* By elite low post, I mean guys pulling off legitimate post moves rather than just outjumping their counterparts. Of course, it'd be nice if they were not 6'8, 225lb power forwards, but legitimate bigs (6'11" or 7' and 240+ lbs)
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Post#20 Re: Alex Len - What's his comparison?
Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:14 am by ManualRam

LinkedList wrote:
ManualRam wrote:morehead st did a better job pushing len off the block, which is more of a commentary on UK's post defense. he wasn't as effective but i was impressed by his passing ability from the high post and perimeter. he's got good court sense.


Sticking with the Jonas V comparison? Sucks to hear he's so easily moved off the block. :-?

Guess no Timmy D coming down the road anytime soon...*sigh*

If you had to recommend me 3 elite low post big men who are 2-way players (either in college or high school), could you give me some names? Or is every big man going down the Garnett (perimeter)/Amare (face up)/Griffin (pure athleticism) road?

*EDIT* By elite low post, I mean guys pulling off legitimate post moves rather than just outjumping their counterparts. Of course, it'd be nice if they were not 6'8, 225lb power forwards, but legitimate bigs (6'11" or 7' and 240+ lbs)


i really don't see too many in the near future. the next really good 2 way, back to the basket guy will likely come out of nowhere. like some kid who hits a late growth spurt, retains his skill level and applies it to the post. or some kid who picks up the game fairly late after yrs of playing some other sport and retains his footwork and coordination.
outside of c.zeller, who i don't think will be anything special on the defensive end, there arent too many good low post bigs on the horizon.

3 names in the prep ranks who have some potential in the post and as 2 way players are: dakari johnson, jahlil okafor and diamond stone. dakari probably has the least potential of the 3. right now he's more of a "hands" player with solid fundamental footwork, but for the most part is just a soft touch, great hands finisher, which is basically what bynum was as a prep. dakari's pretty similar to bynum but does not have bynum's freakish dimensions which will probably mean he'll just be "good" as opposed to dominant.

jahlil is the best post player in the prep ranks. his footwork and feel for the post are tremendous. diamond stone has an advanced feel for the post as well and he's only going to be a soph in HS. who knows how either of these kids turn out defensively since they just impact the game now by being big on that end. they both have solid bases so they look like they'll be able to hold their positions in the future.

another name is karl towns jr, who is currently more of a perimeter oriented player, but has shown flashes of post moves. he's only a sophomore too and he played for the dominican national team. when he was interviewed after the exhibition and qualifying games, he said that he'd be focusing on his post game from now on. if he's serious about transforming into a post player, then he could be the next dominant big. no exaggeration, but some of the plays that i've seen him make were very TD-like.
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