Mannix: Alex Len At No. 10
Chris Mannix over at SI.com has posted his final NBA Draft "big board,"
which will morph into a mock draft after the draft order is decided on Tuesday. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is, at least if you prescribe to the notion that teams, especially teams selecting in the lottery, go with the best player available, though I guess a mock draft does take into account any "inside information" a journalist might have regarding a specific team's opinion of a player.
Either way, at No. 10, the spot the Trail Blazers are most likely to own after the Draft Lottery, Mannix has Maryland center Alex Len, who will be sitting out pre-draft workouts due to injury.
The rugged Len is an appealing prospect, but his stock will likely be hurt by a stress fracture in his left ankle that will keep him sidelined for the next few months. "Undoubtedly [the injury] affects him in some ways, I really think he just misses an opportunity to really skyrocket up the board," Len's agent, Michael Lelchitski, told The Baltimore Sun. "Everyone -- Alex, [Maryland] coach [Mark] Turgeon -- everyone who has seen him understood that he would have been phenomenal in that setting [of the workouts], 1 on nothing, even 1-on-1, he would have shone a lot more than you got to see this year."
Len, a Ukrainian national who has played the last two seasons at Maryland, is just 19, and one could argue that the Trail Blazers might be reluctant to draft another young center a year after taking Meyers Leonard with the 11th pick in the 2012 Draft. And that doesn't even factor in the injury issue, though Neil Olshey has been adamant that such superstitions don't concern him.
What are your thoughts on Len? Is he the rim protector the Trail Blazers need? Too much overlap with Leonard? Scared off by the ankle fracture? For me, if he's the best player available, take him.