Alex Len: Last season was “good foundation block for the future”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Alex Len made some major strides in his second season with the Phoenix Suns, but, as in his rookie season, injuries kept him from being more than what he was for Phoenix this past season.
Len played in 69 games [44 starts], which is considerably more work than he got in his rookie season, which saw him get action in 42 games with three starts. A broken nose late in the season against the Portland Trail Blazers derailed Len and kept him from finishing out the season. Len got the stitches removed from his nose and has to wear a mask for about a month.
The Suns sure could’ve used Len down the stretch. They lost six of their last seven after Len went down and finished out of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
“It was a tough stretch. We were still fighting,” Len said. “It’s tough. We [had] a lot of guys that got injured, so we were short-handed, but I think we fought.”
Len took advantage of his extra playing time, and seemingly got better in all aspects of his game. Len averaged 6.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season. That’s a far cry from the 2.0 points and 2.4 rebounds he averaged in his rookie season.
“The most important thing for me was health wise, just being out there,” Len said. “I think it was a good season. [There] were ups and downs. We just gotta learn from it. I think it was a good experience. It was a good foundation block for the future.”
Every offseason presents different challenges, just from a personnel standpoint. Guys leave, guys come in, and the team looks completely different the following year, and new chemistry has to be formed.
Obviously, Len can’t foresee what’s going to happen with the Suns during their time off. All that stuff is beyond his pay grade. He’s confident in what he knows, and that’s the players he played with last year.
“I’m feeling good definitely,” Len said. “We [have] a lot of young guys, we [have] a lot of potential. We just [have] to work hard moving forward.”
Len is 7-1, 260 pounds. You know where he is on the court at all times when you’re a teammate of his. Going back to his point and rebound bump from last year; it shows that his teammates were making a concerted effort to keep Len involved in the low post game.
“When I was open, they found me,” Len said. “I think we played pretty good I think after the All-Star break. [We] played really good team basketball, we shared the ball and that’s what we gotta do from the start of the season next year.”
So say Len is completely 100-percent physically before he and the team report to training camp; then what does Len do to elevate his game to an even higher level, now that he’s becoming an even more valuable asset on both ends of the court?
“I think just keep building on what I have right now,” Len said. “Develop [my] postgame and keep getting stronger. Pay attention to the little things.”
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