There are no such things as rookie holdouts in the NBA anymore thanks to the salary slotting process, but a signing is a signing. In this case, former University of Maryland center Alex Len officially inked his rookie contract with the Phoenix Suns, the team announced.
The 7-foot-1 Len was the fifth player selected in the 2013 NBA Draft - two picks after the Wizards tabbed Otto Porter - despite having undergone foot surgery prior to the draft. As it turned out, he would require another surgery on his other foot over the summer. Whenever Len returns to the court, the rebuilding Suns will have an athletic and mobile big man with actual offensive moves and a shot-blocking knack. He led the ACC with 78 blocks as a sophomore while averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 38 games.
Interesting - at least to me - that in the process of coming up with a list of the Wizards' Top 10 games for the 2013-14 season, I never considered the return of Len. The thinking behind this list centers largely on intrigue, which can come in the form or the opponent (Heat, Lakers), or a specific matchup (John Wall vs. Derrick Rose, for example). In the context of interesting battles for Otto Porter, I considered players drafted ahead of the No. 3 overall pick - obviously, Victor Oladipo and Anthony Bennett - and those taken later like Ben McLemore.
But Len visiting on March 26 didn't make the short list even though he's a an ex-Terp and there was at least some speculation about the Wizards selecting him as their center of the future
Perhaps late March is just too far away; most of the games selected were sooner than later. Maybe the uncertainty over his injury status, which possibly made him less intriguing for the playoff-thinking Wizards, eliminated Len from my sub-conscience. More likely, it's difficult to make a game versus a Suns team that will be fortunate to win 20 games this season any kind of interesting.