NBA Rumors: Cavs high on Maryland’s Len

Bob Finnan of The News Herald wrote Sunday of the Cavaliers’  love for Maryland center Alex Len. The 7’1″ Ukrainian dazzles scouts with his size and skill and is drawing comparisons to former Cavalier center and current front office employee, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“I watched him while I was growing up,” Len said. “He’s really famous overseas. He played in Cleveland for almost 15 years.

“I like his style of play. He has good size. He can step out and shoot. It’s similar to my game.”

Like Ilgauskas and many other 7 footers before him, Len has some injury concerns with his feet. Currently Len is rehabbing from a stress fracture in his right ankle which is prohibiting the big man from participating in pre draft workouts.

“It’s hard. You want to be out there and show scouts what you can do. It sucks to not be out there.”

After a disappointing freshman season at Maryland, Len picked up the pace in his sophomore year. While his averages of 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds aren’t anything to write home about, Len completely dominated Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel in their only meeting.

Len scored 23 points with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, while holding Noel to 4 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Kentucky edged Maryland 72-69. It’s flashes like this that have scouts and even Len himself, salivating over his upside.

“I have the biggest upside in this draft among the big guys,” he said. “Maybe 10 years from now, I’ll be the best player in this draft.”

With no clear cut choice for this year’s number one pick, it’s not out of the realm the Cavs would reach and take Len at one. In the previous two drafts Chris Grant surprised everyone by selecting Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, two players who had been barely been linked to the Cavaliers through the pre draft process.

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Alex Len]

  • @DHass22

    Reach at #1, trade down to #4 or 5, he’ll be there.

  • JNeids

    Trade down to 4 or 5 to get Oladipo, then trade back up to get Len.

    I’d rather roll the dice on a Ukranian foot problem we’ve seen and turned into a borderline All-Star before than a recurring ACL issue.

  • hutch058

    I dont know about this guy….check out the draft express breakdown. His weaknesses scare me.


  • Mike Reed

    The smoke screens continue. Amico has the Cavs prepared to take McClemore, Finnan has Len two days later. Chad Ford says they’re still weeks away from a decision. So of course this will all end in a trade or someone like Bennett or Porter going #1.

  • Steve Antonio

    if you draft a white guy number 1 overall then youve already failed

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Actually while I prefer Len over Noel both are scary as far as injuries. Not only that but both have alot of work to do as far as their basketball games go. As for Oladipo, well, not so sure on him either. I’d rather take McLemore and then a big later with the second first round pick but even that isn’t ideal. I hate to keep harping on it but this draft is beyond mediocre. Mediocre because there are really no stand out players and almost every player you mention has multiple areas that need improvement. I really blame the age and lack of basketball history on alot of this these days. Teams have to draft a player then spend at least one entire contract grooming that player hoping he develops.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Definitely a crap shoot at this point it’ll be interesting to see what ends up happening.

  • Daniel Van Meter

    Simple … draft McLemore then take Rudy Gobert @ 19. If possible, draft Glen Rice Jr. @ 31 then use the 33 on a international player to sit oversea for a few years.

  • Mike Reed

    For me, McClemore is the most logical pick. They’re trying to put together the best team going forward, not the best starting 5 on opening night. I think it’s being understated how fun and adventageous a backcourt rotation of Kyrie, McClemore, Waiters, and Ellington would be. If the #1 pick can’t land Cousins, Aldridge, or another vet on that level then they should just use it on the best available player and package 19, 31, & 33 to move up for someone like Steven Adams if they really want to leave this draft with one of this classes bigs.

  • Pete

    Thoughtful analysis. Please, give us more insight on race. If we go black, will we ever go back (to the lottery)?

  • mgbode

    if not for the foot injury, then I would be pushing for Len. but, that foot injury is more worrisome than the ACL injury of Noel.

  • BenRM

    Len and Bennet are the 2 players in the top 6 I would be upset if the Cavs drafted.

  • D2012

    No way the Cavs draft players in all 4 of those picks. Not gonna happen. Two tops

  • Jaker

    I like Len, I even think he might be better than Noel, or at least safer, but not at #1. Rather go McLemore and have a really stellar 3 guard set. But I don’t doubt that Grant is looking at all trade scenarios with our stash of picks. Could we see another pick in the top ten after first overall? I think so.

    If we don’t take Len, how far does he fall?

  • Ben Ghazi

    Cavs now have fellow Ukranian Vitaly Potapenko to work with Len so take Len #1.

    Trade the rest of the picks #19, #31 and #33 for Orlando’s #2 pick overall and a future choice then take the next best player. McLemore, Porter, Oladipo or the annual surprise choice. Orlando doesn’t like it then try the deal with Charlotte.

    Just daydreaming and playing around here …

  • Borko

    I cant help noticing that Cleveland is considering 4,5 names for the 1st pick – Why don’t you just offer the first pick to Charlotte for the 4th pick and Bismak or Mullens, in this case you will still get one good back up big man (that u really need) and will have the 4th pick and pick one of the guys you want. I mean Noel or McLemore or Oladipo or Len one of them will be there for the 4th pick…

  • mgbode

    I like the creativeness to come up with some deals to trade back. I don’t like a 38%FG 23yo big man though (Mullens). Bismack + #4 for #1 is a deal that I would consider (he’s limited, but he can be a useful player in a frontcourt rotation).

  • Borko

    By trying to be creative 🙂 I would suggest to do a trade with Minnesota to offer them the first and 19th pick for Derick Williams, the Russian Shved and their 9th pick. In this way Cleveland will get a good back up for Dion and Irving in Shved, and a great small/big forward in Williams and still with the 9th pick Cleveland will be in a position to add a solid big man.

  • mgbode

    I think that is dropping too far down. Definitely wouldn’t have to give them the #19 and Shved was extremely disappointing.

    I do like the prospects of Derrick Williams as he had a nice last 6 weeks to the season to finally have his outside shot start falling (his shooting should improve though he’ll be a liability on defense — either too slow for SFs or too small for most PFs).

    The only way Minny considers the deal is if they think Pekovic is going to be too expensive in FA (so they draft Noel as an eventual replacement). They really need to convince Love to stay now though, so that would be a tough sell.

    Honestly, this feels more like a deal that could be bigger but have to wait for FA to begin:

    Noel + Andy

    D.Williams + Pekovic (sign-n-trade) + future-1st

    The future 1st is in there because we are helping out their cap situation quite a bit here. It would have to be a protected pick though.

  • Borko

    I am sure everyone would like to see the potential of so young and athletic starting 5 Kyrie – Dion – Derick – Tristan – Pekovic and maybe they can work this out with the Thimberwolves because it will bring good to both teams (they are not using the potential of Derick at all)…

    As for the 1st pick I think that only Noel is good enough on the long run to keep it, I mean if you waste the 1st pick on Len, Oladipo, Porter or even McLemore it will go in the history of NBA as one of the worst 1st picks.

    If Cleveland wants to go to the playoffs next season, that would not depend from their first pick, it will depend if Kyrie, Dion and Andy will be healthy and Cleveland will be in the top 8 in the east.

    But if they want to be championship contenders in the coming 3,4 years they should get Noel – he will be all star for sure!

    On the other hand if they chose not to pick Noel, they should definitely find a way to go down the draft and acquire some role players.