I’ve wavered on this decision for weeks now, flipping between Alex Len and Anthony Bennett. While I think Bennett could be the next LJ, Charlotte is in need of a true center … and true centers are hard to come by.
I considered Bennett, who is a tad undersized at PF, for my official endorsement for the fourth overall pick — assuming Charlotte keeps it — but I didn’t select him for a number of factors:
1) The Bobcats seem to be committed to Bismack Biyombo. Biz, while an active shot blocker and rebounder, is still only 6′ 9″ and has a nonexistant offensive game. He’s coming along, but the Bobcats scare nobody inside the paint offensively. Pairing Biyombo with Bennett would give them an undersized frontcourt combination that would be eaten alive in today’s NBA. While Bennett is intriguing, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to draft an undersized PF with Biyombo at C, especially with Bennett’s lack of back to the basket game.
2) Bobcats seem to be committed to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at SF. So we know that Bennett isn’t your PF with Biyombo at C, and he’s not your SF with MKG — the #2 overall pick last season — still on the roster. The Bobcats are all-in with MKG, so you couldn’t take Bennett and play him as a bigger SF.
3) If you are in the Wiggins, Parker, Randle camp, drafting Bennett makes no sense. If you are hoping the Bobcats tank another season and are able to get a kid like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle, drafting Bennett wouldn’t make any sense. all three would make both Bennett and MKG obsolete, so you really wouldn’t help yourselves with three guys that basically play the same position.
So why Alex Len?
Len wasn’t kidding when he said he may be the best player in this draft in a few years. He’s got size, skill and agility that NBA teams drool over. He’s got a back to the basket game, gives effort on defense and can rebound. He’s got soft hands and a decent shooting touch. Picking Len makes sense because:
1) Allow Bismack Biyombo to move to PF. Drafting Len at C means that you are no longer devoid of a scoring option in the paint. Biyombo becomes your 2013 version of Dennis Rodman – a defensive specialist who rebounds and protects the rim. You’d have two shot blockers down low, with the 6’9″ Biyombo and the 7’1″ Len alongside him.
2) Skilled C’s are hard to come by. These guys aren’t a dime a dozen. That’s why guys like Alexis Ajinca are drafted. It’s hard to find a skilled big, and that’s why guys like Ajinca are given chances in the NBA with hopes that they can turn into something. Drafting Len gives you a legitimate C that has legitimate potential.
3) Len would (theoretically) have Patrick Ewing to show him the ropes. Assuming that Ewing joins Clifford’s staff as the lead assistant coach, he could help mold Len into an outstanding center. Hey, it worked for Dwight Howard, right?
So, what about the ankle stress fracture?
Sure, it’s scary. There is a red flag here, for sure. But then again, if you swing and miss on Len, would it have been worth it to take a lesser player who probably would be a career backup than take a shot at a quality big man?
I don’t think so.
That’s why I landed on selecting Len. Makes a lot of sense for this team as currently configured, and looking down the road at next year’s draft.
What do you think?