Alex Len says the Sacramento Kings have “unfinished business”
Oct 3, 2023, 12:31 PM
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
After returning to the Sacramento Kings on a one-year, $3.2 million veteran’s minimum deal, center Alex Len told reporters at media day on Monday he’s excited to be back.
Len, who emerged as head coach Mike Brown’s backup center of choice late in the season, shared his eagerness to continue building with a roster that features mostly returning pieces.
“It feels great. We got almost everybody back from last year,” Len said about returning to the Kings. “I was excited when I got the call that they wanted to bring me back. It was an easy decision. As soon as Wes [Wilcox] called, I signed the deal.”
Early into free agency, it was a quick, mutual decision to bring the 7’0″ big back. He shared that he feels they have “unfinished business” after their game seven loss to the Golden State Warriors in round one of the postseason.
You can listen to Lyles’ entire interview with the media by clicking ‘play’ on the video located above this section.
To watch all Media Day interviews with Sacramento Kings players, check out the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube page by clicking here.
How did Alex Len perform during the 2022-23 season?
In their first 75 showings, despite head coach Mike Brown claiming to be “searching” for an answer at the backup center spot, Len played five or more minutes on only three occasions.
Yet, he participated in each of the Kings’ last seven regular season games, averaging 13.7 minutes during that stretch. He averaged 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks while converting 87.5 percent of his limited shot attempts in those seven showings.
For the first five games of their postseason matchup with the Golden State Warriors, Alex Len was the backup of choice behind All-Star Domantas Sabonis. Trey Lyles overtook that role for the final two showings, but Len’s size and presence down low had situational uses.
Listed at 7’0″, Alex Len shared the title of tallest player on the roster last season with Neemias Queta. Len was far more experienced and defined as a player than Queta.
One of his best qualities is that you know what you are going to get. He is a rim-deterrent who moves faster than you’d expect but still can struggle to defend high pick-and-rolls. If in position, he can capitalize on opportunities to function as a backline for the defense. The Maryland alum also typically finds a way to make an impact as a rebounder.
Offensively, Alex Len sets crushing screens with his wide frame. He’s not performing dribble handoffs, but Sacramento’s same offensive concepts can be carried out with traditional screens. He does a good job of angling his screens, planting, getting wide, and seeing them through before diving.
With that playstyle, he gets some opportunities to finish plays around the rim and has historically succeeded. He’s attempted less than five field goal attempts per game in the last three seasons and converted 58.1 from the field during that time.
The aforementioned pick-and-roll defense can be a shortcoming for Len. It’s not often, but it can be a struggle when initiators can take advantage of his lack of speed in open space. If opponents have a shooting big, Len’s rim defense can be nullified as he’s pulled away from the basket.
The coaching staff can often do their best to avoid rolling him out against non-ideal matchups.
Len had a two-season stretch from 2018-20 where he seemed to be exploring adding the three-ball to his game, but that has since been discontinued. He finished last season with two misses and zero makes from beyond the arc. He primarily functions as a screen and roller on offense due to his limited skillset.
Where does Alex Len fit with the 2023-24 Sacramento Kings?
To reiterate, Len hardly saw the floor much of last year, but since last season ended, Richaun Holmes has been traded, Chimezie Metu walked in free agency, and Neemias Queta was waived to make room for JaVale McGee.
It’s unclear who will fill the roughly 12 minutes each night that Sabonis rests. McGee has a prebuilt relationship with Coach Brown and other staff members. Len played the first five postseason games. Lyles functioned as a small-ball five in the final two. Chance Comanche has a chance to compete at training camp.
Len could prove useful when going up against ginormous, more traditional centers such as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Jonas Valancuinas, and Steven Adams. The big man’s minutes in 2023-24 may be matchup-dependent, or he could emerge as the usual backup.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
- Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
- Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)