Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Season Preview: Alex Len
Sep 28, 2023, 10:30 AM
(Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)
After a complicated 2022-23 season, the Sacramento Kings signed Alex Len to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal worth $3.2 million.
In their first 75 showings, and despite head coach Mike Brown claiming to be “searching” for an answer at the backup center spot, the 7’0″ center 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.
Len (30) is heading into his 11th NBA season and third with the Kings. With training camp less than a week away and new competition for the backup center, seeing how Len is utilized will be intriguing.
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 though.
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 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.
Often, the coaching staff can do their best to avoid rolling him out there 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)