Welcome to the return of our Season Review series! We will do a brief (and sometimes no-so-brief) review of how the season went for each member of the Sacramento Kings. We’re kicking things off with Alex Len!
Alex Len had a truly bizarre season for the Sacramento Kings. Len appeared in just 26 games, starting for 2 games, both career lows for Len. He spent most of the season seeing spot minutes in garbage time and going long stretches without appearing in games at all, racking up DNP-CDs on a regular basis.
The lack of Len minutes even as the Sacramento Kings were desperately searching for an answer at center behind Domantas Sabonis seemed to indicate that Len didn’t have a future with the team. We didn’t know why the coaching staff wasn’t looking to Len as part of trying to find a backup center, we just knew Len was buried on the bench.
And then, with less than 10 games remaining in the season, Alex Len suddenly started seeing regular minutes, playing more than 10 minutes per game in each of Sacramento’s final 7 games and playing reasonably well.
Even going into the playoffs we weren’t sure if the Kings would continue to use Len. Perhaps, we thought, Mike Brown was simply playing Len to see what else he had in case there were playoff matchups where Len might be useful.
Despite the assumption that Len wouldn’t be a good matchup play against the Warriors, Mike Brown continued to use Len in the playoffs, and Len played well! The stats don’t jump off the page, but Len is a big body, plays some defense without fouling, and grabs rebounds. For the Kings, that was better than the other options available.
Len is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Kings have his Early Bird Rights, but it’s unclear if the organization would want to bring him back for another year, or if Len would even be interested in returning after such an up-and-down year of playing time.
To his credit, Len is regarded as a good teammate. Mike Brown said he gave Len a shot at playing time because Len continued to work hard and practice well even when he wasn’t getting game minutes. If the Kings want Len as an emergency backup center option, I think they could certainly do worse.
I imagine the Kings will be seeking a more significant upgrade behind Sabonis, especially if they can find a way to move Richaun Holmes this summer, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if Sacramento brought Len back for another year on a low-cost deal.