But playing time has been scarce for Len, who knows that he needs to take his game to the next level this season.
“I want to be out there and I want to compete,” Len said, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.
“I put in the work hoping to show my skills on the court. So when you’re not able to help your team it’s frustrating.”
Suns interim coach Jay Triano has found it difficult to balance minutes between Len, Greg Monroe and Tyson Chandler which often times has seen Len’s minutes drastically reduced.
“It’s been hard to get him playing time,” Triano said. “When you have veteran players in front of you sometimes they’re going to demand the playing time. I have to find ways to get Alex in because he has been good and he’s rebounded the ball for us.”
“I’ve tried to win games and I thought the veteran guys would help us do that.”
Len knows that the Suns roster is packed with big men, making it even harder to find minutes.
“We’ve just got too many bigs,” Len stated. “Obviously I want to win for the Phoenix Suns but at the same time when you play you showcase yourself for the other 29 teams. I try not to think about it.”
“I showed this team – and teams around the league – what I can do when I get in there. I rebounded well, I finished around the rim. If coach needs me, I’m here.”
Former Suns’ General Manager Ryan McDonough Talks Tenure, Firing
It was surprising to see the Phoenix Suns fire general manager Ryan McDonough prior to the season starting, but the Suns have done some whacky things in the past. Still, McDonough was entering the season without a true starting point guard and the organization didn’t feel good moving forward with that scenario.
McDonough made an appearance this morning on ‘The Jump’ and talked about his tenure, the Suns organization, roster, and his firing.
“I viewed the roster as not fully completed” McDonough said when asked about the timing of his dimissal. We were working on a few trades to upgrade the team, and I guess I thought we had more time than I ended up having.”
“Phoenix is a great place to live. It’s a great place to play. The team is super young, so I think that hurt us somewhat in terms of recruiting elite free agents in their prime” McDonough said when discussing the challenges of luring marquee free agents to Phoenix. “The two foundational pieces that we left there are 22 years old (Booker) and 20 (Ayton). I think free agents, especially veteran free agents like a LeBron James or LaMarcus Aldridge, look at it and say, ‘They’re a little ways away.’
“It is a challenge. There are unique challenges to every setup, every situation. The Suns have been a destination franchise in the past. I think, and hope, as Devin and Deandre and the rest of the young players improve, they will be again in the future.”
McDonough had his regrets as well.
“The biggest regret, I think, is how public some of the conflicts with the players became. I think the good organizations have historically handled that behind closed doors. And that’s not a shot at Phoenix — that’s more of a shot at me than anything. We could have done better internally, from ownership and the front office and our coaching staff in terms of communication with the players, and vice versa. If I do jump back in on the team side at some point, I’ll learn from that. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the last couple weeks, just thinking about how we can do better in that area going forward.”
McDonough also defended his decision to sign Trevor Ariza, another wing, instead of prioritizing a point guard during the offseason.
“We studied the final four teams in the league last year, and other than Cleveland with LeBron, if you look at Golden State, Houston, and Boston, they have a ton of interchangeable wing players” McDonough explained. “And a lot of times, they’ll have three or even four of them on the court at a time.
Ariza was an unrestricted free agent, he’s a West Coast guy, he had interest in coming to Phoenix, and we viewed his contract similar to how Philly viewed J.J. Redick‘s contract a year ago, where we can pay him a lot of money for one year [and] keep our future flexibility. … We thought Ariza would help us take a step from rebuilding to hopefully being playoff competitive. And then we could build from there, either with Ariza or with an elite free agent from the 2019 class.”
Suns Sign Jamal Crawford
The Phoenix Suns have added shooting guard Jamal Crawford to their backcourt as they signed the veteran to a one-year, $2.4 million deal for the veteran’s minimum, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
With the move, the Suns had to trim 3 players from their roster by the 5pm ESt deadline, and have waived guard Shaquille Harrison and forward Darrell Arthur and are shopping Davon Reed on the trade market as well.
Suns’ Devin Booker to Return Opening Night
The Phoenix Suns will start the 2018-2019 regular season with their franchise cornerstone, shooting guard Devin Booker, back on the court, according to Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov on Monday.
Booker will likely wear a splint on his pinky/ring finger after missing the entire preseason after undergoing surgery to repair an injury to the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint in his right hand in early September.
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