Alex Len is battling for the Phoenix Suns’ starting center position as the preseason rolls along.
On Wednesday evening, the former Maryland star was ejected in the Phoenix Suns’ 113-104 loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Len got tangled up with former Purdue star Caleb Swanigan underneath the basket as Portland’s Meyers Leonard connected on a three. It looked as though Len had inside position on Swanigan, but Swanigan tried to hook Len and edge him out of the way.
Following the dust-up, Len ended up shoving Swanigan and both players were given technical fouls and ejected from the game with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter. Marquese Chriss ended up replacing Len in the Suns’ lineup.
Len ended up scoring just three points (0-of-4 shooting) and grabbed five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Veteran Tyson Chandler drew the start at center, but was ineffective as he scored just three points in 21 minutes.
This comes just two days after Len scored 18 points (7-of-10 and secured seven rebounds in a 120-102 loss against the Utah Jazz. Len did start that game and ended up playing the most minutes on the team (29).
On Friday, Len excelled against the Jazz once again as he scored 18 points (5-of-7) and grabbed nine rebounds in a 112-101 loss. Once again, Len led the Suns in playing with 31 minutes.
In the preseason, the former Terrapin is averaging 13.3 points and 8.3 rebounds through four contests. He scored in double figures in every game prior to Wednesday’s three-point outing.
Len is coming off a 2016-17 season in which he averaged 8.0 points and 6.6 rebounds. The Ukrainian big man did start 34 games for Phoenix.
The former Maryland star is in need of a big season and that could happen if he gets playing time. If he isn’t playing second fiddle to Chandler, an offensive increase could be in the cards.