Three days after his brief tenure with the Toronto Raptors came to an abrupt end, former No. 5 overall pick Alex Len has seemingly found his next basketball home. Per a tweet from The Athletic's Shams Charania, Len has agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Wizards.
Charania noted that the 27-year-old big man had multiple suitors, but ultimately elected to make the move to America's capital due to the Wizards' need for frontcourt depth. The team's original starting center, Thomas Bryant, suffered a season-ending ACL tear earlier this month, leaving them with only Robin Lopez and Moe Wagner at the position.
Moreover, Washington has been in dire need of players who can actually take the court due to six of their players recently testing positive for COVID-19. As noted by NBA.com, the Wizards have had six games postponed in the last two weeks as a result of the outbreak.
The team is also contending with trade rumors surrounding Bradley Beal.
Len should be a familiar face to fans in the District of Columbia, having played collegiately for the Maryland Terrapins at nearby College Park between 2011 and 2013. It was there that he impressed professional scouts and basketball pundits to the point that some had labeled him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
In his final mock draft posted during the week of the event, USA Today's Steve Kyler had the Cleveland Cavaliers taking Len with the top overall selection.
"The Ukrainian big man has NBA size and length and is arguably the most polished offensive big man in the draft," he wrote at the time. "He has tremendous potential and could be a contributor right away."
In the end, that assessment proved untrue as Len struggled to get off of the bench for the Phoenix Suns as a rookie. He would show improvement over his five seasons in Arizona, but was never more than a spot starter and didn't come close to filling the role that had been envisioned for him when he was taken as a top-five pick.
Still, Len eventually carved out a niche for himself as a solid rebounder and a defensive presence down low. During a breakout campaign with the Atlanta Hawks in 2018-19, he began to show potential as a floor-spacer, connecting on better than 36 percent of three-point attempts, as tracked by Basketball-Reference.
As a result, he upped his scoring output to a career-best 11.1 points in just 21 minutes per game.
However, he was dealt by the Hawks to the Sacramento Kings the following season, a club that ultimately elected not to re-sign him ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. Although he eventually caught on with the Raptors, he made just seven appearances for the franchise before they elected to waive him.