Terps vs Albany: The Beginning Of An Era?

12/27/2011 8:58:23 PM I know that there are readers who will find my headline a tad hyperbolic; but I can't help it.  I'm excited.  It's not every day that a 7'2" man-child with good footwork comes into your life.  Such is the case with Alex Len and I'm all in.

I understand the need to temper expectations, and frankly, my expectations are not that high on the offensive end.  I'm not exactly expecting 15 points per game this season.  What I do expect is for Alex Len to immediately transform this team defensively. And that's MORE important.

Maryland should be able to defend and rebound with anyone in the country now.  Len can be an elite shot blocker/alterer (don't underestimate the value of altered shots just because they don't show up on the stat sheet) from day one.

If Maryland defends and rebounds well, they will be in every game.  That is a fact.  Len can elevate us defensively and that makes the Terps exponentially more competitive.

Offensively, I'm expecting him to be rusty and to struggle running Turgeon's sets.  The way I see it, Alex Len can be effective in the half court in three ways:

1.  1-3 reliable back to basket moves
2.  Passing out of double teams to open shooters when he receives the ball on the low block.
3.  Shooting 75% or greater from the free throw line. 

If Len proved effective in just one of these areas this season; it's probably 2-3 more wins to the Terps.  If he is proficient in 2 or all of these areas; then watch out because I think the Terps are contenders for upper echelon of the ACC.

Tonight, the Terps play Albany and we won't learn all that much.  It's not even known how minutes Turgeon will let him play. 

I recommend that you look at one stat when it comes to Len's performance tomorrow night: plus/minus.  If he has a strong plus/minus, that means that the Terps are playing well when he is in the game.  It's also an effective measurement of his defensive value while playing.

I'll be monitoring it closely and will publish the stats in a post after the game.
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