After eight years in the NBA, Wizards center Alex Len is finally ready for his playoff debut, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Len has the longest active streak with no postseason appearances, and it’s a distinction that he’s eager to get rid of.
“The play-ins kind of felt like the playoffs,” he said. “Every possession counts. You could feel the intensity was way higher than the regular season. It’s just probably the most exciting part of my career.”
It didn’t look like Len was headed to the playoffs when he arrived in D.C. in January. The Wizards were far out of the race when they claimed him off waivers after he had been cut loose by the Raptors. He turned out to be a valuable addition in the wake of a season-ending injury to starting center Thomas Bryant.
“When I came here, it was probably at the bottom or the second-worst team in the East,” Len said. “Then, climbing all the way back and making the eighth seed, it was a lot of fun. We battled through and guys stuck together.”
There’s more on the Wizards:
- Daniel Gafford is another member of Washington’s center rotation who is happy to be in the playoffs, Hughes writes in a separate story. Gafford spent his first season and a half with the Bulls before the Wizards acquired him at the trade deadline. “I was overwhelmed with a lot of emotion after (beating the Pacers in the play-in tournament),” he said. “I had to kind of just hold it in. … I would say this trade was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
- Raul Neto is looking forward to facing his former team in a playoff setting, Hughes notes in another piece. Neto was a back-up point guard for the Sixers last season, and he believes that familiarity will be an asset for the Wizards. “I know every one of them; how they play, how they mentally approach the game,” he said. “So, I think I’m going to try to use that during the series and try to help my teammates if they need to know something else.”
- Coach Scott Brooks found success with a three-guard starting lineup that he began using in late April. Fred Katz of The Athletic examines how that group will match up against a much larger Sixers team.