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NBA draft 2013: Alex Len is a worthwhile gamble -- if you're willing to wait

Alex Len is projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2013 NBA draft Alex Len is currently sidelined following surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

The typical buzzwords of a draft -- potential, upside, skilled -- apply doubly when the tantalizing prospect is a big man. The overall low-ceiling nature of this draft makes dreaming on a 7-footer like Alex Len even easier.

It's possible Len will someday be the best player in the 2013 draft. It's also possible that the team that drafts him high in the lottery will end up as a bagholder, putting in the investment to develop Len into an effective pro only to see him never reach that level, or, worse yet, reach that level for a different team down the road. That's the risk when you marry tantalizing skill with a long expected learning curve. Mix in an immediate health concern -- Len had surgery last month to repair a stress fracture in his foot and will need four to six months to recover -- and the risk/reward profile gets even more complex.

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