During the playoffs last season, when the overmatched Milwaukee Bucks were being swept by the Heat, Larry Sanders expressed frustration that some of the Bucks veterans were playing selfish basketball — and we’re looking at you, Monta Ellis — and that was killing the team. Ellis and Sanders almost came to blows in the locker room.
One of the reasons that speech flopped is Sanders didn’t bring it every night.
That according to former Bucks assistant coach Anthony Goldwire (he was let go with Scott Skiles). Goldwire was speaking with Talkinhoopz.com and threw out this gem (via Eye On Basketball and BrewHoop).
“Last year, and the year before that, Larry didn’t come to play every night, some nights he took off. Some guys felt like he didn’t have the right to speak. Now, once you get in the playoffs, now you fell like you want to talk.”
That would be the Sanders that just signed a four-year, $44 million extension with Milwaukee.
He is young and hiss game is still maturing. He still does some things wrong — Zach Lowe gets into this at Grantland in a fantastic post about the potential of SANDERS! — but there is so much that he does right and can get better at that the extension was a good deal. He can be a franchise anchor big in the paint (he and John Henson could form an impressive defensive back line).
One of the things that often comes with maturity is more consistent effort. I expect we will see that in this case. Goldwire said it is needed if Sanders wants to lead.
“This year he has a big burden…He has to continue what he started last year in the playoffs and start over now, going into September, going into their pick up games. But in order for the team to respect him, he has to do that every night.”
New coach Larry Drew may be able to draw that out of him in a way Skiles did not.