For the casual fan who didn’t watch a lot of Bucks basketball last season, the four-year, $44 million extension Larry Sanders got from the Milwaukee Bucks was head scratching. Who was he and why give him that much money?
Because he is one of the up-and-coming best shot blocking, defensive bigs in the game and you can build something good around that.
Bucks GM John Hammond as well as Sanders himself talked about the contract and the rebuilding Bucks with the Boston Globe.
“(Sanders is) one of the key, if not the key, piece for us moving forward,” Hammond said. “Larry is one of the top shot-blockers in our business. And I think he’s only going to get better defensively. We’re really excited to have him part of our organization, moving forward long term…”
“This organization has put so much faith and trust in me, and I put that on myself also,” said Sanders. “Since I got there the organization has done nothing but push me and help me in that direction. We’ve been working in this direction for a long time.”
Putting the pressure on him to be a leader is a smart thing and could help with the perception Sanders didn’t bring his best every night. And help him control his temper.
The Bucks are once again going to be a borderline playoff team in the East. Yes, they lost Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but this is now the team’s likely starting five:
Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Ersan Ilyasova, and Sanders. They have some solid guys like Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour, and Carlos Delfino. That’s not a roster putting any fear in the Heat, but it is a roster that could grab the 7 or 8 seed in the East if things break their way.
And Sanders will be at the heart of it all.