Larry Sanders, Larry Drew

Larry Sanders out at least six weeks following surgery


The rest of the Milwaukee Bucks’ season probably doesn’t matter. They’re 9-43 and have a five-game cushion for the NBA’s worst record. It would be a pretty big upset if they don’t land the best odds in the lottery.

What matters now is developing their core.

The three players most essential to Milwaukee’s future – Giannis Antetokounmpo (by virtue of his promising start), John Henson (by virtue of his strong second season) and Larry Sanders (by virtue of his large contract) – have played just 21 minutes together all season, according to nbawowy. An intriguing mix of length and ability, they could eventually form an effective frontline – but it will take time to work out the quirks of the mix.

The Bucks won’t get that opportunity anytime soon, though. His broken eye socket will keep him off the court a while.

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Sanders has had a miserable season, both on and off the court, since signing his four-year, $44 million contract extension. A serious injury is never anything to celebrate, but hopefully he can use this time off to set up a fresh start on the season.

Even if the Bucks can just a few games from him late to give a Antetokounmpo-Henson-Sanders frontline more experience – especially if Sanders is rejuvenated – that could help in the long run. And right now, Milwaukee should be all about the long run. That also means not rushing Sanders back before he’s ready.

You could call this a “can’t go wrong” situation for the Bucks, but with this team, it’s probably a “can’t go right.”

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.