When NBA commissioner David Stern called out the name Larry Sanders with the 15th pick in the 2010 NBA draft, surely there were more than just a few Milwaukee Bucks fans who had no clue as to what kind of player they were getting.
However, Scott Skiles, the Bucks defensive minded Head Coach, knew exactly what he had in Mr. Sanders; a long, athletic defensive specialist.
In this season’s Las Vegas Summer League Sanders waisted no time validating his new organization’s reason for selecting him so high in the draft. Stepping right in and making his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor, the 6’11”, 235 – pounder, has averaged an impressive 3.2 blocks, 1.8 steals, and 9.3 rebounds through four games here in Vegas.
Although he has not shot the ball particularly well (41%), Sanders is proving to be the kind of player that can impact a game in a myriad of ways. He looks to be a fantasy league’s dream, as he is capable of filling up almost every significant statistical category if given ample opportunity.
In a loss to the Atlanta Hawks summer squad Thursday night the wiry Sanders finished with 8 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Even fantasy guru and NBA TV’s Rick Kamla would appreciate seeing a beautiful stat line such as that. In four games of summer league action Sanders is averaging 13.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 3.2 blocks per game (leads Bucks summer league team in points, rebounds, and blocks). He is the type of player that guys love to play with strictly based on the fact that he cleans up everything around the basket and has everyone’s back on the defensive end.
His game very closely mirrors that of one, Marcus Camby. Another long, wiry 6’11” guy that has made quite a career out of using his length, athleticism and excellent timing to wreak havoc on the defensive end of the court. Not a bad comparison, as Camby, when healthy, is one of the most dynamic players we have in our league today from a defensive standpoint.
Sanders is not a fluent offensive player at this point in his early career. And from watching him courtside it is telling that his slight frame is a major issue when attempting to establish position on the block. His offensive game will come along with hard work in the off – season and much attention from the Bucks coaching staff. However, his true calling card is and, most likely, will always be rebounding and defense. Which is something that every NBA team could use. Especially a team like the Bucks who with their young core plan on making the playoffs an annual event.
Let’s not forget how solid those Bucks looked heading into the playoffs last season. And that was without the services of their big guy and franchise center Andrew Bogut. Add a long, athletic and defensive minded power forward to the mix to play alongside Bogut and surprise pick of last season’s NBA draft in Brandon Jennings and yes, Eastern Conference teams should “Fear the Deer” yet again next season.
Las Vegas Summer League: Larry Sanders, DeMarcus Cousins headline strong play from Day 5
2010 dampfang.com NBA Mock Draft : Larry Sanders (pre – draft) player profile
Milwaukee Bucks summer league team page (stats and scores)
Where does Larry Sanders fall on the NBA.com rookie ladder?
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Who has stood out the most to you in the 2010 Summer Leagues? Feel free to post your comments and thoughts below.