Going into the 2010-11 NBA season, the Bucks needed help at the center position. Besides Andrew Bogut, they were not going to get much production out of the center position. Milwaukee’s backups included Brian Skinner, Jon Brockman, and Earl Barron. Those three definitely weren’t going to get it done so the Bucks ended up drafting VCU center, Larry Sanders, with the 15th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
In his rookie season, Sanders played in 60 games and averaged 4.3 points per game and 3.0 rebounds. The numbers weren’t stacking up but everybody could see the Bucks center had enormous potential, especially on the defensive end. In 14.5 minutes per game that season he averaged 1.2 blocks per game for a Per 36 of 3.0. He also had a DRTG of 99 and a DBPM of 1.7. In 2011-12, it was more of the same for Larry Sanders but in 2012-13, he had his breakout season.
In 2012-13, Sanders played in 71 games (started 55 of them) and averaged 9.8 points per game and 9.5 rebounds. The best part about Sanders that season was the fact that he had a legitimate case for Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 2.8 blocks per game which was good for second in the league and finished first in the NBA in defensive block percentage. His 201 blocks was good for third in the league. He also averaged 0.7 steals per game with a DRTG of 99 and a DBPM of 2.0. Sanders ended up losing the DPOY Award to Marc Gasol that season but as you can in the graphic below, it wasn’t a blowout.
Larry Sanders earned himself a huge payday after the 2012-13 season, a payday that the Bucks are still paying off due to a buyout in 2015. After his breakout year, Sanders only played in 50 games spanning two seasons for Milwaukee due to off the court issues. Nowadays, from everything I’ve read, it seems like Sanders is doing very well working on music, his clothing line, and his non-profit organization named Citizen of Matter.
I would love to see Larry Sanders play on today’s Bucks alongside Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The defense that those three would bring…I don’t think anybody is scoring in the paint. He would be the perfect energy guy to bring off the bench and dominant opposing teams. The same way he did in 2012-13.
Larry Sanders gave Milwaukee fans hope for a few seasons. Nobody could have changed my mind 8 years ago that Larry Sanders wasn’t the center of the future. It’s unfortunate how his time in Milwaukee ended.