Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get To Know Him - Larry Sanders

The Milwaukee Bucks do not get a lot of nationally televised games, despite a young roster filled with a lot of potential stars.  Everyone knows about Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis because they can score, as they take a ton of shots each night.  A guy that is really starting to break out of his shell and will soon become a household name is Larry Sanders.  I chose Sanders as my "Get To Know Him" because I feel that he is not getting the respect he deserves around the country for his outstanding all around play. It's very clear that the average basketball fan doesn't know about him because he's only owned in 70% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.  He's now in his third year out of Virginia Commonwealth but is finally starting and getting close to 25 minutes per night.

Raise your hand if you saw Sanders ranking 46th across eight categories thanks to 8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 54 percent shooting. Sanders leads the NBA in blocks per game, ahead of last year’s leader Serge Ibaka and three-time DPOY Dwight Howard. - NBA.com
Larry Sanders has great size at 6'11, 235 lbs and is extremely athletic. I bet at the time most Milwaukee Buck fans were a little shocked when the Bucks selected him 15th overall in the 2010 draft, but are now seeing why the organization selected him so early.  In his rookie campaign Sanders played in a total of 60 games, getting 12 starts, only seeing 14.5 minutes per game.  In those 14.5 minutes Sanders was averaging over a block a game.  Last season Sanders actually saw his minutes decrease slightly getting 12.4 minutes per game but once again he was averaging 1.5 blocks in those limited minutes.  A big reason for his limited minutes during his first two seasons was because Andrew Bogut was on the roster getting 35 minutes a night, and Drew Gooden was seeing a lot of time at center as well.  Bogut has since been traded to the Warriors for Monta Ellis and Gooden has only played in 9 games this season seeing about 10 minutes a night.

Now in his third season Sanders is beginning to make a name for himself around the NBA.  Sanders is getting just under 25 minutes a game and is now the Bucks starting center.  Sanders is leading the NBA in blocks with 3.1 per game, and is averaging 8 points, and 8.4 rebounds.  On November 30th, in a loss against the Timberwolves, Sanders recoreded his first career triple double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks.  A triple double with blocks is one of the most difficult and rare things to occur in the NBA and can only remember three other players achieving it in recent years - Andrew Bynum, JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka.

Sanders recently turned 24 and is soon entering his prime.  So far in 2+ seasons he has seen an increase in just about every statistical category, in all 3 seasons - Field Goal %, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals, Points.  He is a defensive nightmare for opposing offenses and that is something he'll be known for, for years to come as he'll always be top 5 if not leading the NBA in blocked shots. His offense is getting better as he's getting more playing time and is now shooting 54% from the field, as opposed to 43% his rookie season.  He should continue to be a better rebounder and always be around 10 per game as he'll improve his offensive rebounding (2.5 per game this season).  Scoring big points will never be his game.  I wouldn't be surprise if he never averages more than 10-11 points a game, but when your blocking 3+ shots a game and pulling down boards then scoring at a high rate is not required.

Just a sample of what kind of games Larry Sanders has the ability to post:
11/30 @ T'Wolves - 10 points, 12 rebounds, 10 blocks
12/1 vs Celtics - 18 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks
12/3 @ Hornets - 8 points, 7 rebounds, 7 blocks
12/21 @ Celtics - 17 points, 20 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
12/29 vs Heat - 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
1/5 @ Pacers - 12 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks
1/8 vs Suns - 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 steals

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