Larry Sanders eager for more with Bucks
It’s been a busy summer for Milwaukee Bucks general manager John
After hiring a new coach, Hammond set his sights on the NBA
draft, then got to work rebuilding the roster, eventually bringing
11 new players to Milwaukee.
Last week, however, Hammond made sure one of those players still
around after last season stays in Milwaukee for a while. He signed
center Larry Sanders to a four-year extension worth approximately
”We’ve talked about moving forward as an organization and
building around young players on our roster,” Hammond said. ”He’s
one, if not the, key, core piece for us moving forward. This is a
great step for us for who we want to become.”
The extension comes after a breakout year for 24-year-old
Sanders, who led Milwaukee in rebounds (9.5 per game) and averaged
9.8 points, both career highs. His 2.83 blocks per game were second
in the NBA to Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka.
”He’s one of the top defenders in the NBA,” Hammond said.
”He’s one of the top shot-blockers in our business and he’s only
going to get better defensively, get better on offense and we’re
really excited to have him be a part of our organization
Offensively, Sanders is still a work-in-progress, but has shown
marked improvement over his first three seasons and shot a
career-best 50.6 percent from the field. Free throw shooting is
something of a concern — he’s 58 percent from the line in his
career but — but he connected at a 61.8 percent clip a year ago
while averaging 8.5 attempts.
Milwaukee selected Sanders with the 15th overall pick in the
2010 draft. He was set to enter the final year of his four-year
rookie-scale contract, which will pay him $3 million this season.
Getting better on offense is a key goal for Sanders and new coach
”Not just going to the basket but trying to facilitate more,
open the court and understand the offense more,” Sanders said.
”There’s a lot on the offensive end I’m working on.”
Sanders’ emotional play has made him a crowd-favorite at the
Bradley Center, but has also made him a target for officials, who
ejected him a league-leading five times last season, including
three in a span of 10 days. He finished fifth in the league with
3.3 fouls per game and was third with 14 technicals.
”My focus needs to be on winning the game,” Sanders said. ”I
know coach hates when we talk to the officials … so I’ll just
Not long after taking the job, Drew sat down with Sanders and
made it clear that things had to change.
”We went to dinner and talked,” Drew said. ”It was a very
frank and candid conversation; he realized he had to get better and
it’s something I’m going to expect of him.”