Three Teams Who Could Utilize Larry Sanders

Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Three Teams Who Could Utilize Larry Sanders

Former Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders was a shot blocking machine before his career went on a downward spiral in 2015. Drug use, depression, and mood disorders forced the 6’11” big man to check into a hospital program, lose his love for the game, and step away from the NBA. He was suspended twice for violating the NBA’s drug-usage protocol within a year span.

Sanders is back on track and is attempting to make a comeback—as we all should be rooting for him. The 28-year-old has already worked out with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and is scheduled to workout for a couple of more teams to show off his abilities and get back in shape.

Sanders’ best season came in 2012-13, where a few phenomenal performances turned heads around the league, where he finished the season averaging 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in 55 starts. He was 7th in the Defensive Player of the Year race and was a menace around the rim on defense.

Though his numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, Sanders—if still the player he once was—is valuable and could be effective for a number of NBA teams today.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are lead by two of the best players in the league in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, one of the best shooters in Klay Thompson, and an all-around forward in Draymond Green; all All-Stars. Their bench—which has a healthy balance of young and veteran players—have done their job all season, providing a second burst of production when the stars need a rest. What they are lacking, though, is a consistent, rim-protecting center to head the paint.

Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee aren’t the greatest rim protectors and haven’t had much effect all season. Pachulia is averaging 5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks per game, while McGee is playing just over nine minutes per game. On offense, McGee throws down dunks, but virtually nothing else but appearing on ShaqtinAFool.

Head coach Steve Kerr admires running a small-ball offense where 6’7” forward Draymond Green runs the center slot. Larry Sanders, who has the athletic ability to run the floor with guards, could fit well in this type of lineup.

If Golden State can dump JaVale McGee and bring in Sanders for a reasonable price, it is a no brainer.

Boston Celtics

Some say the Boston Celtics are one star player away from becoming serious champion contenders. Well, if Boston decides to bring in Larry Sanders, they wouldn’t have found that such player, but a great backup center to play behind four-time All-Star Al Horford.

Already with a loaded front court in Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller and Jordan Mickey, Boston needs a rebounding, shot blocking center as they currently rank 28th in rebounds and 22nd in blocked shots as a team. If they bring in Sanders, he could help aid Boston in the defensive category.

Though Boston could use a player of his caliber, Sacramento Kings officials stated Sanders did not look outstanding during his workout and the Celtics have no interested in waiving someone to sign him.

Portland Trail Blazers

Currently 2.0 games back from the 8th spot in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers are fighting game by game to make their way into the playoffs. After trading Mason Plumlee to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and a first-round pick, Portland gained assets for the future, but lost a key player in their starting lineup.

Relying on Nurkic and Meyers Leonard will not cut it at the center position for the remaining 27 games of the season. With a full fifteen man roster, Portland would have to waive a player to add Larry Sanders. Adding Sanders gives the Blazers an alternative solution to trading assets for a veteran center. Their defense ranks 27th in the NBA; Sanders’ presence would instantly improve it.

Whatever team decides to sign Larry Sanders is guaranteed to improve of the defensive end. Snagging him for the minimum should be a no-brainer for every team in the league.

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