On Thursday January 26, 2017, Larry Sanders told the world he was back. Sanders headed to Twitter to make his announcement, saying he “really missed the game,” he seems ready to try and turn around his once promising career. He had recently tried to get into the league again, reportedly hearing interest from the Golden State Warriors, but no deal was able to get done.
A polarizing figure on and off the court, Sanders has been suspended four times for failing to adhere to the league's substance abuse policy, specifically regarding Marijuana. When he actually plays, the guy produces.
According to basketball-reference.com, in 19.8 minutes a game he averages a solid 6.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. In a breakout 3rd year during the 2012-13 season, the young stud put up nearly 9.8 points, 9.5 boards, and 2.8 blocks in 27 minutes of game action. He has the potential to be a DeAndre Jordan type game-changer with the right attitude and coaching.
Reports came out after Sanders announcement that he would begin meeting with teams, starting with Boston and possibly heading to the nation's capital. There are many teams that could use a strong defender and finisher in the center position. He probably should not come in and be anyone’s starting five men, but there are plenty of role opportunities to showcase his talent for a future starting gig. Let's take a look at a few possibilities:
As mentioned, Sanders and his team have met with the Celtics organization. No reports came out of the meeting as to how the either side feels about the arrangement or what took place during it. Boston is in desperate need of a big center that can rebound.
Amir Johnson fits the bill, but has played inconsistently during his time, and lacks the defensive reputation Sanders brings. A lack of strong interior defense has been a cause for concern around the harbor, and Larry could immediately come in behind Al Horford and provide some defensive depth.
Toronto is a good team, don’t get me wrong, the team is hot and has the best backcourt in the Eastern Conference. They did lose BismackBiyombo over the summer, and Jonas Valanciunas doesn’t fit the defensive center ideal, too slow and offensive oriented.
The Raptors have big men in the development stage but are in win now mode. The coaching staff might want a vet to pick up the backup minutes in big time games. Larry would immediately come in as a better option than any of the young talents they have sitting on their bench.
Los Angeles Clippers
Speaking of DeAndre Jordan type game changers…The only solid center on the roster in Jordan, and although he is a beast, every starter needs a solid understudy if the game doesn’t go according to plan. The Clippers add depth every season towards January in order to make a further run in the playoffs. Last season the addition was Jeff Green to add scoring on the wing, and this year Sanders would add defensive versatility.
The guy can guard both the power forward and center positions with his length and speed. Blake Griffin is constantly missing games due to injury, and even when healthy is not the best defensive option. Sanders could soak up some of Jordan’s minutes, and eventually Griffins, and allows the stars to rest and prepare for the playoffs.