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Former Bucks assistant says Larry Sanders didn’t bring it every night

Aug 22, 2013, 3:37 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three Getty Images

During the playoffs last season, when the overmatched Milwaukee Bucks were being swept by the Heat, Larry Sanders expressed frustration that some of the Bucks veterans were playing selfish basketball — and we’re looking at you, Monta Ellis — and that was killing the team. Ellis and Sanders almost came to blows in the locker room.

One of the reasons that speech flopped is Sanders didn’t bring it every night.

That according to former Bucks assistant coach Anthony Goldwire (he was let go with Scott Skiles). Goldwire was speaking with and threw out this gem (via Eye On Basketball and BrewHoop).

“Last year, and the year before that, Larry didn’t come to play every night, some nights he took off. Some guys felt like he didn’t have the right to speak. Now, once you get in the playoffs, now you fell like you want to talk.”

That would be the Sanders that just signed a four-year, $44 million extension with Milwaukee.

He is young and hiss game is still maturing. He still does some things wrong — Zach Lowe gets into this at Grantland in a fantastic post about the potential of SANDERS! — but there is so much that he does right and can get better at that the extension was a good deal. He can be a franchise anchor big in the paint (he and John Henson could form an impressive defensive back line).

One of the things that often comes with maturity is more consistent effort. I expect we will see that in this case. Goldwire said it is needed if Sanders wants to lead.

“This year he has a big burden…He has to continue what he started last year in the playoffs and start over now, going into September, going into their pick up games. But in order for the team to respect him, he has to do that every night.”

New coach Larry Drew may be able to draw that out of him in a way Skiles did not.

  1. bougin89 - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Interesting. Admittedly I didn’t watch every Bucks game but Sanders was our “energy” guy. He runs the floor so well for a big. If anything I thought at times he needs to control his energy because he picks up silly fouls at times trying to go for too many big blocks instead of just altering shots.

  2. bougin89 - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Also, it might be worth noting Skiles didn’t play everyone consistently. It’s no wonder Sanders started blossoming this year after getting regular minutes.

  3. boscoesworld - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Funny a deposed assistant coach would make such comments. Perhaps the coaching was the issue!!

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    You mean to tell me Samuel Dalembert’s maturity & veteran mentoring didn’t whip Sanders into shape?

  5. adamsjohn714 - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    If he broke Ellis’ arm in the locker room they might have only lost by single digits in the playoffs. I’d much rather have somebody who allegedly doesn’t play hard but still produces, instead of a really bad player who tries really hard. Talent is a lot harder to cultivate than effort.

    • bougin89 - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Who is the more talented player? Your comment is confusing. Sanders is all effort and athleticism. He is extremely raw.

      Ellis is much more skilled, if you watched one Bucks game you would see this, but he is a chucker. He wasn’t always this inefficient, when he first came into the league he was incredibly efficient for a slashing guard.

      I think I agree with you though, I’d take Larry Sanders any day over Ellis or Brandon Jennings.

  6. jjthesportsguy - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I hate to break it to Anthony Goldwire, but very few NBA players bring it every night. If they all did, we’d see playoff atmosphere basketball for the entire season, and that is far from reality.

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Agreed. Not to mention, very few players now even think about playing defense. They all seem to play for a highlight.

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