Feb 16, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
The rest of the Milwaukee Bucks’ season probably doesn’t matter. They’re 9-43 and have a five-game cushion for the NBA’s worst record. It would be a pretty big upset if they don’t land the best odds in the lottery.
What matters now is developing their core.
The three players most essential to Milwaukee’s future – Giannis Antetokounmpo (by virtue of his promising start), John Henson (by virtue of his strong second season) and Larry Sanders (by virtue of his large contract) – have played just 21 minutes together all season, according to nbawowy. An intriguing mix of length and ability, they could eventually form an effective frontline – but it will take time to work out the quirks of the mix.
The Bucks won’t get that opportunity anytime soon, though. His broken eye socket will keep him off the court a while.
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Sanders has had a miserable season, both on and off the court, since signing his four-year, $44 million contract extension. A serious injury is never anything to celebrate, but hopefully he can use this time off to set up a fresh start on the season.
Even if the Bucks can just a few games from him late to give a Antetokounmpo-Henson-Sanders frontline more experience – especially if Sanders is rejuvenated – that could help in the long run. And right now, Milwaukee should be all about the long run. That also means not rushing Sanders back before he’s ready.
You could call this a “can’t go wrong” situation for the Bucks, but with this team, it’s probably a “can’t go right.”
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