While the difference between optimism and pure disappointment is a huge contrast in the minds of most fans, those conflicting emotions can change in a pretty short time. An example of that could be pointed towards the relationship between Bucks fans and Larry Sanders during the 2013-14 season.
Before entering the season, Bucks fans were extremely optimistic about the future of their dominant defensive center. While Sanders was gifted with a large four year/$44 million dollar deal, he was that dominant defensive big man that Milwaukee fans were clamoring for since Andrew Bogut’s fantastic play during the “Fear the Deer” era.
Seven months later, that optimism following his contract extension has turned into a feeling of disappointment.
As reported from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the 25-year-old Sanders will miss the remaining four weeks of the 2013-14 season because of a lingering right orbital bone fracture that he suffered during early February off of a non-deliberate right elbow from Rockets star James Harden.
While that aforementioned injury will prematurely end his 2013-14 season, Sanders really never had an opportunity to put his engine into second gear. Mere days after the 2013-14 season began, Sanders suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb following a highly publicized bar fight.
That fight, this incident and his all-around disappointing 2013-14 campaign are multiple factors behind Sanders being in the low position that he’s currently in. Compared to his near double-double averages (9.8 points and 9.5 boards in 27.3 minutes per game in 2012-13), Sanders’ numbers during the current season (7.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game) were a small but yet noticeable decline. While Sanders is just going to be starting his contract extension next year, his current position in Milwaukee’s front-court is definitely in question.
The continued trade rumors surrounding Ilyasova, progression of John Henson and possible top-3 lottery pick could hinder Sanders’ overall future with the Bucks organization as they look towards the future.
With that in mind, Sanders has stated that he’s ready to continue to be a fixture on the Bucks roster during the rebuilding process. While that could possibly be thought of as an extremely basic statement from somebody that currently has a poor relationship with the majority of Bucks’ fans, this extended break could possibly help him out in the long-run. Not only will Sanders be able to recover from injury, but he could hopefully build his overall offensive game, which has been a weak point during his career in the NBA.