Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking the top 5 centers of the last 10 seasons

Jul 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders
DALLAS, TX – FEBRUARY 26 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

We’ve concluded the miniseries looking back at the top five players at each position for the Milwaukee Bucks over the last 10 seasons, starting with the point guards and now finishing with the centers. This has been a position of strength for the Bucks since the 2011-12 season, with the Bucks employing some pretty solid big men.

They aren’t incredibly high-end players by any means, but it’s a solid group of bigs that were solid or better in their time with the organization. While some of the positions so far have been relative duds, the center position goes five deep with some fan favorites and impact players.

It makes sense that center is a position of strength considering the history of Bucks centers, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the top and number one overall pick in 2005, Andrew Bogut mixing in there as well.

The center has become somewhat of a revitalized position in recent years with the emergence of players like 2020-21 MVP Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Deandre Ayton. The Bucks haven’t had a player on that level in the last 10 seasons, but they’ve managed to find guys who can do their jobs at an above-average level for the most part.

Top 5 Milwaukee Bucks centers of the last 10 seasons – No. 5: Larry Sanders

Despite his somewhat tumultuous exit from the Bucks, Larry Sanders was a great defensive presence and solid lob threat at his peak. The story of his departure from the organization (and basketball as a whole) was detailed in Mirin Fader’s new book Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP, where former coach Jason Kidd verbally abused Sanders to the point he had a mental breakdown.

Sanders played 173 games with the Bucks since 2011-12 and 233 overall. He started in 101 of those 173 games and averaged 7.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. His best season came in 2012-13, where Sanders averaged nearly three blocks per game and was worth six win shares, the third-best single-season among Bucks centers in the last 10 seasons. The man had a triple-double with blocks that year!

The two biggest weaknesses for Sanders were finishing at the rim and foul trouble. His best season by percentage for shots at the rim was in 2012-13, where he shot 63.3 percent at the rim. A relatively low number for a center, but he routinely was under 60 percent on shots at the rim during his career. The foul trouble makes sense for someone as aggressive at blocking shots as Sanders was, but he averaged three fouls per game while playing around 21 minutes a night. That’s a sky-high foul rate. I loved watching Sanders play, though. He had so much energy and emotion, it makes me sad that he was forced to leave basketball because of Kidd.