NBA: Larry Sanders eyeing a potential comeback at 31-years-old

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Former big man Larry Sanders recently stated that he wants to return to the NBA, but should teams realistically look into the 31-year-old?

Larry Sanders is a name that many fans today may have forgotten but was once a highly coveted player coming out of VCU. The Milwaukee Bucks selected Sanders 15th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft as they hoped the big could be a centerpiece in the team’s success moving forward.

Sanders struggled with the Bucks, as he averaged just 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in five seasons with the team. In 2015, the center stepped away from basketball for a plethora of reasons, anxiety, and depression being among the most prominent.

The former 15th overall pick made a brief comeback in the 2016-17 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers but only played in five games before he found himself out of the league once again. Sanders played in the BIG3 last season, but it appears that now he is fixated on returning to the NBA.

Speaking to TMZ Sports recently, Sanders assured that he feels great, and wants to come back into the league.

"“I think with things shifting a bit, me still young, I feel like I’m in the prime stage, I can definitely contribute.I would just love to contribute to a team and help them win and give my knowledge, give my defensive presence and just being able to play basketball and cope with life the way I cope with life.”"

In the best season of his career, Sanders was a near walking double-double and monstrous presence on the defensive end. The big man averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game. However, that was back in the 2012-13 season, and the game of NBA basketball has changed significantly since then.

Sanders has always lacked an outside shot, and the game has evolved today to a state where post- dominant big men are a thing of the past. There will always be a few, Montrezl Harrell, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, among others, for example, but over half a decade removed since his career-year, Sanders cannot get categorized with those players.

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Sanders has also played in just five NBA games since he stepped away from the Milwaukee Bucks in the middle of the 2014-15 season. Bringing a player back after such a lengthy hiatus away from the game could be a gamble for several teams, and could ultimately hamper Sander’s wishes of a return.

If a team is desperately scouring the market for a defensive-minded center, perhaps Sanders could then be of some value. A career 1.8 blocked shots and 3.7 defensive rebounds per game made Sanders a legitimate threat on that side of the ball. If he can bring back that intensity at 31-years-old, perhaps teams could look into giving him another shot.

It will not be an easy road for Larry Sanders as he tries to make his way back into the NBA, and his chances of returning this season are slim to none. He will likely have to wait until next season to receive a genuine opportunity if he can garner some interest around the association.

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