Paint help: Bucks draft shotblocker Larry Sanders

Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Sanders, Larry

I’ve joined NBA draft night just in time to hear Jay Bilas describe Gordon Hayward as “an elite shooter” and realized it was going to be a long night of sneering banality from the wardens of college ball unless I acted quickly.  Off went the toob and over to Ball Don’t Lie I went for the annual draft live blog, hosted by Trey Kirby and featuring special guest Sham from ShamSports.com, where I had just gone to find out how long the Bucks will be stuck with Cory Maggette (three more years at $31 million total).

Meanwhile in the draft …

That “elite” shooter Hayward went to the Jazz with the #9 pick, by the way.  And the Pacers drafted Paul George with the #11 pick, taking two perimeter forwards who the Bucks worked out off the board. The Bucks will draft in a few minutes.

Here’s that Ball Don’t Lie link again if you prefer your NBA analysis from guys who like pro basketball and actually think a good night of fun is sitting around at the NBA draft making up stupid nicknames for the players.  Turn ESPN off when you find it.

Kentucky’s Patrick “Swayze RIP” Patterson fell all the way to 14th, just out of the Bucks grasp.

With the 15th pick the Bucks selected …

Larry – “Remember Gary Shandling for the his Amazing HBO show, not the movie where he played The Alien” –  Sanders, the 6’9″, 210-pound forward-center from Virginia Commonwealth.  Who is Larry Sanders?  Raw, wingspan, thin, not much of scorer but is scoring what a good team should want from a rookie, especially one drafted 15th?  No. Learning to play Skiles-style defense will dominate Sanders’ NBA life for some time with the Bucks.

Check that – the Bucks list Sanders at 6’11” and 235, so size was probably the deciding factor here.  Here’s the Bucks description of From Bucks.com Draft Central:

Larry Sanders Larry Sanders – VCU – Junior
11/21/88 – 6’11” – 235 lbs – Forward | Draft Profile

  • Career Highlights: Team was 75-27 during his three seasons with two regular season CAA titles and one postseason CAA title. Two-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Strengths: Extremely long and athletic forward who can rebound and block shots at a high clip. Runs the floor extremely well for his size. Has a frame that should fill out nicely. Offensive game is a work in progress.

From the BDL peanut gallery:

Andy – Desipio.com:  Bilas just compared Sanders to Theo Ratliff. Huh? You mean he already has a huge expiring contract?

Sham can’t believe Sanders went ahead of Solomon Alabi, center from Nigeria who played at Florida State.

I also thought the Bucks would take a good look at Alabi, figuring if they decided to go big, might as well go as big as possible and draft the center from Nigeria (also building on the international  character of the team, missing one player now that the stumbling Dutchman, Dan Gadzuric,  is a Golden State Warrior).  But I’m not sure the Bucks ever got a good look at Alabi.

Sanders they did get a good look at, though it wasn’t so clear at first how much they liked what they saw.  After a June 14 workout, Bucks director of scouting, Billy McKinney said it was “a bit of a stretch” to say that Sanders was “in the mix” at #15:

“I think that might be a little bit of a stretch, but anything is possible. This draft is a little bit crazy right now because we’re not sure how the top 15 is shaking out. Every week we go through mock drafts and we look at the mock drafts and different people are all over the board. We think that might be a little bit of a stretch (to have Sanders at 15) but we have him in anyway to look at him in the event that something might happen in the event that we might move back.”

Sanders’ shot-blocking abilities may have tipped the Bucks decision his way: “We’re a defensive oriented team and of course, one of the things that we’re looking at of course in the draft is trying to get more length and athleticism,” McKinney said.

This could also mean that the Bucks are in the market for more experienced help in the paint for Bogut and may want to trade up for, say, Patrick Patterson, or trade out of the draft for NBA experience. As of the Gadzuric/Bell for Magette trade, the Bucks don’t have a backup center under contract.

The guy I thought the Bucks would end up with, Luke Babbitt (6’9″ scorer/shooter out of Nevada) went in the very next pick, to the T-Wolves at #16. But the T-Wolves are trading Babbitt to Portland for Martell Webster.  Babbitt, obviously, was not enough of a paint defender/rebounder/shotblocker to fit the Bucks needs, however much they liked his offensive game.

5 picks (three straight PFs taken by the Rockets, Bucks and T-Wolves.)

12. Memphis Grizzlies – Xavier “Ohio” Henry
13. Toronto Raptors – Ed “Dangerous Danny” Davis
14. Houston Rockets – Patrick “Swayze (R.I.P.)” Patterson
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Larry “Remember Garry Shandling For His Amazing HBO Show, Not The Movie Where He Played The Alien” Sanders
16. Minnesota T’Wolves - Luke “Rain Man (Shouts to The Jones)” Babbitt – traded to Portland for Martell Webster]
Now the Bucks are describing Sanders as 6’9″.  From the the email I just received from the team:
The Larry Sanders Show Coming to Milwaukee
The Bucks select 6’9” forward Larry Sanders from VCU. Sanders averaged 14.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for Virginia Commonwealth last season. Stay tuned to Bucks.com for info and additional draft coverage.
How tall is this guy Sanders really? And when are the Bucks ever going to get their PR #@% together. Pick a height people, especially when drafting for wingspan.
…. It’s 9:45 pm as I type this and the Bucks are about to pick with #37 in the 2nd round.  Sham continues to call for center Solomon Alabi. Like sham, I’m beginning to wonder why 35 teams would take a pass on Alabi and am beginning to like the idea that the Bucks will take the Florida State big man. Bogut can’t have too much help coming off another injury. The Pistons take a point guard named Terrico (or letters arranged to that effect) at #36 and the Ball Don’t Lie guys wonder if he was stoned in some photo they’re looking at.   Bucks at #37 take …
Darington Hobson Darington Hobson – New Mexico – Junior
9/29/87 – 6’7” – 205 lbs – Guard | Draft Profile

  • Career Highlights: Made an immediate impact at New Mexico after transferring from the College of Eastern Utah. Was conference’s Newcomer of the Year and Player of the Year in his only season at New Mexico.
  • Strengths: Skilled wing who can play three positions. Very good ballhandler for his size. Has good court vision. Can score in a variety of ways. Sticks his nose in on the glass.
McKinney didn’t have much to say about Hobson after the workout, judging by the workout notes. Hobson worked out with Luke Babbittt, Gordon Hayward, Lazar Hayward and Jordon Crawford, shooting guard out of Xavier. Needless to say, the Haywards and Babbitt got most of the attention. Crawford also went in the first round. I’m guessing that the Bucks took “the best player available here,” though I’s still not sure why that “best player available” isn’t Alabi.   I can’t find a profile of Alabi on Bucks Draft Central, so he must not have come in for a workout.
With their #44 pick from the Warriors (part of the Maggette trade, originally the Blazers pick) the Bucks ended up with Jerome Jordan, a 7-footer out of Tulsa. I guess that shoots the workout theory — the Bucks didn’t work Jordan or Alabi out. Maybe these 7-footers didn’t get around as much as some of the other guys, heat and humidity being what it’s been around here lately. For a minute or two there it looked like the Bucks had taken Gani Lawal, a power forward out of Ga. Tech.
Yahoo Analysis: Jerome Jordan is the rare example of a kid who stayed too long in college since he’d have been more likely to crack the first round had he left as an underclassman. Still, there is upside here if Jordan can diversify his game since the Tulsa big man has been playing basketball for only five years. — Jeff Eisenberg
He’s 7-feet tall. That’s two backup centers added to the fold in this draft. The Bucks have one more pick in this draft, believe it or not – four altogether. This ought to be interesting. It’s pick # 47, the only pick the Bucks have in this draft that was originally theirs.
Keith Keith “Tiny” Gallon – Oklahoma – Freshman
6’9” – 296 lbs – Forward

  • Finished fourth on the team with 10.3 points and first with 7.9 rebounds.
  • Hit 54.7 percent of his field goal attempts (122-223).
  • Attended Oak Hill Academy for his Junior and Senior years of high school.
Bucks workout notes here. Billy McKinney was fairly impressed with the entire group (Wayne Chism, Gani Lawal) that was in Milwaukee June 2 for a workout. But he seemed most impressed with the power forwards, who locked up on the blocks for some rugged matchups. It was exactly what the Bucks wanted to see.  It’s important to note that Gallon may have had the edge — he played high school ball with Brandon Jennings at Oak Hill Academy.
On Gani Lawal…
“He played well, too. It was a very competitive group, Gani Lawal going against Wayne Chism, sometimes Tiny Gallon and other times Deon Thompson. He’s very athletic, really good offensive rebounder and plays well off the ball.”

On Keith “Tiny” Gallon…
“Well that tells you a lot. It’s kind of an oxymoron when you look at Tiny he’s a big man. What I can say about him is that he’s done a great job of maintaining his weight, or getting it down. He started out, we talked to him in Chicago, he weighed 350 in high school. He’s down to 295 now, so his trend, in terms of his weight, has been going down. I’m sure once he gets with a pro team and is able to work with a strength and conditioning coach on a regular basis, he’s going to be even smaller. Maybe he’ll be Tiny, version two.”

And there you have it, Bucks draft day 2010.  Shotblocking Larry Sanders, small forward Hobson, big center Jerome Jordan and a big forward named Tiny Gallon.  Any draft day that ends with the Bucks having a guy with a wieght problem named Tiny Gallon has been a good day.

On Gallon making a name for himself aside from playing with Brandon Jennings in high school…
“That’s very important at this level for him. They played together at Oak Hill Academy for those people that don’t know that, and he and Brandon have a very good relationship, but in terms of how he will play in the pro game is going to depend on his merit—his work ethic, his commitment to keeping his weight down and improving his skill as a player.”

6 Responses to “Paint help: Bucks draft shotblocker Larry Sanders”

  1. Overall, a good draft, although I don’t understand picking Harrington and rumoring to trade Jordan when big men are the biggest needs.

  2. I meant to say Hobson.

  3. “Sold” Jordan to NY for cash considerations, is how its been put out there. I’m not sure the benefit of doing that either, though there may be something Hammond is working on that will be aided by doing the Knicks a favor now. Until that happens, we probably won’t know.

    I’d prefer to keep the 7-footer. Or draft Alabi, who was available when they Bucks drafted Hobson. Big men to help Bogut, I agree, were the biggest need.

    The thinking is that Hobson was the best player available after Terrico went to Detroit. Hobson was also the last player from that Haywards-Babbitt workout still on the board. (Terrico and Crawford (Xavier) were the other two guys.)

  4. Well, he’s gone. Makes no sense after all the great moves. I guess they’ll go after Jamaal Magloire or Ben Wallace.

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