On Saturday night, Larry Sanders made his debut for the Canton Charge in their game against the Windy City Bull . The Charge won their home finale 104-101, but Sanders didn’t have the game that many would expect. In just 11 minutes, Sanders put up two point, three blocks and five fouls on 0-2 from the field and 2-4 from the free throw line. Despite those initial struggles Sanders making a return to the NBA is certainly a heartwarming story-line.
Back on January 26, Sanders announced he would return to play basketball after making a decision to leave just two years prior in February 2015. Around that time in an essay for The Players Tribune, Sanders stated “if I get to a point where I feel I’m capable of of playing basketball again, then I will.” So it’s assumed this year he felt it was time to return to his love after he got himself together.
It wasn’t his best game, but it was pretty obvious that he’s knocking the rust off and will be much better in the future. While Sanders tabulated five fouls in just eleven minutes, he showed some of the same defensive flashes that allowed him to be a rising star when he was in Milwaukee. While he clearly showed signs of rust, Sanders will have an opportunity to stay with the Charge to get back into basketball shape.
As he tries to get back in basketball shape, Sanders’ main priority will be to help the Charge out on the defensive end. Going back to his days in Milwaukee, Sanders has stood as one of the best defensive bigs in basketball due to the combination of mobility and great defensive instincts. By working alongside potential NBADL Defensive Player of the Year Eric Moreland, Sanders should allow the Charge to maintain the best defensive front-court in the NBA D-League.
On the offensive end, Sanders will need time to just get back in the rhythm of working in an offense. During that game against Windy City, Sanders just looked lost as he was unable to really find pick-and-roll chemistry with Canton’s backcourt players. Again, Sanders just played eleven minutes so it is hard to gauge what he can fully contribute to the team.
With the regular season coming to a close, Sanders can push the Canton Charge to compete with Raptors 905 and the Maine Red Claws as being the best team in the NBA D-League . If he can bring his fantastic defense and cut down on the fouls, Sanders could definitely help the Canton Charge win their first D-League championship title since 2006.
It will be interesting to see how Sanders will perform with Canton as he looks to get back in basketball shape. While he showcased some struggles during his first game, with much practice and getting acclimated with the game again, Larry Sanders should be a force in the D-League.