Big man Larry Sanders has been missing in action since the 2014-2015 season. For whatever reasons, Sanders stepped away from the game and pursued other things that life had to offer. But just like Mase decided to come back, Sanders has decided it is time to step on the court again. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Sanders have agreed to a contract that will keep him in Cleveland the rest of the season and next season as well.
No one knows what is going on with Sanders these days and we will find out soon enough. But when he was on the court, Sanders definitely made an impact. He was an athletic seven-footer with the ability to affect the game. On the offensive end, he was limited but effective. You could throw the basketball anywhere near the rim and he would catch it and finish it. His impact was limited offensively, but it was huge on the defensive end. Sanders explosive leaping ability allowed for him to wait to the precise time to jump up and block a shot. With that type of ability, he was able to start the fast break for his team and help get them easy points. So with those skills, how does he translate to the Cavaliers? One thing he will give the Cavaliers is some more size. The Cavs are currently using Richard Jefferson, LeBron James and Derrick Williams at the power forward position and Tristian Thompson and Channing Frye at the center position. With the addition of Sanders, that would allow them to get bigger up front and add some athleticism and depth off their bench. On the defensive end, that would give the Cavs a shot-blocker that they need and offensively, the Cavs would add another guy that pursues the basketball like Tristian Thompson.
Sanders seems like a perfect addition to the Cavaliers team. But unfortunately, there is a reason that Sanders was available. Sanders has had issues with staying on the court and no, those issues do not have anything to do with injuries. The athletic center has gone as far as to get suspended ten games back in 2015 for a violating the terms of the NBA/NBAPA anti-drug program. He has been gone from the NBA for a few years, so there is no telling if he has kicked his habit or not. If he has, then the Cavs don’t have much to worry about there. But if he hasn’t, then the Cavs are in for an interesting ride. Whatever the case may be, hopefully, Sanders has that situation under control so he can be a consistent contributor for this team. One other thing to pay attention to is how quickly he can get into game shape. Along with not playing basketball comes the loss of basketball-playing shape. While you can exercise and do all the things you want to stay in shape, nothing can prepare you for the adrenaline that pumps through your veins as you play. Sanders is going to need some time to adjust and it is reported that he will start to play down in the NBA D-League as he gets himself prepared to come back officially to the NBA. Whether he can adjust mentally and physically and keep himself in a good place is something that Cleveland and fans alike will be keeping an eye on.
The Cavs needed another big man after losing Andrew Bogut one minute into his debut with the team. Larry Sanders was available and looking for another chance. With this signing, the Cavaliers are taking a chance on someone that has been away from the game. But even with that, Sanders has the ability to help this team. But him just being there and him actually helping the team are two different things. Sanders is getting his second chance and it will be up to him to take advantage of it. The Cavs sure hope he is hungry after being given this opportunity because they need his services.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Cubs and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.