The Milwaukee Bucks have signed center Larry Sanders to a four-year contract extension.
Sanders reported the news himself via Twitter:
It's official..can't believe I've been granted this opportunity to represent Milwaukee for the next 5… http://t.co/4843aAjc0K— Nappy G. (@LarrySanders) August 20, 2013
Sanders was drafted by the Bucks with the 15th overall selection in the 2010 NBA draft. After receiving limited playing time in each of his first two seasons, he enjoyed a breakout 2012-13 campaign, establishing himself as a key piece of the team's frontline.
The VCU product averaged 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and blocking nearly three shots per game. He put up those numbers despite playing just 27 minutes per contest.
Now that Milwaukee has made the long-term commitment, he's likely to receiver more minutes next year, which means he has a good chance at averaging a double-double.
The Bucks barely squeaked into the playoffs last season despite a sub-.500 record. They were easily dispatched by the eventual champion Miami Heat in the opening round. It showed they have a lot of roster building to do before they become contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Locking down their young players is a key step in the process. The 24-year-old Sanders certainly qualifies, as he continues his development.
Over time, a formidable frontcourt should develop in Milwaukee. Along with Sanders, the team has a strong, young foundation featuring John Henson, who showed flashes during his rookie season, and Ersan Ilyasova.
Of the trio, Ilyasova is the oldest at 26. If the Bucks can keep them together, they should start trending in the right direction, which is likely why they wanted to get Sanders extended this offseason.
Even though some inherent risk is involved with dishing out a sizable extension to a player with only one solid season under his belt, it's worth taking the chance for Milwaukee.
There's a lack of dynamic post players in the league, and Sanders has the potential to become one over the next few seasons. The Bucks, or any team for that matter, can't allow those type of players to get away.
He made major strides last season. Expect him to continue his progession during the 2013-14 season, showing the Bucks made the right move.