Not the old HBO sitcom starring Garry Shandling, which I never really found to be that funny but ultimately paved the way for similar real-life parody vehicles such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.
No, this is neither parody nor sitcom. It’s more of a reality show, and its star appears as serious as a heart attack about becoming a permanent resident of our Most Improved Player Rankings.
Sanders is the long, athletic forward-center of the Milwaukee Bucks. After two seasons highlighted primarily by an inability to control his temper, Sanders has been the best big man for the Bucks by far.
Granted, that unofficial title hasn’t been hard to claim, given the disappearing act of Ersan Ilyasova, the inactivity of Drew Gooden and the inconsistency of Ekpe Udoh, Samuel Dalembert and rookie John Henson. But Sanders has stepped forward.
A meaningless basket at the end of Friday’s loss to Minnesota gave Sanders a triple-double. When he was congratulated by his teammates. Sanders visibly appeared more concerned with the loss.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles offered him a starting spot the following night against Boston, which he refused, preferring to come off the bench. He responded with the best game of his career as Milwaukee rallied for a win.
“I embrace that role, coming off the bench and trying to provide energy, whether we are down or whether we are up. That’s where I plan on staying,” Sanders said.
Sanders can plan on staying in these rankings as well if he continues to manage his fouls better. He averaged nearly five fouls through his first 11 games but has just 10 in five games since.
Whether starts or comes off the bench, Sanders is putting on quite a show.
On to the rankings.