Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders fully accepts the responsibility of becoming the face of the franchise after the organization made him the highest paid player on the team. He will be the first to admit that he has plenty of work to do before he can be considered the team’s top leader. However, the good news is the 24-year-old plans to do everything it takes to lead the Bucks to many victories over the next several years.
Sanders believes he showed signs of being a leader last season. With that being said, he knows he can do so much more as he is is very excited to take it to the next level in 2013-14.
“I’d say I made strides in that direction last year and I want to keep building on that,” Sanders said, according to Bucks.com. “I’m not the ultimate leader, but that’s my goal. I’m going to keep working toward that and stay in these young guys’ ears constantly. I remember being in their position like it was yesterday. We have to get everybody on the same page.”
Sanders showed he is capable of being the emotional leader of the team after an incident during the playoffs last season. Sanders’ frustration boiled over after Milwaukee’s Game 3 postseason loss to the Miami Heat, which forced him to give a speech in the locker room in an attempt to inspire his team to raise their level of play.
“We need to start playing together as a team and stop worrying about next year,” Sanders said according to a CBSSports source. “We need to stop being selfish and start worrying about right now.”
Monta Ellis, who was a free agent after the season, took what Sanders said personally and engaged in a verbal battle. The two had to be separated by a teammate.
Sanders understands that he must lead by example in order for the rest of the players to follow in his footsteps. He also gets that the team chemistry must start now. The players cannot wait until halfway through the regular season to decide that they want to begin playing on the same page.
“Unity isn’t something that should be addressed in the playoffs,” Sanders told Bucks.com. “It should be addressed in the preseason, before we ever play a regular-season game. And everything will be ironed out. You go through situations and learn from them. You learn how to handle situations and how to do things better. I think we learned a couple things the last couple of years. We need to put those things in action and hopefully be successful.”