The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Larry Sanders, the 15th overall pick in last year's draft, to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Sanders has appeared in 35 games for the Bucks this year, averaging four points and three rebounds a game in just under 14 minutes. It's been an up-and-down rookie year so far for Sanders, who started eight games while Milwaukee's frontcourt was thin due to numerous injuries, only to find himself saddled with various ailments a short while later. Sanders has looked admittedly raw during much of his court time, but his eight blocks against the Denver Nuggets on December 1st showed the kind of defensive ability he possesses. Hopefully he'll see consistent playing time with Fort Wayne and make some improvements on his promising skills.
The Mad Ants are the official D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks. They are currently sitting in third place in the D-League Eastern Conference, which, perhaps predictably, appears to be the much weaker conference. Sanders should be one of the more well-known members of the roster upon his arrival, although Tennessee-alum Wayne Chism and Purdue-alum (and pre-season Buck) Chris Kramer also earn some name recognition. If you'd like to know more about the team, check out their website.
Sanders is the first Buck to be sent down since Joe Alexander was exiled to Fort Wayne a year ago, a move that was more about keeping Alexander out of the way than investing in his future--remember that the Bucks had already declined Alexander's third year option and traded him in the John Salmons deal shortly thereafter. The move is less of an indictment of Sanders, who could use the seasoning and presumably will be back with the big club at some point in the near future. But while it makes some sense for Sanders' long-term development, it seems a bit odd that the Bucks would be comfortable with just Jon Brockman and Ersan Ilyasova available to spell Andrew Bogut in the pivot, especially given the continued lack of certainty around Drew Gooden's health.