Bucks vs. Raptors Preview: Larry Sanders not with team as Milwaukee looks to snap skid in Toronto

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Sanders is expected back on Thursday when the Bucks visit the Bobcats.

2012/2013 NBA Preseason
Mil
2-3 (1-2 road)
@
Tor
3-1 (3-0 home)
October 22, 2012
Air Canada Centre | Toronto
6:00 PM Central
NBA TV / 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Jennings PG Kyle Lowry
Monta Ellis SG DeMar DeRozan
Tobias Harris SF Landry Fields
Ersan Ilyasova PF Andrea Bargnani
Samuel Dalembert C Jonas Valanciunas

Larry Sanders not with team due to "conduct issue." No Buck has helped himself more over the past month than Larry Sanders, which makes it all the more surprising to hear that he will be held out of tonight's game due to what Scott Skiles has referred to as a "team conduct issue." The Bucks were mum on what exactly that means other than to say that he would be back for Thursday's game against the Bobcats, so I suppose that's the good news.

Charles Gardner cited Sanders' tussle with Jan Vesely and arguing with officials in Saturday night's game against the Wizards as a potential source of the Bucks' displeasure, though it could also be as simple as a missed meeting. Who knows.

Recall that Sanders had more than his fair share of combustible moments on the court late last season, so hopefully this is just a preemptive measure by the Bucks to remind Sanders to keep it cool (or show up to meetings,...or whatever). Either way, it won't help Sanders' chances at stealing the opening night starting center gig from Samuel Dalembert, though Skiles suggested that the coaching staff has yet to make a final determination on the starting center and small forward slots.

"We haven't made a final decision but definitely leaning in the direction of Ersan up front," Skiles said. "We're fortunate enough to have multiple options to choose from (at center and small forward) and we'll just make the best decision we can when the time comes."

Aside from Saturday's game, Tobias Harris has been fairly solid at small forward and has to date started all five preseason games, so it would be a bit surprising to see Skiles go in a different direction at this point. After all, it's not as though the starting spot guarantees 30 minutes of playing time--I'm still expecting to see Mike Dunleavy closing out games until further notice. But if Skiles is serious about changing things up, I'd expect to see him give Dunleavy (or would he actually consider Daniels?) a start tonight or Thursday. The time for experimentation is running short.

As for center, I'd have to guess Dalembert's track record and superior rebounding will earn him a starting spot, but stranger things have happened. Dalembert doesn't exactly look like he's in the best shape of his life right now, so that might have something to do with his spot still technically being up for grabs.

A preseason game that's on TV! Tonight's game will be carried nationally on NBA TV, so no excuses for missing this one (though I'll be DVR'ing).

My name is Jonas. Raptor fans are plenty excited about rookie big man Jonas Valanciunas, and the enormous Lithuanian has provided plenty of promising moments in his first training camp to keep expectations sky-high. While his stats aren't eye-popping (6.5 pts, 6.5 rebs, 1.5 bpg, 52.8% shooting, 22 mpg) they're quietly very efficient--especially when you consider that Valanciunas only turned 20 in May.

Raps fans are hoping that Valanciunas' rugged interior presence will finally provide Toronto the appropriate foil to gunner/defensive pushover Andrea Bargnani, The Italian has struggled with his shot so far in preseason play (33.3%) but has also been limited by a calf injury.

Brandon's shot. You know how we always talk about how nice it would be for Brandon Jennings to start hitting threes at a clip resembling his rookie year (37%)? Well, through five games he's stroked 12/23 for a very healthy .466/.522/.933 shooting line. Preseason caveats aside, that's a good thing.

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