Larry Sanders Season Breakdown: 2021 Defensive Player of the Year
By BIG3 October 26, 2021
Larry Sanders takes home Defensive Player of the Year After a Strong End to the Season
The 6’11” Forward/Center was a key piece to Tri-State finishing at the top of the regular season standings. Without a go-to player on offense responsible for all their points, Tri-State relied on strong defense from the whole team led by the big man down low.
As the most dominant rim protector in the BIG3 this season, Sanders’ season stats don’t jump off the page with five steals and three blocks, but his impact around the rim affecting shots is where he thrives.
“Larry Sanders is absolutely amazing, the best weak side defender. Once you make a move he’s rotating to block your shot. He has not only blocked your shot, he has broken your heart and Larry Sanders makes coaches like me look like defensive geniuses because of what he can do,” Power coach Nancy Lieberman said.
Tri-State finished the regular season at the top of the standings based on point differential. The +52 differential came from strong defense down the stretch of the season. Sanders had two big blocks against Killer 3’s in the week 7 win for Tri-State. He finished the week 7 contest with 10 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks.
Sanders had his most important defensive efforts of the season in the two weeks it mattered most for Tri-State. In week 7 and 8 Tri-State gave up an average of 36.5 points in the two wins that put them on top of the standings. In the week 8 game that put Tri-State at the top of the standings Sanders had 14 points, three rebounds, two steals and one block, making his week 8 performance his best game of the season.
In the final two weeks of the season Sanders averaged five defensive rebounds per game on the way to the playoffs. Even though Sanders split playing time with Earl Clark, he made a strong impression on his teammates and opponents in the time he spent on the court collecting boards and blocking shots.
As a co-captain of Tri-State, Larry Sanders will look to build on his strong 2021 season in 2022.
Sanders joins the list of James White, Chris Andersen, and Amar’e Stoudemire as players who have taken home BIG3 Defensive Player of the Year honors.