Fans and OKC brass wondered how the VCU legend would bounce back after over nine months of rehab, and so far all signs point to an extraordinary recovery.
After a rusty 5-of-18 from the floor in his first two games, Maynor is starting to look like the point guard of old, averaging 9.5 points and six assists while shooting 60% from the floor in just 20 minutes of play over his last two.
OKC head coach Scott Skiles has said Maynor will compete for his backup point guard position with 2011 first-rounder Reggie Jackson. But if Maynor continues to improve and show the steady hand and change of pace he provided in his first three seasons with the Thunder, Mr. October will be watching a lot of both Russell Westbrook AND Maynor from the sidelines this season.
Like Maynor, Larry Sanders has shown great improvement this preseason. The former VCU big man has shown flashes as a pro, but has often gotten outside of his paint-dominating style that got him to the NBA in the first place.
Sanders saw his minutes and points dip from his rookie to sophomore NBA season, and has been forced to reevaluate his style as the Bucks have added a stable of bigs to this year’s roster. Considered one of the top two options at the center position this season, Sanders has displayed a renewed focus on his pace and positioning this preseason.
Averaging 7.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks, Sanders’ numbers are up across the board from his previous preseasons, and his 50% field goal average is the best it’s been in his career. Sanders is expected to compete for the starting spot with 11-year pro Samuel Dalembert with Joel Przybilla coming off the bench when needed.
Healthy and productive versions of Sanders and Maynor are a welcome site for Ram fans looking for an NBA fix in between VCU games. And if the preseason is any indicator of things to come, there could be a lot of hoops entertainment tipping up this fall for fans of VCU basketball.