ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Larry Sanders has been studying his playbook.
The Milwaukee Bucks center is learning a new system after spending his first three pro seasons under coaches Scott Skiles and Jim Boylan.
Now it's time to comprehend defense, Larry Drew-style.
"Sometimes it's less work; sometimes it's more work," Sanders said after Friday's practice session at the Cousins Center. "It's just an adjustment.
"Different schemes, but they're simple. It's just a lot of them. And we're taking the time to learn them. Coach is being patient with us, understanding we come from a different system and incorporating what we already know into the system now."
Only one player on the 15-man Bucks roster has played under Drew's system: veteran center Zaza Pachulia, who was with Drew the past eight years in Atlanta (three with Drew as head coach).
"There's been a whole lot of teaching going on," Drew said. "They're starting to pick it up. I think we're in a pretty good place after a week's practice.
"We've got a couple guys that are a little banged up. We went a little longer today. I think it will make a little more sense to let these guys mend and get their legs back."
So Drew canceled the team's second practice session Friday and told the players to rest before last Saturday's open scrimmage.
Of course he wouldn't mind if the players used that time to do some extra homework.
"I can tell they're doing a lot of thinking instead of reacting," Drew said. "But we'll get to the point where they're just reacting to everything we do and they know exactly what we're doing."
Drew said he hasn't put in much offense yet because he concentrated on the defensive schemes during the first week.
"It just takes time, working on all of them and drilling all of them," said new Bucks point guard Brandon Knight. "But it's not confusing once you get down and do it. It's just going to take a little bit of repetition."
Following the scrimmage, Drew took a break before walking through a number of his defensive sets.
"The calls for showing or zoning are different," Knight said. "Numbers and colors, so you've got to get used to that."
The 21-year-old Knight already has made an impression on his new coach after just four days of practice.
"I think he's a terrific player," Drew said. "He's strong and he can really defend. He gives us such a weapon on the floor because he wants to be good defensively.
"He's strong. He's still learning. We'll try to get him better and better each day."
Drew likes Knight's willingness to fight through screens, something the former Kentucky guard has learned is essential.
"I think a lot of young players when they get to the NBA, they die on a lot of screens," Knight said. "They're not used to guys stepping up and hitting them on screens.
"It took time for me to get better at that but it's something I know I'm good at now. It's a mind-set but a lot of it is technique. If you don't have the right technique you're going to get hit by screens."
Sanders said he believes the players can adapt fairly quickly to Drew's system.
"There's more showing for the big (man); you have to be a little more active on the perimeter," Sanders said.
"Being able to show on the screen and get back and affect the play is huge. We have a number of guys who can do that. It's just showing and rushing back to the paint, hands high, deflecting balls."
Earlier in the week Drew set a goal of 43 percent for defensive field goal percentage, a number that if achieved would put the Bucks among the elite defenses in the league.
"I have a color system and I have a number system and they have to learn that," Drew said. "I know it can be confusing at times.
"It calls for all five guys to be on a string when we call for a certain defense. Offensively, guys seem to know when it's their shot. We haven't put a whole lot of offensive stuff in. I've really been trying to focus on the defensive stuff and then we'll start slowly adding some offensive things."
Drew said the Bucks have the luxury of talented shot-blockers in Sanders and second-year forward John Henson.
"You've got two fly-swatters back there," Drew said. "But I don't look at it as having margin for error.
"We don't want to put those guys in a position where they can pick up a foul. It's nice to have that behind you. But in our perimeter defense, we want to treat it as if there's no help back there.
"If we defend in that mind-set, we'll do a much more efficient job in trying to keep the basketball in front of us."
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