Domantas Sabonis can play and it won’t take long for the rest of the league to notice what the Indiana Pacers have found.
After just one year in the league, Sabonis was already being considered by some to be a bust. The 11th pick in last years draft who started 66 games on a playoff team was simply a throw-in.
Despite the labels, Domas is showing Indy who he really is. A tough, strong interior presence with good skill and touch for a big man. These are the characteristics that led Domas to be the 11th pick of the draft.
Sabonis could turn into a force for the new look Pacers
Oklahoma City and Billy Donovan chose to use Domantas as a stretch 4. A typical new age floor spacing big man who usually only shot the ball when it was too obvious not to.
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This move made sense for what OKC was trying to do but it forced Sabonis out of his element as a player. Victor Oladipo was in a similar situation at his position, but it was easier to make things work for him as a guard than Sabonis could as a big man.
In the Post
Although Sabonis has plenty of skill for a big man his calling is inside the arc for now. The Gonzaga product is rugged in the middle, eating up rebounds and second-chance buckets. Not only is he tough down low, he is incredibly crafty around the basket. Domas has a polished, old-school game inside 10 feet. He can go to a variety of moves including baby hooks, up and unders and a nice short jump shot as well.
Although he is polished for a second-year player he is not a finished product by any means. This is one of the reasons Kevin Pritchard chose to retain Al Jefferson. Big Al is one of the greatest low post scorers of all time and should help Sabonis tremendously in their time together.
Pick and Roll plays
As he transitions even more of his potential in the post to production, Sabonis could turn into a go-to low post scorer. But, where Domantas really stands out is pick and roll plays, especially when the second unit is on the floor.
By now it’s no secret that he and Lance have already established some chemistry.
This connection often shows as Lance calls Sabonis to the top of the key for a screen. Sabonis typically sets a solid screen but where he excels is after. Domas is almost always in the right place. Whether it’s a quick drive to the rim or a pop for a smooth 15-foot jumper, he tends to be where the defense is not.
Sabonis has the ability to bring down a hard left-handed slam or fade to a mid-range jump shot on any pick and roll play. His skill and savvy out of pick and roll sets will continue to make him a tough cover.
Sabonis could find himself wearing blue and gold for quite a while
This feel for the game is something that usually does not show up for young guys, you either have it or you don’t. As inexperienced players get time on the court they become more comfortable thus the game “slows down”. So for Domas to have this feel at only 21 years of age is a valuable tool for a young player.
Although Sabonis is only a rotational player right now. Domas has potential to eventually be a solid starter in this league and maybe even more than that.