Domantas Sabonis gets recognition with sixth man, most improved vote

Domantas Sabonis Indiana Pacers (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Domantas Sabonis Indiana Pacers (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Domantas Sabonis represented the Indiana Pacers well during the NBA Awards ceremony, finishing sixth in Most Improved Player voting and second in Sixth Man of the Year.

While he didn’t take home any awards during Monday’s annual NBA Awards ceremony, Domantas Sabonis did receive some respect for his 2018-19 Indiana Pacers campaign in not one, but two categories.

It was already known that the backup big was a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award, and that he’d likely fall short to the quintessential sixth man Lou Williams.

The ceremony confirmed that fact, though Sabonis did finish in second place, ahead of fellow finalist Montrezl Harrell (who, for all intents and purposes, was a seventh man anyway).

He only received one first-place vote, though he easily cleared more second-place votes than Harrell, giving him 190 points and the runner-up crown.

What wasn’t quite as expected, though, was his showing in the Most Improved Player vote. Even after his monumental leap in his first season with the Indiana Pacers, Sabonis’ near double-double statline and incredibly efficient .630 TS% this year impressed voters enough to land him a sixth place finish.

The Lithuanian secured one second-place vote and seven third-place votes, giving him 10 points and edging out Harrell once again.

It should also be noted that Bojan Bogdanovic, who took a huge step forward in the absence of Victor Oladipo this season, didn’t go unnoticed either, grabbing a couple of third-place votes to make an appearance on the list.

While it’s disappointing (but not surprising) that Sabonis couldn’t take home any award, the votes he received are a nice bookend to an excellent season with Indiana. His year was celebrated via a Twitter GIF thread from the Pacers’ account earlier in the day:

This may be the last year Sabonis is eligible for the award, based on recent comments from Kevin Pritchard about a Myles Turner and Domas frontcourt duo next season. He could be another breakout away from being the next Pacers Most Improved Player, though, and increased minutes definitely wouldn’t hurt the cause.

Next. Victor Oladipo’s timeline for return puts free agency into focus for Pacers. dark

Either way, Sabonis put together a great season of basketball, and tonight was just another affirmation of that fact. All signs point to year four being another great step in his young NBA career.