Rik Smits, a top Indiana Pacers player of all time, said that Domantas Sabonis is his favorite player on the current roster. We can relate.
Rik Smits is a top-10 Indiana Pacers player of all-time. Depending on who you ask, he might be top-five or even top-three. We have him ranked pretty high-up in our list of the 30 greatest Pacers of all time.
On Friday afternoon on the Pacers official Twitter account, Smits joined us all to answer some questions from fans about what he’s up to today, some of his favorite moments of all-time, and to provide his perspective on the modern game of basketball as we know it.
One of the things he was asked was who his favorite current Indiana Pacers player is. His answer won’t surprise you that much.
We have to agree, Domantas Sabonis has been the MVP of the Pacers this year and was the team’s lone All-Star selection for the game in February. His impact has been clear and his insertion into the starting lineup has been successful.
Averaging 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game, he ranks second in points and assists and first in rebounds per game. He has the team’s highest PER, VORP, and BPM.
Sabonis was given a large contract extension prior to the season starting. While some players tend to shy away once they get the big bucks, Sabonis leaned into his newfound role in the starting lineup along with fellow big man Myles Turner.
Smits, a big man himself, averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game in his 12-year career with the Pacers. While he only made the All-Star team once, he is well respected as a lifelong Pacer and sits at second (behind just Reggie Miller) on the leaderboard for total points and third (behind Mel Daniels and Del Davis) for total rebounds.
Sabonis could likely learn a lot from Smits!
During his Q&A segment with Pacers fans on Twitter, Smits noted that Indiana always felt like home to him and said he was most comfortable with the Pacers. He reminisced about a deep-sea fishing trip he and the team took in Miami, and mentioned Dirk Nowitzki as the best European player (someone Myles Turner shouted out on a recent question and answer session of his own) and Kristaps Porzingis as the player that most reminds him of himself.
As far as how he would fare in the NBA today? Smits thinks he would have done well, but only if he could have stayed out of foul trouble. To this day, Smits holds the franchise record for total fouls (3,011).