Domantas Sabonis has dominated on offense for the Pacers
Domantas Sabonis takes the second-most shots on the Indiana Pacers this year. Given that, it’s extremely important for fans to be aware of his offensive game. Where are his shots coming from? What areas on the floor is he proficient in? Should they be worried about low percentage shots he’s taking?
Let’s dive into some of those questions.
While Malcolm Brogdon’s evolution as a shooter is a bit more straightforward to explain, Sabonis has taken on an adjusted shot profile this year as well.
Sabonis attempts a higher volume of his shots at the rim and from beyond the arc this year. He has traded in shots from the 3 foot to 10 foot range on the floor so that more of his offense can be focused on these two areas.
While the Pacers themselves don’t focus their entire offense on the modern “rim, 3-point, or bust” offense that some teams like the Houston Rockets do, they have a microcosm of it in how they ask Sabonis to operate.
To understand Sabonis’s shot makeup, one must first understand Myles Turner.
I wrote a breakdown on Turner’s shot profile the other day and a more extensive look at the Turbonis frontcourt and why it’s worth not giving up on yet, but the shortened version of each is that Turner is a better 3-point shooter and therefore should take more shots from deep to allow Sabonis space on the interior to score inside.
Sabonis has attempted 51.1 percent (up from 49.1 percent last year) of his shots within three feet of the rim and scored on 68.6 percent of those attempts.
Though it is Turner that is tasked more with 3-point shooting between the pair, Sabonis takes threes as well. 7.9 percent of his shots are from beyond the arc (up from 2.4 percent last year, more than triple his previous rate) but he sinks just 25.4 percent of them.
Though it is a painfully low percentage, it’s OK. It spaces the floor and keeps the defense honest if he simply attempts a three once in a while. The major plummet in accuracy is largely due to him taking fewer wide-open 3-pointers this year.
Sabonis has an underrated mid-range game. 13.8 percent of his shots come from the mid-range (16 feet out until the 3-point arc) where he hits 48.7 percent of his shots.
I think this should be an encouragement for Pacers fans and a signal that Sabonis is extending his range and could at some point roll out a more consistently accurate 3-pointer. While he should never go back to the way he was as a Thunder rookie (31.1 percent of his shots were from beyond the arc) he may be able to convert on more of his 3-point attempts and further diversify his game.
Most of his 3-pointers come above the break, and he’s most comfortable from the left side of the hoop. His mid-range attempts often come above the key, though, showing promise for his potential to hit threes from the top of the 3-point line.
That range very well could be extending, though it doesn’t necessarily need to with Turner operating as the range man in the frontcourt.
Sabonis has taken on a more subtle evolution with his offense under the direction of the coaching staff this season. Since it’s right in line with his physical attributes, he’s been able to take advantage and become one of the team’s leading scorers.