Myles Turner Vs. Domantas Sabonis: Who is more vital to the Indiana Pacers?

Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis – (Photo by Leon Halip/Leon Halip) /

Domantas Sabonis is obviously very good, but it’s time to see if his long-term potential shines as bright as his Indiana Pacers partner-in-crime Myles Turner.

Offensive Value and Impact Score: 3/5

Before you click away from this article, this score is very justifiable and seems to be just right, here’s why: We talked about how valuable spacing is in today’s NBA, and Sabonis is still far from a league-average three-point shooter.

Statistically, his shooting is still far from a finished project, as he’s only throwing up around 2.6 attempts a game at a 30% clip. My main problem is that Sabonis is still hesitant to shoot them, which can really diminish the utility of the reps he’s actually getting.

As a player who is so interior-dominated and foul-reliant, Sabonis can be easily taken out of games when schemed against or on nights where he isn’t getting calls. Again, it’d help if he could hit jump shots for spacing and versatility, but his mid-range isn’t even there this year.

Admittedly, his passing adds a lot of value, and Sabonis’ feel for the game is second to maybe only Jokic at his position, and his six assists a game adds a dynamic to his arsenal that opens up a lot for the offense. He beautifully hits the shooter in stride and rarely misses a well-timed cut. It’s very hard to find bigs that can actually pass players open, and Domas is one of those rarities.

It’s just hard to envision Sabonis as being more than the second option on a contending team. Despite having a 24% usage rate and plenty of scoring opportunities, Domantas’ points per game haven’t gone up sizably. If Sabonis isn’t your lead guy, it’ll be schematically awkward to plan him into your offense, unless you have an otherworldly superstar-level off-ball player, and those are incredibly rare.

His advanced stats aren’t great either, his offensive LEBRON is a measly .40, his offensive RAPTOR is a disappointing -0.8. These stats really highlight just how counterproductive Sabonis can be in a modern offense.

Defensive Value and Impact Score: 1/5

Domantas Sabonis has been pretty bad defensively this year, and quite honestly his whole career has been that way. His limited wingspan and verticality really slow down the Gonzaga Alumni from being honestly useable defensively at times.

It’s a red alert time when Goga or Turner are off the floor, as the other team begins what can best be described as a layup line drill on Indy without any real rim protection. Sure he’s strong physically, but how many bruisers are in the NBA anyway besides Embiid?

Sabonis grabbing almost nine defensive rebounds a game is his saving grace, as he can at least end opposing possessions in some way.

Domas’s defensive RAPTOR is -0.3 (somehow better than his offense still), and his LEBRON is a 1.26. I’m assuming the aforementioned rebounds are helping these out a bit, but unless you’re a Jokic or KAT level offensive player, it’s really hard on a team to play a big with defensive shortcomings like this.