Indiana Pacers: What is Domantas Sabonis’ ceiling?

Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Domantas Sabonis is the best player on the Indiana Pacers and one of the best offensive bigs in the NBA right now. At just 25 years old, there is a lot more in store for the two-time All-Star. What is the ceiling for one of the top big men in the league as things stand?

I think Domas is an incredible threat on the offensive end, which we all know, but there are still some limitations to his game. His inability to shoot consistently from deep will always hold him back from reaching the level of Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

What is the ceiling for Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis?

On the offensive end, we have already seen just how important and valuable Domas is for this team. He is constantly a double-double machine who is not afraid to pick up that triple-double, which he did in the first half against the Thunder. He is a remarkable lead-man in the offense that has the potential to be a top option in that regard.

Players like Jokic and Embiid also lead the offense but are legit threats as shooters from all over the floor, giving them a leg up on Domas. Jokic is also the best passing big in the NBA, and I would argue the best of all-time, so that’s never going to favor Domas either.

Defensively, we have seen just how much of a liability Sabonis can be at times. For now, it works for Indiana because Myles Turner is there to clean up the mistakes on defense but a two-center system just does not work, which we have also seen this season. While he has made some key plays on that end of the floor, Domas is simply not a quality defender by any means.

Like any player, there are limitations to Domas’ game that will keep him from being an all-time great but that should never be the expectation. He is still young and has the skillset on offense to be an absolute game-changer on that end throughout his career. While I do not think he will ever reach the level of Karl-Anthony Towns (at least his own ceiling), Nikola Jokic, or Joel Embiid on offense, Domas is still a very good center.

The question really comes down to “can you win a championship with Sabonis as your best player” and the answer is simply a no. We have not seen a center lead a team to a title in recent years because the NBA is predicated on having two-way wings and scoring guards, which the Pacers have been lacking.

If the Pacers can find a way to bring in a plus-level wing to pair with Sabonis and LeVert, then they will be in a very good spot, even if that means parting with Myles Turner. If you can keep Sabonis as the second option on offense, then things are trending in the right direction.

There are a lot of talented bigs in today’s NBA and many of them are capable of doing it on both ends of the floor. Until Domas proves he can do that, he will be a small step behind the others. But he is still a very good player and should stay in Indiana if the opportunity presents itself.

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