What is the ceiling for Pacers’ rising star Domantas Sabonis?
Simply put, Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis is one of the most underrated players in the NBA today. He’s come a long way from his sub-par rookie season in Oklahoma City and has blossomed into a player that, at only 23 years old, gives his team a double-double on a night to night basis.
Every year, the former Gonzaga big man has increased his scoring, rebounding and assists numbers. This season, his first season as an every-night starter for the Pacers, Sabonis is putting up 18.4 points, 13.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. What other player player puts up 18, 13 and 4 while shooting over 50 percent and gets talked about less than Sabonis? I certainly can’t think of anyone
Disrespect aside, if Sabonis keeps playing like this, more and more people will start to notice. Sure his numbers might take a dip once Victor Oladipo returns from injury but either way, the 6-foot-11, 240-pound big man is one of the best power forwards/centers in the NBA.
He’s not a very good rim protector and he hasn’t developed much of a three point shot yet but if you’re that dominate on the boards and as a scorer, it shouldn’t matter too much. Plus, Sabonis is shooting an impressive 60.6 percent on shots between 16 and 23 feet so he certainly has the skills to develop an outside shot as his career progress and has frontcourt mate Myles Turner to clean up his defensive mishaps
So, since Sabonis is only 23 and in just his fourth NBA season, how high is the ceiling for the former No. 11 overall pick.
When I was thinking of comparisons for Sabonis, the first person to come to mind is Celtics center Enes Kanter. Before people start going off in the comments, I just want to say that I think Sabonis will be a better player than Kanter ever will be/was.
With that being said, the comparison can be made. Both players are tenacious, active rebounders with excellent offensive skillsets but not a ton of potential as a shot blocker. In his best statistical full season, Kanter was able to put up about 14 points and 11 rebounds as a member of the Knicks in 2017.
Sabonis is already past that and has much more room to grow. Sabonis is a much better facilitator and has a better shot for sure.
I’m not saying Sabonis is a future MVP candidate, but if he gets selected for the All-Star game this year like I predict he will, I would bet on it not being his last.
The Pacers exactly a big market team so I think it’s safe to say Sabonis will stay a little bit underrated as long as he’s there. At the same time, he’s putting the rest of the league on notice right now and if he continues with the path of improvement he has been, he’s not someone I would want to gameplan for if I was the opposing coach.
As he begins to reach his “prime” id expect Sabonis to average a bit over 20 points and four assists all while continuing to be one of the NBA’s premier rebounders.
I’m expecting at least a few All-Star game appearances in his future and wouldn’t be surprised to see him on All-NBA team one day in the future. Maybe that’s a bit of a reach and maybe i’m giving him too much credit for his performance through just 18 games this season but Sabonis looks like an absolute star this year and i’m not expecting him to slow down any time soon.