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View Full Version : How good is Domantas Sabonis? What is his ceiling?



ewing
09-07-2019, 09:39 AM
I've been watching this guy since college and he has never disapointed. I think he is starting to get his due but I'm still not sure just how good he is and how good he can be. Thoughts?

JAZZNC
09-07-2019, 10:01 AM
Maybe a fringe All-Star a few years her and there. He's got a nice set of skills for today's game but I don't think he has a lot more room to get better as a player. He could shoot a few more 3s per game. But what he really needs is minutes. And I don't think he gets a lot with Turner around. I think if he got starters minutes he'd put up #s that would put him in contention for an All-Star nod at some point.

mrblisterdundee
09-07-2019, 10:04 AM
I've been watching this guy since college and he has never disapointed. I think he is starting to get his due but I'm still not sure just how good he is and how good he can be. Thoughts?

Sabonis needs to show more on the defensive side, or else he's Enes Kanter with some passing. He's not very impressive physically.

VCaintdead17
09-07-2019, 02:40 PM
Sabonis needs to show more on the defensive side, or else he's Enes Kanter with some passing. He's not very impressive physically.

??? Sabonis is vital to our defense.


In response to the question, I honestly think he could end up being better than Turner. But at the same time, he's absolutely a center, there's no way around it. Idk if him and Myles will work long term. I can see his peak being a 20 and 10 guy while being a plus defender and being one of the best passing bigs in the league. That kind of a player is a legit all star.

beasted86
09-07-2019, 03:28 PM
??? Sabonis is vital to our defense.


In response to the question, I honestly think he could end up being better than Turner. But at the same time, he's absolutely a center, there's no way around it. Idk if him and Myles will work long term. I can see his peak being a 20 and 10 guy while being a plus defender and being one of the best passing bigs in the league. That kind of a player is a legit all star.

He's a putrid shot blocker, horrible at hedging and recovering, and cannot switch on smaller players... Yet somehow "vital" to the defense?

Homers got homer.

He's another Vucevic. Fringe all-star, 3rd option type.

VCaintdead17
09-07-2019, 04:38 PM
He's a putrid shot blocker, horrible at hedging and recovering, and cannot switch on smaller players... Yet somehow "vital" to the defense?

Homers got homer.

He's another Vucevic. Fringe all-star, 3rd option type.

Yeah this is false. He's totally capable of rotation out to the perimeter on switches, and is a proficient PnR defender as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=C1SbDqPYIPE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF9gBBfEu9Y

He posted a positive DRPM this season, as well as a positive D-PIPM. His physicality and switching ability absolutely makes him an important piece of our defense. Not to mention the rim protection he provides. His OPP RIM FG% is around 80th percentile in the entire league.

He plays 25 mpg on the third best defense in the NBA, while sporting the 10th best Drtg in the NBA himself. The combination of footage, play by play analytics and team success all point to him being a high quality impact defender. How many Pacer games did you watch this year?

beasted86
09-07-2019, 06:14 PM
Most defensive stats are team based stats. Even still, those same stats when filtered as a starter paint a picture just how weak he is on that end (albeit a limited 5 game sample). The reason Turner continues to start over him is partly based on defensive need.

I watched probably 4 regular season games and 3 playoffs of Indiana last season and always thought they should cash in on him and trade him while some team out there is still fooled into believing he will be a core offensive piece for them under a starting role.

VCaintdead17
09-07-2019, 06:35 PM
Yeah you can draw zero conclusions from a five game sample size. D-PIPM and DRPM were literally designed to be independent of teammate performance, so they're definitely not a team based stat. You're really grasping at straws here, purposely ignoring the mountain of data and evidence that reflects his value for a few games he got maybe 5 more minutes of playing time. Myles and Sabonis only shared the court for 429 minutes this season, which averages out to about 5 mpg, so you can't act like Myles' defensive presence colors Sabonis's defensive numbers much at all.

Also, in regards to Myles, he gets more minutes than Sabonis because while Sabonis is a good defender, Myles is one of the best defenders in the league. So of course he's gonna start over him lol.

ewing
09-07-2019, 07:08 PM
Most defensive stats are team based stats. Even still, those same stats when filtered as a starter paint a picture just how weak he is on that end (albeit a limited 5 game sample). The reason Turner continues to start over him is partly based on defensive need.

I watched probably 4 regular season games and 3 playoffs of Indiana last season and always thought they should cash in on him and trade him while some team out there is still fooled into believing he will be a core offensive piece for them under a starting role.

This post convinced me of nothing


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ewing
09-07-2019, 07:10 PM
Yeah you can draw zero conclusions from a five game sample size. D-PIPM and DRPM were literally designed to be independent of teammate performance, so they're definitely not a team based stat. You're really grasping at straws here, purposely ignoring the mountain of data and evidence that reflects his value for a few games he got maybe 5 more minutes of playing time. Myles and Sabonis only shared the court for 429 minutes this season, which averages out to about 5 mpg, so you can't act like Myles' defensive presence colors Sabonis's defensive numbers much at all.

Also, in regards to Myles, he gets more minutes than Sabonis because while Sabonis is a good defender, Myles is one of the best defenders in the league. So of course he's gonna start over him lol.

Thanks VC. I think your posts have given me a clearly idea of what I think. I also think some guys are always going to call anyone white a bad defender.


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Scoots
09-07-2019, 07:21 PM
I had a draft crush on him, OKC were wasting him and I thought he turned that trade into a BIG win but people treated him like a throw in at the time.

I think his ceiling is all-star, but he needs to be playing more with the starters and 35 minutes a night to get there.

ewing
09-07-2019, 08:35 PM
I had a draft crush on him, OKC were wasting him and I thought he turned that trade into a BIG win but people treated him like a throw in at the time.

I think his ceiling is all-star, but he needs to be playing more with the starters and 35 minutes a night to get there.

Same I couldnít believe he fell as far as he did in the draft and didnít get why he seemed to get no respect


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JAZZNC
09-08-2019, 12:00 AM
I don't think that being a fringe AS player is an any way a bad thing. That's a great thing. I'll take as many of those as I can get!

MILLERHIGHLIFE
09-08-2019, 10:23 AM
Maybe a fringe All-Star a few years her and there. He's got a nice set of skills for today's game but I don't think he has a lot more room to get better as a player. He could shoot a few more 3s per game. But what he really needs is minutes. And I don't think he gets a lot with Turner around. I think if he got starters minutes he'd put up #s that would put him in contention for an All-Star nod at some point.

Aren't they gonna try some twin towers this season? But I agree if they only gonna share minutes at center. Something has to give eventually once both are paid handsomely.

Scoots
09-08-2019, 10:34 AM
I don't think that being a fringe AS player is an any way a bad thing. That's a great thing. I'll take as many of those as I can get!

I don't think anyone was arguing with you about that. The number of AS locks is always small.

IndyRealist
09-08-2019, 10:37 AM
Barring a breakout season from someone like Ingram, Sabonis is the 2nd best player of that draft class behind Ben Simmons (and coincidentally, Malcolm Brogdon is probably 3rd). I think he dropped in the draft because he has a throwback skillset that doesn't fit into today's NBA. He's slower, can't jump, doesn't really block shots, and can't shoot. What he excels at is being a below the rim, offensively skilled low post player with excellent passing skills. Most teams are only running one traditional big, and so they want a rim protector in that slot. Post offense simply isn't on their minds, despite the fact that a 60% 2pt FG shooter (Sabonis is 59%) is the equivalent of a 40% 3pt shooter, ignoring fouls.

It remains to be seen if the Pacers can run two bigs, which is the plan this season. Turner likes to shoot from outside so it's optimal on offense, but defensively we will be asking Sabonis to cover a lot on the perimeter.

Scoots
09-08-2019, 11:20 AM
Barring a breakout season from someone like Ingram, Sabonis is the 2nd best player of that draft class behind Ben Simmons (and coincidentally, Malcolm Brogdon is probably 3rd). I think he dropped in the draft because he has a throwback skillset that doesn't fit into today's NBA. He's slower, can't jump, doesn't really block shots, and can't shoot. What he excels at is being a below the rim, offensively skilled low post player with excellent passing skills. Most teams are only running one traditional big, and so they want a rim protector in that slot. Post offense simply isn't on their minds, despite the fact that a 60% 2pt FG shooter (Sabonis is 59%) is the equivalent of a 40% 3pt shooter, ignoring fouls.

It remains to be seen if the Pacers can run two bigs, which is the plan this season. Turner likes to shoot from outside so it's optimal on offense, but defensively we will be asking Sabonis to cover a lot on the perimeter.

The NBA is still behind on that front. A really smart hard playing big who doesn't block shots is a much bigger asset than a ball stopping shot blocker. The Warriors have been talking up Kevon Looney who is a less skilled version of Sabonis as an absolute key player for them ... and they really wanted Sabonis in that draft but couldn't find a trade to go get him.

Looney's shot is supposedly coming along, I assume Sabonis is working on his outside shot too.

IndyRealist
09-08-2019, 11:33 AM
The NBA is still behind on that front. A really smart hard playing big who doesn't block shots is a much bigger asset than a ball stopping shot blocker. The Warriors have been talking up Kevon Looney who is a less skilled version of Sabonis as an absolute key player for them ... and they really wanted Sabonis in that draft but couldn't find a trade to go get him.

Looney's shot is supposedly coming along, I assume Sabonis is working on his outside shot too.

I feel like outside shooting is what OKC tried to force him to do, which is why he was mediocre there. It takes away from all of his strengths, which are within 10ft of the basket. FWIW he's 50%+ on 3s, which only account for 2% of his shots.

hugepatsfan
09-08-2019, 12:28 PM
I think it's very tough to project his ceiling. Is he a player waiting to break out and thrive in a larger role or is he someone who maximizes his efficiency and production in a limited role that would get exposed with more responsibility?

He was a starter in OKC but the team situation wasn't right for him so not fair to judge him. In IND he's been terrific but he's done it as a reserve. He averages 4.7 fouls per 36 which seems pretty high. If he were a starting center going up against starting bigs and defending the rim against starting wings/guards driving more how would that impact him? Would he be more tentative and thus a worse defender? Not saying he doesn't play against starters but as a reserve he obviously avoid it at times.

As is often the case I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. From what I've seen I don't think he's a budding star. I think he's somewhat blocked in IND and could take on a bigger role but I think his efficiency and effectiveness would drop to an extent.

mrblisterdundee
09-08-2019, 12:45 PM
Thanks VC. I think your posts have given me a clearly idea of what I think. I also think some guys are always going to call anyone white a bad defender.

I said he needs to show more on defense, and he does. His limitations aren't about his whiteness. They're about his shorter arms, slower feet and lack of leap. If that's a more likely physical makeup of white people, then maybe there's a correlation.
Sabonis could be a decent center on another team, or if Indiana trades Turner, but you better have a really good defender next to him in the front court.

Scoots
09-08-2019, 12:59 PM
I feel like outside shooting is what OKC tried to force him to do, which is why he was mediocre there. It takes away from all of his strengths, which are within 10ft of the basket. FWIW he's 50%+ on 3s, which only account for 2% of his shots.

They also wanted him playing away from the basket because it was Adams' area, and he didn't get much chance to have the ball in his hands because of his teammates and the scheme he was in. It's not that they want his shooting to be a major part of the offense, but it's a powerful threat if a big can shoot at a decent percentage in the 15ft area.

ewing
09-08-2019, 02:08 PM
I said he needs to show more on defense, and he does. His limitations aren't about his whiteness. They're about his shorter arms, slower feet and lack of leap. If that's a more likely physical makeup of white people, then maybe there's a correlation.
Sabonis could be a decent center on another team, or if Indiana trades Turner, but you better have a really good defender next to him in the front court.

You called him Kanter with better passing.

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beasted86
09-08-2019, 05:45 PM
I said he needs to show more on defense, and he does. His limitations aren't about his whiteness. They're about his shorter arms, slower feet and lack of leap. If that's a more likely physical makeup of white people, then maybe there's a correlation.
Sabonis could be a decent center on another team, or if Indiana trades Turner, but you better have a really good defender next to him in the front court.

Maybe they are watching a different player than we are. Also a lot of people also believe good rebounder = good defender since defensive rebounding is part of that end.

There are multiple articles with videos outlining the obvious and many of the same points I made:
https://8points9seconds.com/2019/05/08/pacers-domantas-sabonis-myles-turner-pairing/amp/3/
https://8points9seconds.com/2017/07/27/love-hate-domantas-sabonis/
https://clutchpoints.com/3-improvements-domantas-sabonis-must-make-this-offseason-for-the-pacers/amp/

...but I guess he's secretly a stellar defender. I'm biased because he's white.

beasted86
09-08-2019, 05:47 PM
You called him Kanter with better passing.

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What wrong with that analysis?

ewing
09-08-2019, 06:17 PM
Maybe they are watching a different player than we are. Also a lot of people also believe good rebounder = good defender since defensive rebounding is part of that end.

There are multiple articles with videos outlining the obvious and many of the same points I made:
https://8points9seconds.com/2019/05/08/pacers-domantas-sabonis-myles-turner-pairing/amp/3/
https://8points9seconds.com/2017/07/27/love-hate-domantas-sabonis/
https://clutchpoints.com/3-improvements-domantas-sabonis-must-make-this-offseason-for-the-pacers/amp/

...but I guess he's secretly a stellar defender. I'm biased because he's white.

He a pretty good defender at the 5. You own articles talk about him having some trouble at the 4. Everyone on here has said that him and Turner together might not be the best match. What you are is no secret


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ewing
09-08-2019, 06:17 PM
What wrong with that analysis?

Kanter is a terrible defender that you wouldnít dream of playing at the 4


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VCaintdead17
09-08-2019, 07:16 PM
Maybe they are watching a different player than we are. Also a lot of people also believe good rebounder = good defender since defensive rebounding is part of that end.

There are multiple articles with videos outlining the obvious and many of the same points I made:
https://8points9seconds.com/2019/05/08/pacers-domantas-sabonis-myles-turner-pairing/amp/3/
https://8points9seconds.com/2017/07/27/love-hate-domantas-sabonis/
https://clutchpoints.com/3-improvements-domantas-sabonis-must-make-this-offseason-for-the-pacers/amp/

...but I guess he's secretly a stellar defender. I'm biased because he's white.

First article you linked is specifically about our defense when both Sabonis and Myles are on the court together, which, like I said, is about 5 minutes a game. Second article is from 2 years ago. Third article is about playing him at power forward.

No one said he's "secretly a stellar defender." He's a good defender, a plus on the floor, but not one of the best in the league. I could repeat all of the same evidence and footage driven points I've already made, but you can just go ahead and look at my previous post, which you seem to have conveniently ignored. You made a bad take and got called out for it man, just take the L.


Also, Kanter is one of the worst defensive bigs in the league, and regularly gets played off the court because of how much of a negative he is on that end. You're literally comparing him to the worst of the worst on defense. That's whats wrong with the comparison.

beasted86
09-08-2019, 07:18 PM
He a pretty good defender at the 5. You own articles talk about him having some trouble at the 4. Everyone on here has said that him and Turner together might not be the best match. What you are is no secret


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He's mediocre on defense as a whole, even at the 5. I'm not saying he's a complete turnstile on defense, but I also believe I can accurately dispute he is "vital" to the Pacers defense.

I also agree with the comment someone else posted that if you trade Turner, you need a top defensive PF next to Sabonis.

VCaintdead17
09-08-2019, 07:20 PM
You can't accurately dispute anything after admitting you only watched 3 or 4 Pacer games last season lol

beasted86
09-08-2019, 07:27 PM
First article you linked is specifically about our defense when both Sabonis and Myles are on the court together, which, like I said, is about 5 minutes a game. Second article is from 2 years ago. Third article is about playing him at power forward.

No one said he's "secretly a stellar defender." He's a good defender, a plus on the floor, but not one of the best in the league. I could repeat all of the same evidence and footage driven points I've already made, but you can just go ahead and look at my previous post, which you seem to have conveniently ignored. You made a bad take and got called out for it man, just take the L.


Also, Kanter is one of the worst defensive bigs in the league, and regularly gets played off the court because of how much of a negative he is on that end. You're literally comparing him to the worst of the worst on defense. That's whats wrong with the comparison.

What you did was took team, based defensive stats, and proprietary defensive stats that are not tracking based to make your case. Sorry, defense is not something that can be quantified through stats easily. There are far too many outliers. I always comfortably fall back on Steph Curry remaining an above average defender based on stats, including tracking stats, when reality is he's putrid.

"Take an L" lol. You think I'm in some competition about being right? Sorry bruh, I don't care about weirdos on the internet that much.

Sabonis is closer to Kanter, than a "good defender" as you suggest.

VCaintdead17
09-08-2019, 07:46 PM
What you did was took team, based defensive stats, and proprietary defensive stats that are not tracking based to make your case. Sorry, defense is not something that can be quantified through stats easily. There are far too many outliers. I always comfortably fall back on Steph Curry remaining an above average defender based on stats, including tracking stats, when reality is he's putrid.

"Take an L" lol. You think I'm in some competition about being right? Sorry bruh, I don't care about weirdos on the internet that much.

Sabonis is closer to Kanter, than a "good defender" as you suggest.

You might have a leg to stand on if you provided any kind of actual counterargument outside of "I watched 3 Pacer games and he was bad" or linking articles that aren't what the topic is about. You haven't provided anything of substance.

No stat is perfect, I'd never make that claim. But when using an amalgam of various metrics that are controlled for teammate influence it helps provide a clearer picture. Not to mention the fact that I'm an actual Pacer fan, and watched nearly every game last year. So I'm wondering what insight or information you have that I don't that contradicts anything I've said. Because if you have any, you haven't mentioned it.

I'm always down to engage critically when the other person actually brings something to the table, but so far, you haven't.

Sabonis is a quality defender, and helped contribute to the third best defense in the league last year, and is only going to continue to improve on that end. He's a high quality rim protector, shown by opposing team's rim field goal percentage, and is perfectly capable of rotating out to the perimeter as well as guarding the PnR.

So now I'm wondering, if defensive metrics don't bring value to this conversation, and neither does the fact that I've watched damn near every Pacer game since he's arrived, what brings value to this conversation?

smith&wesson
09-09-2019, 11:39 AM
Rather keep Turner

crewfan13
09-09-2019, 01:32 PM
The NBA is still behind on that front. A really smart hard playing big who doesn't block shots is a much bigger asset than a ball stopping shot blocker. The Warriors have been talking up Kevon Looney who is a less skilled version of Sabonis as an absolute key player for them ... and they really wanted Sabonis in that draft but couldn't find a trade to go get him.

Looney's shot is supposedly coming along, I assume Sabonis is working on his outside shot too.

This is a great point. Teams always want the guys who has the tools to be a great defender. But a smart basketball mind can make up for the tools quite a bit. Jared dudley has made a career on that. His old, unathletic corpse continues to find a home around the league because he can get into position on defense. On the flip side, there's guys like John Henson. When he was with the bucks, he truly was one of the best shot blockers in the league. The problem was he wanted to block everything which resulted in him often being out of position. And he'd alter a ton of shots too, but because he came flying over to contest an already tough shot, he'd leave his guy under the hoop for an easy put back.

I truthfully haven't watched enough of sabonis to say one way or the other on him, but there is merit for defensive positioning and rebounding. They aren't the only stats by any means, and it's an equation no one has completely figured out yet. I'll take a guy who gives up a little higher shooting percentage at the rim if that guy also contributes to the defense giving up less shots at the rim and less put back opportunities. I don't know the exact weight on those metrics or how to even fully measure one players impact on shots allowed in the paint, but it's all part of the equation.

ewing
09-09-2019, 02:31 PM
This is a great point. Teams always want the guys who has the tools to be a great defender. But a smart basketball mind can make up for the tools quite a bit. Jared dudley has made a career on that. His old, unathletic corpse continues to find a home around the league because he can get into position on defense. On the flip side, there's guys like John Henson. When he was with the bucks, he truly was one of the best shot blockers in the league. The problem was he wanted to block everything which resulted in him often being out of position. And he'd alter a ton of shots too, but because he came flying over to contest an already tough shot, he'd leave his guy under the hoop for an easy put back.

I truthfully haven't watched enough of sabonis to say one way or the other on him, but there is merit for defensive positioning and rebounding. They aren't the only stats by any means, and it's an equation no one has completely figured out yet. I'll take a guy who gives up a little higher shooting percentage at the rim if that guy also contributes to the defense giving up less shots at the rim and less put back opportunities. I don't know the exact weight on those metrics or how to even fully measure one players impact on shots allowed in the paint, but it's all part of the equation.

I need to watch more as well but offensively no one reminds more of a poor manís Tim Duncan then Sabonis. He is smart and fundamentally sound as they come. He is also strong as a horse.


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mrblisterdundee
09-10-2019, 08:22 PM
You called him Kanter with better passing.
They're both athletically inferior and need to show more on defense.

TrueFan420
09-10-2019, 11:02 PM
They're both athletically inferior and need to show more on defense.

That description also fits Jokic, doesnít mean itís a good comparison.

ewing
09-10-2019, 11:56 PM
They're both athletically inferior and need to show more on defense.

He is 6í11 pretty mobile for a 5 and strong as a horse. He is not long or a leaper but is not unathletic. Way more mobile then Kanter. I do need to see more to have a real grasp on his play but I am sure he is a significantly better defender then Kanter.


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Chronz
09-14-2019, 10:27 AM
Not as good as his dad but imagine a Ewing like player only with court vision. pretty sick

beasted86
09-14-2019, 07:00 PM
Not as good as his dad but imagine a Ewing like player only with court vision. pretty sick

This comment is completely backwards and disrespects Ewing, making it seem like Arvydas was better. Needs rephrasing.

beasted86
09-14-2019, 07:08 PM
A more realistic comparison is Zach Randolph with court vision, not comparison to a true #1 option, perennial all-star, premier defensive Center.

PAOboston
09-15-2019, 12:57 PM
This comment is completely backwards and disrespects Ewing, making it seem like Arvydas was better. Needs rephrasing.

Donít really think you realize how great Arvydas was.


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beasted86
09-15-2019, 01:50 PM
Donít really think you realize how great Arvydas was.


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Did you live in Europe/Russia during his prime? If not, I don't know how you can realistically attest. Can you really compare and contrast watching highlight videos against inferior competition? Yes, I've watched 'The Other Dream Team', and also heard how good he was, but prefer not to analyze by tall tales and clips.

Nonetheless I know how good Ewing was, and Donatas is not close.

ewing
09-15-2019, 04:22 PM
Donít really think you realize how great Arvydas was.


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He was a cripple by the time he made it here


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