In his first full season as a member of the Sacramento Kings, center Domantas Sabonis impressed everyone. Sabonis has been in the league for seven years, from starting in Oklahoma City to getting traded to Indiana to finally getting traded to Sacramento. He has found a home here on the Kings, where he held down the center position and helped end a 16-year-long playoff drought.
Sabonis is a three-time All-Star and received All-NBA honors for the first time this season. He spent his time in Indiana playing primarily power forward next to center Myles Turner but has played his role as a center here in Sacramento wonderfully.
Sabonis has been a rebounding machine, as he has not averaged under 12 rebounds per game since the 2018-19 season. This season, he also averaged 19.1 points per game and a career-high in assists per game, 7.3, and field-goal percentage, 61.5. Sabonis was second in the league among centers in assists per game and second across the NBA in rebounds per game.
Sabonis was second in the NBA this season with a whopping 14 triple-doubles. His passing skills were on full display throughout the year, having multiple games with 15 assists. His rebounding dominance was a focal point as he had 20 games with 15+ rebounds, two coming in the playoffs.
There were many games where Sabonis completely stuffed the stat sheet, but his game against the Houston Rockets on January 13th has to be the most impressive. He logged 19 points, 16 assists, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in a blowout win. That makes him one of just six players in NBA history with two or more games of a15+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 15+ assists stat line.
His second game achieving that stat line was exactly two months later, on March 13th, where he had 23 points, 15 assists, and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
While his stats are always impressive, his impact on the court does not always show on the stat sheet. His ability to get the ball on the elbow and create from there is impressive, and not many big men can do the same. Whether he is facilitating a dribble hand-off, attacking the rim, or shooting a mid-range jumper, Sabonis shows he is dangerous regardless of if he is looking to pass or score.
Some people see Sabonis’ playoff series performance as a disappointment, and I agree he did not contribute as much as Kings fans would have liked, but I would say it was more of a problem with the scheme. I would love to see Sabonis go back to playing power forward at times with a defensive and rebound-minded big man holding down the paint. It seemed he was lacking some aggression at times, so I am not sure what to say to that, but there is no excuse for it.
Overall, Sabonis had an impressive season and finally got the recognition he deserved, being on a winning team. Sabonis receiving All-NBA third-team honors was expected, as he was the third-best center all season long. He continued his consistency, and I look for him to improve more as he continues to get comfortable in Sacramento.